Friday, March 02, 2012

Heiva i Hawai'i debuts with Grande Performances

The Tahitian Dance community welcomed its newest event this past month ~ Heiva i Hawai'i. Fittingly it also started off the 2012 Heiva season. Produced by award-winning group Te `E`a o Te Turama and its leader, Maile Lee, Heiva i Hawai'i welcomed groups and soloists from throughout the islands to Kailua-Kona over a weekend of fun-filled dance, crafting and music.

Maile started the event because her best friend, Kula Keawekane, of Fun to Jump Kona did a Mahalo Fun Day for the `ohana's in Kona last year. They set up Inflatables and had some entertainment and invited some Vendors to enjoy the day. Later, they decided to expand and do a Tahitian Dance Competition and Mahalo Fun Day with the main focus of giving back to the community and bringing more awareness for the Tahitian culture and dance.

The 3-day event brought strong performances by local groups such as Merahi o Tapiti, Toa Here, Te Vai Ura Nui and Polynesian Paradise and a crowning of the first ever Mr and Miss Heiva i Hawaii. A wide range of local support sponsored the event as well. Those included: The Shops at Mauna Lani, Fun to Jump Kona, Earl De Leon, Show Systems Hawai`i, Loud & Clear Productions, ITA Hawai`i, West Hawai`i Screen Printers, Kaua`i Polynesian Festival, Fatu Krainer, Alofa`s Custom Instruments, Moani Lahi Designs, Camelia Temanaha, Wailana Lee, Keauhou Beach Resort, Kuma Contracting, Royal Kona Resort, Enterprise Ret a Car, and Parks & Recreation (Wes, Vic & Diego)

Official photographer, Mike Wine, of Island Tours & Activities has a gallery of photos and videos (coming soon) of the 1st Annual Heiva i Hawai'i. Photos may be purchased online in various sizes and styles.

And if you missed it this year, don't worry. Dates for next years event have already been announced. Heiva i Hawai'i 2013 will take place February 15-17, 2013 in Kailua-Kona. Visit the event website for updates as they become available.

Below is a letter from Maile Lee, producer of Heiva i Hawai'i, summarizing the event.

By Guest Contributor Maile Lee

Aloha a Ia Orana,

Heiva i Hawai`i 2012 was an awesome experience for myself and Te `E`a o Te Turama.  The three day event brought artisans, dancers and patrons from all over Hawai`i and the neighbor islands to Maka`eo in Kailua-Kona.  Malihini and Kama`aina alike were treated to the island’s finest Tahitian Dance and drumming, unique Polynesian crafts and jewelry and an awesome array of Local Grinds.

On Friday evening, February 17, 2012, we crowned our First Mr & Miss Heiva i Hawai`i at the Shops at Mauna Lani on the South Kohala Coast.

19 year old Makana Pohakuikalewa Keana`aina a Native Hawaiian speaker from Kailua-Kona played the `ukulele and sang ‘Te Tama Maohi’ to capture the hearts of the judges as well as the Mr Heiva i Hawai`i 2012 title.

Naomi Baldemero
Miss Naomi Kau`iokeaho Baldemero, proved that experience was the key in the girls competition.  Her winning ways in Tahitian dance competition for the past few years with her Award-Winning group Te Vai Ura Nui helped her to realize her goal to take the crown and become Miss Heiva i Hawai`i 2012.

Saturday, February 18, 2012, featured over 70 of Hawai`i’s finest Solo dancers from 3 years old to 40+ and fabulous. House Drummers played for nearly 2 hours non-stop as dancers in beautiful costumes and adornments wowed the judges with their technical skill and creativity.

Afternoon competition featured Tamari`i (Children’s) Group Presentations.  The audience was treated to Polynesian folklore as dancers acted out scenes depicting the Legend o Maui and Hina and the creation of the Kumu Niu, the first coconut trees of Tahiti and the story of Oro, the Master of the Sky who created Poerava ~ the Tahitian Black Pearls.

At the days end, winners were announced for the first place solo division winners as Ra`atira and their Pupu Ori contemplated and readied themselves for day 2 of competition.

Sunday, February 19, 2012, began with the Overall Solo dance off.  Tane and Vahine along with their younger counterparts vied for The Overall Tane and Vahine Soloists along with the top Tamahine and Tamaroa. Solo dance competition gave way to a cacophony of Drums as two groups from Hawai`i island competed in Drumming competition.  In the afternoon Junior Group competition got underway.  The crowd was treated to a heated battle between Pele and her sister Na Maka o Kaha`i, goddess of the Sea and the melodic story of love in Mihi au ia`oe as dancers in lovely dresses brought our days competition to a close with images of the beautiful Tahitian Vahine.

Merahi o Tapiti
When all was said and done Merahi o Tapiti and their Ra`atira Tiffany Delacruz and Corey Sibayan were the Junior group winners taking various awards including first place in drumming competition back to Hilo.  As for the Tamari`i groups it was Mahealani Lee’s Polynesian Paradise that caught the attention of the Judges.

Te Vai Ura Nui’s Naomi Baldemero, Miss Heiva I Hawai`I 2012, and Daniel Sherman captured the Tane & Vahine Overall Soloist Awards and Merahi o Tapiti’s sweetheart won the Tamahine solo award.  But it was Koari`i Atkinson-Siola who swept the judges votes when he performed a round-off back hand spring to end his Tamaroa Overall winning routine.

Results for Heiva i Hawai'i 2012


5-7 years old
1st – Katarina Piper, Polynesian Paradise
2nd – Leonahenahe Pavao, Polynesian Paradise
3rd(tie) – Aysia-Lee Jaquias, Merahi o Tapiti

3rd(tie) – Pualena Andrews, Toa Here

8 – 10 years old
1st – Tiani Bello, Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Lokelani Diego, Toa Here
3rd – Angelina Ramirez, Toa Here

1st – Anthony Kauwe, Toa Here

11 – 13 years old
1st – Tehani Perkins, Te Vai Ura Nui
2nd – Cassandra Kanoho, Te Vai Ura Nui
3rd – Jaysha Pavao, Toa Here

1st – Koari`i Atkinson-Siola, Polynesian Paradise
2nd – Daylan Kalai, Merahi o Tapiti
3rd – Tobee Kahaola Lee, Polynesian Paradise

14 – 17 years old
1st – Naomi Baldemero, Te Vai Ura Nui
2nd – Kelsye Curry, Merahi o Tapiti
3rd – Ryanne Richardson, Toa Here

1st – Jason Johnson, Toa Here

18 – 20 years old
1st – Raynette Rezentes, Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Mahealani Ramos, Merahi o Tapiti
3rd – Amanda Caban, Merahi o Tapiti

21 – 24 years old
1st – Cassie Pira, Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Amanda Gutierrez, Polynesian Paradise
3rd – Lilinoe Atkinson, Polynesian Paradise

1st – Quinten Vea, Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Olin Caba, Merahi o Tapiti

25 – 34 years old
1st – Kuualoha Kekuaniela, Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Keaukaha Carveiro, Polynesian Paradise
3rd – Jamie Ganzagan, Toa Here

1st – John Anduha, Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Aaron Olivarez, Polynesian Paradise

35 – 40 years old
1st – Tanya Andrews, Toa Here
2nd – Debi Vierra, Toa Here

1st – Daniel Sherman, Te Vai Ura Nui
2nd – Corey Sibayan, Merahi o Tapiti

40+ years young
1st – Romy Salvador, Toa Here

Overall Tamahine Soloist – Tiani Bello, Merahi o Tapiti
Overall Tamaroa Soloist – Koari`i Atkinson-Siola
Overall Vahine Soloist – Naomi Baldemero, Te Vai Ura Nui
Overall Tane Soloist – Daniel Sherman, Te Vai Ura Nui

Group Awards
Tamari`i Groups

1st – Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Polynesian Paradise
3rd – Toa Here

1st – Polynesian Paradise
2nd – Toa Here
3rd – Merahi o Tapiti

Best Costume Award:
Polynesian Paradise

Overall Tamari`i Group:
Polynesian Paradise

Junior Groups
1st - Merahi o Tapiti
1st - Merahi O Tapiti

1st – Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Polynesian Paradise

1st – Merahi o Tapiti
2nd – Polynesian Paradise

Best Costume Award
Merahi o Tapiti

Overall Junior Group
Merahi o Tapiti

Photos courtesy of Mike Wine, Island Tours & Activites

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