Maori Culture Day: Te Manahua competitions showcase Maori culture

Written by: 
Alyssa Walhood~Multimedia Journalist

The groups from New Zealand, Utah, and Canada competed and showed off their skills in performing Maori songs and dances at the Te Manahua festival at the Pacific Theater on Aug. 31. The overall winner of the contest was Te Awhiorange, a high school group from New Zealand. Competitors participated in poi-e, haka-hard, and large group performance.

“The contest is in its 13th year, it started in 2000,” said Seth Casey, a senior manager of Marketing at the PCC. “It’s an actual competition and we have competitors from all over the world. There’s quite a few, locally, here in the community and from town. I believe one year we had some coming from Australia, New Zealand so it’s
really an international competition.” The Canadian competitive group, Te Tini-a-Maui-Canada, sang the reggae hit, “Cool Down” by Kolohe Kai, in the Maori language.

“The modern tunes were kind of a surprise, but every now and then you’ll get performing groups who are a little outside the box and it can be really nice,” said Casey.

“Mixing Squamish Indian with their Maori roots was interesting,” said Stephanie Young, a social work senior from Oregon, speaking in regards to the Canadian performance. “I don’t know how traditional Maori felt about the culture combination but it was beautiful for me to watch and listen to.” Rangi Parker, from New Zealand, said, “I really appreciated how strong the men looked, and some of the women smiled and looked beautiful, which is how I think they should look.”

Organizers of the event made sure Te Manahua happened the weekend before the PCC 50th Anniversary celebration week so that “so our alumni and guests can take advantage of both events,” said Seamus Fitzgerald in his interview on Polynesia.com.