In other words, it was a show that created the feeling of shear bliss that happens when good beat, harmony and rhythm combine perfectly.
The memorable performances with the highest gasp value where Puaikura’s pe’e or reo tupuna, Manihiki’s action song or kapa rima, Mangaia’s kapa rima and Aitutaki’s drum dance (ura pau).
Puaikura performed another contribution to their well-known traditional theme of war versus peace, with dramatic depiction of King Tinomana’s wish to embrace Jehovah and abandon warfare in all of the sub-districts from Black Rock to Rutaki. From the dramatic opening where his warriors came out from behind a wall of shields like Vikings, the western district dancers maintained good beat with clear, hearty voices to portray the legend of their conversion to Christianity.
Emotions ran high amongst both performers and the audience when Manihiki took to the stage for their action song portraying the tragedy of Cyclone Martin which robbed the island of 19 lives and triggered massive depopulation in 1997.
Father Freddy Kaina produced a potent and sensitive portrayal of the grief and sadness that devastated Manihiki. Opening with the sadness (“Au e to”) of death and destruction, his dancers rallied to the angelic white bird of hope and acted out the resilience and strength of Manihiki people. Their tender actions and hand movements were breathtaking.
Neighbouring Rakahanga took to the stage with an old style pe’e telling the story of their struggles against a giant clam that caused strife on the atoll.
Shades of Michael Jackson and Madagascar captured the hearts of the audience in celebratory jubilation.
Mangaia’s very lively action song was another expression of gratitude and appreciation to a modern beat. The highlight of this performance and the whole show was a stunning solo vocal break by Elizabeth Pitomaki, whose control and ability to hold her notes could see her win a talent quest anywhere in the world.
Another notable performance was Tupapa-Maraerenga’s zappy ute.
Atiu performed a fabulously colourful drum dance in costumes that drew applause for their sheer brilliance and visual appeal.
Mauke brought charisma with their very brave ute, shouting for joy with their repeating challenges to government ministers and showing that their belief in Christianity is the key to coping after the cloud has lifted from bereavement and set-back.
Aitutaki literally brought the house down with the closing performance of the night in their drum dance. Emcee Sonny Williams said it all with his single word comment “wow” after the super fast performance by this highly youthful troupe. Not only did they bring energy and dazzle to the stage but the araura dancers were flamboyant in their tasteful costumes vivid for the bright orange celebration of their legacy of leadership by Sir Albert Henry, Sir Geoffrey Henry, Joe Williams, Robert Woonton and Henry Puna.