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Young dancers steal the show at Te Mire Ura Dancer of the Year comp

Saturday 4 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Entertainment, Features

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Young dancers steal the show at Te Mire Ura Dancer of the Year comp
Te Mire Ura 2024 Junior and Intermediate division overall winners. From Left: Kaena Takau Short (Jnr Boys), Raya Pirangi (Jnr Girls), Mokoroa Ki Aitu Ngaata (Int Girls), and Tangata Tapuni William (Int Boys). MELINA ETCHES/24050360

A group of exceptionally talented Potiki kids took centre stage at Te Are Karioi National Auditorium on Thursday night, charming the delighted audience with their awe-inspiring performances.

These young cultural dancers, aged 7 to 9, impressed the audience with their skills and enthusiasm at their debut performance in the prestigious Te Mire Ura competition.

Te Mire Ura holds a significant place in the cultural framework of the Cook Islands, showcasing the diversity and creativity of the dance form.

The debut of the talented Potiki kids brought a fresh and exciting aspect to the event.


The Potiki Boys champion, Manaariki Charlie Moeara was delighted to dance with his dad onstage after the awards ceremony. MELINA ETCHES/24050337

All the performers including the slightly older junior and intermediate dancers brought different levels of skill and technique as they vied for the title of best dancer for their respective age groups.

Kitimira Rickana Moetaua was crowned the overall champion in the Potiki Girls division, and Manaariki Charlie Moeara took out the Potiki Boys title.


Kaena Takau Short, champion in the Junior Boys division, shows his talent in the slow beat category. MELINA ETCHES/24050318

The talented Kaena Takau Short, the champion in the junior male section, opened his performance by wowing the audience with his exceptional drumming skills. This was followed by equally impressive dance choreography.

Short first appeared on the big stage in 2019 as a guest artist in Te Mire Ura. His passion and expertise in performing arts have continued to thrive, nurtured by his parents Mark Short and Jane Rubena, both masters in cultural arts.

Raya Pirangi took home the Junior Girls division title.

“I felt emotional last night after realising I had won. I’m also happy and grateful for what I have achieved,” Pirangi said yesterday.

Her stunning choreography was tutored by her aunt Louisa Purea. In addition, aunts Jaqueline Purea and Shemaih Boaza came forward to help out by creating her costumes.


Mokoroa Ki Aitu Ngaata, champion in the Intermediate Girls division. MELINA ETCHES/24050356

In the intermediate division, Mokoroa Ki Aitu Ngaata delivered superb performances, taking home the trophy for the overall champion, alongside Tangata Tapuni William, who was crowned the Intermediate Boys champion.

The Seniors Te Mire Ura competition will be held next Thursday, May 9 at Te Are Kariori.

On Friday, May 24, the popular Golden Oldies will be held at the Rehab Nightclub in Avarua.

Te Mire Ura Potiki, Junior and Intermediate results are as follows:

Potiki Division - Overall Winners. Female Division: 1st Kitimira Rickana Moetaua, 2nd Temaruarihi Hanalei Mateariki. Best Slow Beat, Best Fast Beat and Costume – Kitimira Rickana Moetaua. Overall, Winners Male Division:1st Manaariki Charlie Moeara, 2nd Tamaiti-Phareily Samson, 3rd Petueli Raumea. Best Slow Beat – Manaariki Charlie Moeara, Best Fast Beat Tamaiti-Pharleily Samson, and Best Costume – Tamaiti-Pharleily Samson.

Junior Division – Overall Winners. Female Division: 1st Raya Pirangi, 2nd Mere Felicity Paerau, 3rd Tarita Raumea. Best Slow Beat – Tarita Raumea, Best Fast Beat – Raya Pirangi, Costume – Raya Pirangi. Overall Male Division: 1st Kaena Takau Short, 2nd William Ahiao, Sam Veiao Saitu. Best Slow Beat – William Ahiao, Best Fast Beat – Kaena Takau Short, Best Costume – Kaena Takau Short.

Intermediate Division - Overall Winners. Female Division: 1st Mokoroa Ki Aitu Ngaata, 2nd Hauroarii Lilly Tonitara, 3rd Casonya Iorangi. Best Slow Beat – Mokoroa Ki Aitu Ngaata, Best Fast Beat – Mokoroa Ki Aitu Ngaata, Costume – Mokoroa Ki Aitu Ngaata. Overall Male Division: 1st – Tangata Tapuni William, 2nd – Vincent Tua, 3rd  – Ruanuku Tepou. Best Slow Beat – Tangata Tapuni William, Best Fast Beat – Tangata Tapuni William, Best Costume – Tangata Tapuni William.