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Expatriate dancer returns to defend Te Mire Ura title

Tuesday 21 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Entertainment, Features

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Expatriate dancer returns to defend Te Mire Ura title
Pip Hansen, last year’s champion in Te Mire Ura Expatriates female category, is back again this year to defend her title. MOCD/24052012

The highly anticipated popular Tauranga Vananga (Ministry of Cultural Development) Te Mire Ura dance competition for the Expatriates, Experts, Golden Oldies, and Masters divisions will hit the Rehab Nightclub stage this Friday.

Among the dancers returning to defend her title is Pip Hansen, last year’s champion in the Expatriates female category whose graceful moves and fantastic performance captivated the audience and judges.

“It’s good for the soul and I love a challenge,” says Hansen.

“The music and dance of the Cook Islands has always captivated me.

“When I used to holiday here, it was always a must to go to a cultural dance show. I could watch those ladies for hours. They make it look so graceful and effortless and now I know firsthand how incredibly strong and fit you need to be.”

Last year, encouraged by friends to give it a go, Hansen entered the event pretty late and without taking any prior dance classes. She was then coached by former Expert female dance champion Alana Short.

This year she decided to enter again to try and improve her technique and skill level.

Hansen attends the CC Tamure dance classes which she says have helped her to gain a better understanding of the foundations of Cook Islands dance.

“I’m excited but still very nervous this year, but I have such a great team behind me helping and encouraging me.

“It’s so special having these lovely ladies share their talents with me from choreography to costumes and it really helps to make the whole night so special.”

Hansen’s advice to any expats participating in this event for the first time is to relax, have fun, and embrace the whole experience.

“This event is completely out of the comfort zone but that’s what makes it so rewarding,” she said.

Te Mire Ura dancers for the event on Friday are as follows.

Expatriates 18+ Years: Females - Mere Vua Ravonu, Pip Hansen, Maria Latu for Fiji & CC Tamure; Male - Junrie Tuares.

Golden Oldies 56+ Years: Females - Tarearea Kimitaunga for Akauka Time & Mangaia Enua, Ruth Sahay for Akauka Time & Mitiaro Enua, Mata Arnold for Vaka Takitumu & Akauka Time; Male - Noo Ngametua for Mangaia Enua. Masters (46 - 55 Years): Females - Ngatamaine Teaka for Akauka Time, Ngatokoitu Daniels; Male - Poto (Pozo) Ngaroi for Oire Takuvaine.

Experts (30 - 45 Years): Females - Michelle Siloata for Akauka Time & Vaka Takitumu, Belinda William for Akauka Time & Oire Takuvaine: Males - Matepi Poiri and Allan Rua.

The limited VIP tables at Rehab Nightclub have sold out. General admission tickets are available for $10 presale or $20 at the door. The tickets are available at Rehab or the Tauranga Vananga National Library.