Amazing dancers make judges’ work hard

Monday 3 May 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Culture, National

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Amazing dancers make judges’ work hard
Heinarri Tauira, female intermediate champion for Dancer of the Year 2021 - 21050206

Nine talented dancers lit up the stage on Friday evening in the intermediate section of the National Dancer of the Year event.

At the Auditorium Domes six female and three male dancers each presented an excellent display of talent which made it extremely hard for the judges to decide on the two final winners.

The contestants, in order of appearance, were Nicolea Mateariki, Ngatupuna Kae, Ngametua Terepita, Sophina (Sonya) Tararo, Terry Akava, Heinarii Tauira, Tiare Anguna, Teokotai Viniki Tereora, and Tia-Myrie Strickland.

The event began at 7pm with dancers showcasing their slow beat items first, followed by their fast-beat drum dances.

Each dancer captivated the audience with unique, brightly coloured costumes crafted expertly by dedicated costume makers.

As with every cultural event this year, the dancers’ performances centered around the introduction of the Gospel to the Cook Islands. Tauranga Vananga Ministry of Cultural Development has made this the theme for all cultural events of 2021.

Heinarii Tauira took the 2021 Female Dancer of the Year title and was presented with a trophy sponsored jointly by the Ministry of Cultural Development, and Island Craft, as well as an $800 cash prize.

Runner-up Tiare Anguna took home a prize of $600, and third placed Tia-Myrie Strickland received a $400 prize.


Terry Akava, male intermediate champion for Dancer of the Year 2021 - 21050203

Terry Akava took the 2021 Male Champion title, receiving $800 and a trophy sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Development and Crown Beach.

Teokotai Viniki Tereora received the runner-up title and $600, and in third place was Ngatupuna Kae who received $400.

Consolation prizes of $200 sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Development were also presented to Nicolea Mateariki, Ngametua Terepita and Sophina (Sonya) Tararo.

Regardless of their placings, the night ended with all nine dancers celebrating each other’s talent and efforts, joining together to dance and share the stage one last time.

Senior dances will take to the stage this Friday for their section of the National Dancer of the Year competition.

Dancers and members of the public are no doubt looking forward to visiting the Domes one last time for the final and perhaps the most anticipated section of them all.