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Manihiki schools celebrate culture with ‘amazing’ festival

Monday 24 July 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National


Manihiki schools celebrate culture with ‘amazing’ festival
Manihiki Schools culture festival. ANNA RAURU/23072102

Tukao and Tauhunu schools in Manihiki gathered to celebrate culture, strength and unity with their first “amazing” culture festival held last week.

School principal Anna Rauru said the performing arts festival was organised for both schools as part of their cultural activity week for Term 2, which concluded on Friday.

The Thursday event was hosted by Ruamanu School in Tauhunu and residents from both villages of Tukao and Tauhunu came together to support the festival.

“We had such a big crowd, it was wonderful to see everyone gather to witness the event and to see the happy spirit of the people enjoying themselves,” said Rauru.

The programme started with the arrival of Tukao School and a welcoming ceremony – a Aumohi (turou) by Oire Tukao acknowledging and rejoicing the unity of the two villages in song and dance.

The theme for the festival was “Te au peu, himene, hupa, Akatangi taitoa to tatou matakeinanga tei raveia ia ana pera katoa te tumu tapura no teia mataiti - Te Au Manu o Toku Matakeinanga”.

Old action songs, drum dances and himene tuki that had been recorded from the 1970s to 2003, were revived and performed.

The schools performed in four categories: himene tuki, action song, ute and drum dance, led by the cultural leaders Reni Karaponga for Tukao School and Anthony Kaina for Ruamanu School. 

“Our tamariki from both schools were dressed with beautiful costumes made from natural resources of Manihiki,” said Rauru.

“This festival is one of the best in which the children have learned, revived and performed the old himene tuki, ute, action songs and drum dance that Manihiki Henua has taken to Rarotonga for the Constitution celebrations during those years.”

Rauru said the mayor of Manihiki, Ngamata Napara couldn’t get over how excellent the children performed in their himene tuki, ute, action song and drum dance.

“It was so good to hear all the old songs, dances and drumming brought back to life by the children of both schools,” she said.

“Our cultural festival was a very proud moment for me, seeing the great items performed by our children, and knowing all the hard work that has been going on behind the scenes from our teachers, parents and the Tukao and Tauhunu communities.”