Polynesian vendor tries hand at competing

Tali Goeas found something new to do at the Kaua‘i Polynesian Festival.

Goeas, one of the vendors in the craft tent, got a bunch of her friends together and decided that, in addition to vending, they would compete in the dance competitions.

It was another thing for the vendor of Tahitian fashion and dance costumes to do as she laid out a pattern of shells on a bright red costume.

“This is tedious work,” Goeas said, working to place the different shells in just the right place. “But this is for our costume in the ahupurotu competition tonight.”

The 7th Annual Kaua‘i Polynesian Festival opened Thursday night with a lavish entertainment-filled lu‘au at the Hilton Kaua‘i Beach Resort and moved to the grounds of the Vidinha Stadium soccer fields yesterday when gates opened just in time for lunch.

New to this year’s event is the introduction of the Polynesian Challenge, which according to Aunty Val Jeremiah, debuted yesterday and was held today.

The Polynesian Challenge is a series of Pacific Islands’ competitions and starts out with a couple running and picking up coconuts at each station until the circuit is completed. That triggers the move to the next station until all of the games are completed.

Some of the competitive stations include the tititorea, or stick game, where pairs need to do the rhythmic clicking of sticks followed by the toss to each other. That moves on to the Ho‘oihe, or spear throwing in the Hawaiian version which differs from the T. Patiafa, or Tahitian style of spear throwing.

Today’s festival opens with a workshop in Hawaiian hula, Maori and Samoan fire knife dance, and ends with competition in Tahitian dance including the group otea, aparima and ahupurotu.

There is a $25 fee for the workshop which runs from 9 to 11 a.m., and a $10 admission for the festival.

The Samoan fire knife dance competition rounds out the evening.

Sunday’s competition features Polynesian dance with Ori Tahiti, solo Tahitian dance for ages 4 through adult, couples, and the drumming competition.

Workshops in Tahitian dance and drumming is on the agenda from 9 to 11 a.m.

A children’s area featuring bouncers and water features, a craft tent with many off-island vendors and event logowear, a variety of food offerings supplement the daily dance competitions.


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