KAPAA — Tepairu Manea, Tahitian drum maker and performer, did not let the approaching darkness stop the stucco tapping on his To‘ere.
“I helping you,” Manea said, pointing his finger toward Calvin Christensen of Wisconsin, whose focus was on the timing of taps. “When I point at you, that means I helping you (with your part). When I point at me, that mean I do my part and you have to do your part.”
Christensen was a student of To‘ere, discovering the art when visiting the Anahola farmers’ market.
“I saw Tepairu and his students at the farmers market and wanted to learn,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for less than a month.”
Manea said Christensen was a natural because of his experience as a jazz drummer and guitarist.
Manea will be among the field of people offering their craft at the Heiva i Kauai which opens Aug. 6 and 7 at the Kapaa Beach Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.
“The goal of Heiva i Kauai is to celebrate Tahitian culture and create a festival that perpetuates and promotes authentic Tahitian and Polynesian cultural traditions,” said Pat Finberg, media coordinator. “Another goal is to provide the next generation of Polynesian entertainers a venue to show talent and develop expertise and self confidence in music, dance, choreography, costume design, and overall presentation. Tepairu’s drumming classes support these goals.”
Te Vai Ura Nui, an award-winning group from Honolulu, will provide the house drumming as well as exhibition dancing on both days of the festival.
Following the opening, solo competition will highlight the Saturday offering, starting with the youngest age groups and continuing through adults until the dance-offs in the afternoon. Solo categories include traditional otea vahine and tane, or females and males, in junior, senior, and master (26 years and above) divisions.
“This year, we added an amateur youth category for those under 18, or having less than three years dance experience,” Finberg said. “This was done as we continue to educate and perpetuate the Tahitian culture on Kauai by offering the young performers a venue and opportunity to compete among their peers.”
Group competition categories which will highlight Sunday’s lineup include otea, aparima, ahupurotu, and drumming.
More than 40 vendors offering Tahitian and Pacific Island gifts along with Kauai items will enhance the festival atmosphere.
Heiva i Kauai 2016 is the 15th anniversary of the unique and colorful Tahitian dance and drumming competition.
Admission fee is $6 at the gate. Children 6 and under are admitted free.