LIHUE — Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina‘ala, including 45 members, left Saturday for a week-long stay in Tahiti with kumu hula Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin.
“Hawaiian Airlines only leaves Tahiti once a week,” Pavao Jardin said. “That means we’ll be there for at least a week. To truly appreciate one’s culture, you learn other cultures, and Tahiti is our relatives so this trip is even more meaningful.”
Pavao Jardin said the trip to Tahiti has been a dream of hers for the past 20 years.
“This is going to be intense,” she said. “The first 48 hours will be especially intense when our people will be cut off — not even cell phones. We’re visiting Pele’s birthplace. From there, we travel to Moorea where we will perform for their people. We return to the main island and will be performing for their people at the soccer stadium.”
Pavao Jardin said the halau will also be able to enjoy the annual heiva during their stay, which is the equivalent of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival.
“Traveling to Tahiti to learn and better understand their culture has been a dream for the last 20 years,” Pavao Jardin said. “This is really a dream come true.”
The halau had only recently toured Japan before stopping off to perform at Thursday’s Kauai Chamber of Commerce second quarter membership meeting. When the group returns, it will prepare for the annual Queen Liliuokalani Keiki Hula Competition, which takes place July 20-22 at the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.