Tahiti sister-city students come to call

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The delegation from Kauai’s sister city, Papenoo, Tahiti, including students from Mamu School, get a photo with Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Mayor’s Office. The group includes students Kehuatua Ariioehau, Kailoa Atger, Kuuley Clark, Raipoe Durietz, Alani Fong-Royer, Nathan Fraccaroli, Vehiarii Iotua, Keanu Maillot, Anavai Maoarii, Vainatika Pai, Heiani Pani, Angaara Rua, Ariimoehau Tahi, Jacqueline Tapoki, Iron Taraihau, Heavenly Tatarata-Brown, Tavake Tepava, Tehuiarii Toa, Oroarii Tumarae, Maylord Maeta, and adults Adelaide Rohi, Antonia Taraihau, Evy Pai, Othilia Pani, Delhia Teuira, Mayor Avaemai Vetea, and Haururu members Papa Apon, Mama Apon, and Teamotuaitau Jean Claude, and Mayor Carvalho.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Students from Mamu School, Tahiti, experience a mayoral bear hug Wednesday during a courtesy call to the Mayor’s Office Wednesday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Adelaide Rohi, a teacher with Mamu School, Tahiti, leads her 10-year-old students to the Mayor’s Office from the Historic County Building Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the government offices.

LIHUE — The group was late because the students wanted to take a photo with the police officers, said Mamu School teacher Adelaide Rohi, Wednesday morning at the Moikeha Building.

Wednesday was the mid-point of National Police Week and the Kauai County Council was presenting the police department with a certificate recognizing the event and thanking the officers for the sacrifices they and their families make in conducting their jobs. This was observed by the delegation from Papenoo, Tahiti, Kauai’s sister city.

“The kids wanted to have their photo with the officers,” Rohi said. “Then, we came right over to meet Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.”

Among the delegation from Kauai’s sister city were 20 students in the fifth-grade, all 10 years old, who made the trip to Kauai.

“This is the first time we’ve had students come to visit,” Carvalho said. “This is great.”

The group, including representatives from Haururu, a nonprofit organization established to protect, restore, and share every aspect of the Papeno‘o Valley heritage, arrived Sunday with coordinators Eriki and Patricia Marchand to a greeting of hula by performers with Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala.

“I was there, too,” said Kaleo Carvalho. “I was busy helping with the luggage and took them shopping, afterwards.”

The group spent the early part of the week at the Koke‘e Discovery Center with Billy DeCosta, said Kaui Tanaka. Wednesday they visited government, starting with the Kauai County Council and the Mayor’s Office.

“We had to change some of the plans because of the recent rain-related incidents,” Tanaka said. “Following the governmental visits, the Tahitians will go to Poipu Beach Park to enjoy the day.”

Thursday, the group is at the Waipa Foundation where due to safety concerns, they will not be working in the lo‘i. They will also visit the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse before being hosted to a bar-b-que by Maryanne Kusaka, the Board of Trustees chair, at the Kauai Museum.

The delegation wraps up its short week-long stay on Kauai today by participating in the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School May Day and Praise Day celebration before leaving Saturday.

Papeno‘o is described as one of the deepest and most remote valleys in Tahiti where few ventured into its pristine forests for a long time. In the late 1800s, people abandoned Papeno‘o Valley when Christian missionaries established a village center along the coastline fronting the valley. The discovery of the ancient Tahitian village created an interest and motivated a number of Tahitians to work toward preservation of these sites, including marae, archery platforms, house foundations, and ancient sites. This was the birth of Haururu.

Kauai established its sister city relationship with Papeno‘o in 2000.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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