Heiva fever

We’ve just had the Heiva – Tahiti 2018 competition. The highlight of the year as far as Polynesian dancing goes.

The competition was held in the Place To’ata in Papeete, Tahiti.

Hundreds of people were involved. Groups from around French Polynesia had been training to perfect their dance movements for months.

Rehearsal time in the Place To’ata

It was not just the dancing that was awesome.

The music, choreography and the costume designs were wonderful too.

So many hours had been dedicated by each team member and their families, to produce a mesmerising and enthralling spectacle.

Competition was fierce, I would hate to have been one of the judges.

The heats were held on eight separate evenings over several weeks. Each event started in the dark at 6pm and finished at 11pm.

I went to two of the evening events, the latter being the lauréats or first prize winners.

Heiva is for the Polynesian people but tourists are welcomed . Tourists will always be the quiet observers and should feel honoured, to embrace the flamboyant fever of Heiva.

Traditional power sports. Javelin throwing. Tahiti.

On the 13th July we went to Watch another Heiva Tu’aro Maohi :ancestral sports event. The competitions involved lifting heavy boulders, javelin throwing and shinning up coconut trees.

The event took place in the grounds of the Museum Of Tahiti and the Islands. As we arrived, some traditional dancing was taking place by the museum building.

We went to watch the Vahines (Ladies ) taking part in the boulder lifting competition. The aim of the event, was for the competitor to lift a boulder onto their shoulders. The boulder size increased in the following rounds, until there was a winner.

We cringed as one lady narrowly missed dropping a boulder on her foot.

The javelin competition was incredible. The javelins were homemade and individually marked.

The competitors had to throw their javelins to impale a coconut that had been hoisted high into the air on a long pole.

So many Tanes (men) were successful. Such was the case, that groans went up as an earlier hit was dislodged by another javelin and then crashed to the ground.

After the allotted time period, the coconut was lowered to the ground and inspected. Amazingly, at least 20 javelins were stuck in the coconut. The winning javelin was presented to the judges.

The participants retrieved their javelins ready for another round.

Later on was the coconut tree climbing race. Unfortunately we left before the event, in order to catch the bus home.