Hua Nui - to be Fruitful, to be Productive

Shed 1, Corban Estate Arts Centre, Auckland

13/03/2015 - 13/03/2015

Production Details



Halau Ka Waikahe Lani Malie (Peaceful Heavenly Flowing Waters Hula School), Auckland’s first Hawaiian hula school,will perform in Shed 1 at the Corbans Estate Art Centre with their cultural advisor, mentor and kumu hula Blaine Kamalani Kia and his co-musician Kalei Kahalewai from Oahu, Hawaii.

The halau (school) was the first officially sanctioned hula school in Aotearoa’s history by Blaine in 2010, continuing the legacy of Hawaiian hula for our future generations.

The traditions and the protocols of the hula with the modern interpretations of their mele and hula (song and dance) will be showcased to the audience on Friday, 13 March 2015, 7.30pm.  The audience will enjoy all ages of the communtity: young, youth and adults their learnings as another form of cultural expression telling us stories about the creation of time, our land, our former kings and queens and of course the love of our people.

Hawaiian hula was romanticised since the 1950s with the occupation of United States overthrowing the Hawaiian monarchy making Hawaii a tropical holiday destination.  This showcase will educate our audience the deep-rooted and fundamental values that are steeped in holistic tradtions that were retained (at one point in secret) that even this Polynesian cosmopolitan city do not have an opportunity to witness very often or if at all.

Sponsored by Creative Communities Scheme and Hawaiian Airlines, kumu Blaine (hula teacher) together with his leader of his Aotearoa branch (acting kumu hula) Aruna Po-Ching have been promoting and perpetuating the hula since 2009 at Pasifika Festival, with Kumu Blaine making appearances with his hula practitioners and leaders from his global organsations including, Hawaii, Sacremento, Canada and Tahiti in 2012 and 2013 and again this year opening the Hawaiian Village ceremonies. Halau Ka Waikahe Lani Malie have been strong and active advocators of the Hawaiian cultural contributing to the launch of the Hawaiian Village in 2014.

This concert will also showcase the West Auckland youth community who have participated in the free youth project learning the hula, chants and songs for four weeks. The youth also have an exclusive one-on-one workshop with Blaine Kia as part of the programme which remnants of that workshop will be seen in their showing.

Pasifika Sway Trust, the umbrella organisaton of the halau delivers services and programmes throughout Tamaki Makaurau enabling the continuation of Hawaiia hula and music in Aotearoa.

More information regarding the Hua Nui showcas or contact Aruna Po-Ching or call 0210-245-1971.  Photos can be supplied at your request.

Genre:                  Hawaiian hula

Venue:                 Shed 1, Corbans Estate Art Centre;

Date:                    Friday, 13 March 2015

Starting times:    7.30pm – 8.45pm

Booking details:

International guest artists (from Hawaii) -Kumu hula Blaine Kamalani Kia,  Kalei Kahalewai

Leaders: Aruna Po-Ching - Acting kumu hula of Aotearoa branch, Bethany Edmunds – Alaka’I (leader

MC – Sefa Enari

Dancers – Maggie Tulisi, Donna Mason, Kourtney Patumaka, Lynette Auckram, D'Jealous Palota-Kopa, Cypress Vivieaere-Davis, Kayne Peters, Mattie Hamuera Kimberly Zenz, Steffi Smith 

Hawaiian hula (ancient and modern) , Family , Dance ,

1 hr 15 mins

Pride and delight in flowing hula

Review by Raewyn Whyte 14th Mar 2015

The first evening showcase of Hawaiian hula for 2015, HUA NUI – To Be Fruitful, To Be Productive, is a very colourful event, replete with traditional food before the dancing, allowing plenty of time for friends and family to catch up with one another’s lives. Presented in the capacious Shed 1 of Corban Estate, there is a capacity audience who express pride and delight in the dancers’ achievements, with applause and whistles and whoops at the end of each dance.

Eighteen dancers perform during the showcase, collectively presenting both ancient and modern hula dances, with an introduction to each dance – its title, provenance and cultural significance –  from kumu hula Blaine Kamalani Kia. During the course of the show, the dancers also demonstrate how hula skills develop from early childhood through to adulthood, with a charming beginning steps performance by six little girls aged about 4 – 7 years old, a more demanding series of dances from a trio of newly proficient teenagers, and with rich complexities from the professional adult dancers of Pasifika Sway.  All performers respond to the audience encouragement and recognition with increasing verve.

The programme opens with a bracket of extremely complex and detailed hula kahiko (“ancient”) dances, which I find fascinating – this is my first experience of them. The performers wear greenery at throat, wrist and ankle, and around their heads, and richly detailed linear-patterned gold and white striped red or blue skirts gathered at the waist, and loose, off the shoulder red or blue tops with elastic gathers to hold them in place. Kumu Blaine accompanies the dances by beating his hand against a gourd drum, and chanting – it is traditional for the various gestures of the dancers’ arms and hands to echo the words of the chants or songs.

There is considerable gravitas and grace to the dancing of these ancient dances, a reverence and demureness which is quite different from that seen in modern hula. There is rapid stepping and swaying and pointing of feet, ankle shimmies, the occasional sudden bouncing plie sending knees angling outwards. Arms are raised, stretched up and down again, elbows crooked at breast level, hands floating, resting, gesturing, always moving. Bodies dip, shimmy, sway and seem to float on the air, and at times bobble as if immersed in deep ocen water. The eyes and heads are likewise always moving. The rhythms are complex, and at times hands and feet are in counterpoint. Movement seems to be organised into modular blocks – certainly there is repetition and variation in the choreography.

The dances have titles – translated – such as The Budding of the Earth, or tell stories of real people such as King David, the last king of Hawaii, and legendary figures such as Hi’aka and her sister Pele, Goddess of Fire. In a brief interlude, Kumu Blaine demonstrates an ancient dance of the warriors and its stomping step, much to the delight of the audience.

The second half of the show opens with a bracket of Hawaiian popular songs played and sung by the two man Kamanawa Band – Kumu Blaine on lead guitar and Kalei Kahalewai on bass, and continues with a dance of procreation, dedicated to a specific family in the audience, followed by  a series of modern hula dances accompanied by the band. This series of dances tell about the now extinct O O bird, reflect on love, and (with more than a little innuendo) refer to surfing the waves in Oahu, and riding in canoes on the Big Island.These are slower, more languorous and less detailed dances than the ancient examples, though share similar vocabulary, with the dancers expressively using their faces to communicate particular emotions. The greenery is replaced by a flower in the hair, and coral or wooden jewellery at neck and wrist, and the dancers wear beautifully cut and embellished long dresses featuring draped and gathered sections, often combining a plain top with a patterned skirt. The teenage trio are resplendent in elegant red dresses which make them seem very grown up. 

The adult dancers are led by confident, serene and stellar kumu hula Aruna Po-Ching, who is also out in front of the littlies modelling the moves they are still learning. She is a much respected dance artist, hula performer and choreographer, and the primary force in hula performance in Auckland. After returning to New Zealand in 2006, she began developing what has now become the Pasifika Sway Trust and dance company, and the first officially sanctioned hula halau (school) in Aotearoa, Halau Ka Waikahe Lani Maile (Peaceful Heavenly Flowing Waters Hula School). These activities comprise her community service, and she says she could not have achieved anything without support from her family and the community, Hawaii and mainland USA.  The ripples of her achievements – both fruitful and productive – now extend well beyond the Hawaiian community. 


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