Monday, March 26, 2012

Heretama Nui dancers
Heiva i Honolulu reigning title holder, Heretama Nui of Pearl City, Hawaii, led by ra'atira (group leader) brothers Allen Ramento and Christopher Ramento, returned to the Waikiki Shell this past weekend and defended their title amid a competition field that included powerhouse groups Maohi Nui and Ia Ora O Tahiti Nui. With over 150 dancers on stage, Heretama Nui came away with their second overall title (Grand Champion) in a row with a performance based on a theme telling of an ancient legend of Pearl Harbor (Pu'uloa).

In addition to the Grand Champion title, Heretama Nui also had 1st place awards in the Hura Tau Drumming and original Aparima categories.

However, it wasn't all Heretama Nui at the awards ceremony. Maohi Nui and Ia Ora O Tahiti Nui both gave solid performances in competing for the title. Maohi Nui claimed 1st place for the Vahine Ahupurotu and came in second for the Original Aparima and Ote'a. While Ia Ora O Tahiti Nui was awarded 2nd place for drumming in the very competitive and creative category.

In the Hura Ava Tau division, Tamatoa of Kaneohe, Hawaii claimed the Grand Champion title dancing, drumming and singing to a theme based on the Hawaiian legend of Pele (Goddess of fire).

Vahine of the group Tamatoa
The Hura Ava Tau division also saw debuts of new groups, Te Mahana O Te Ra (Ku'uleinani Hashimoto) and Puahinano (Pualani Horiuchi), both from Japan. In addition, Te Hei Ura returned this year and competed in the Overall Ote'a category for the first time.

Locally, two new groups also competed this year. Tahiti Mana, led by Manarii Gauthier and Te Iriatai Ora (Keali'i Bush) debuted with memorable Ahupurotu performances.

A full rundown of the results for both groups and soloists is available on the results page of the website.

Here's a synopsis of the Heretama Nui program (as printed in the 2012 event program).

Theme: Matou teie te mau tamari'i O Pu'uroa e, O Ka'ahupahau te ma'o o to matou ai'a e
We are the children of Pu'uloa and Ka'ahupahau is the great shark of our land...

Heretama Nui has chosen to bring honor and glory to their home district of Pu'uloa with the story
of Ka'ahupahau of Pu'uloa. Pu'uloa is the ancient name of the lochs of Pearl Harbor located in the
Ewa moku (land division) of central O'ahu. Ka'ahupahau is the shark goddess that guards the waters
of Pu'uloa. She was accompanied by her younger brother Kahi'uka. These two sharks are revered as
'aumakua or family guardians of the people of Ewa. However Ka'ahupahau and Kahi'uka were once of human form.

The legend tells us of a particular day, the grandmother and two children were out fetching the kou flowers of One'ula.(Ewa Beach). While on the excursion, they became separated and lost. Several days had passed and the grandmother was in distress and agony over the loss of the children. She cried out to the gods and pleaded that they would care for the children and to return them to her. The gods heard her plea and all the while the children were safe upon the shores of Pu'uloa.

The two children were greatly admired by the gods. Ka'ahupahau was a beautiful girl with streaks of
red hair and Kahi'uka was very tall and had shiny skin.The gods loved the children and transformed
them into sharks.

One day, the grandmother noticed two large sharks in the ocean. At first she was frighten. She
remained still and motionless as the sharks swam around her.The grandmother realized that these
sharks were kind and did not want to hurt her. As she came closer to the sharks they made eye contact.
The grandmother recognized the softness of the sharks eyes and called out. "Ka'ahupahau!!!"
She then pointed out to the larger shark and called out "Kahi'uka!!!" The grandmother was reunited
with her mo'opuna (grandchildren) as they returned to her in the spirit form as the guardians of
Pu'uloa and the people of Ewa.This is the story of Ka'ahupahau of Pu'uloa and how they became the
  'aumakua of the people of Ewa.


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