Thursday, July 16

Te Hiva Nui at Punanga Nui Market

One of Rarotonga’s excellent dance groups, Te Hiva Nui, is heading for Europe soon to take part in several folk dance festivals.
Leaving on 25 July, they head first for the northeast of England where the Billingham International Folklore Festival is an annual event. From 1 – 8 August they’ll be performing alongside dancers from the Caribbean, Egypt, Mongolia, Peru, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Thailand.
While they’re in that part of the world they’re planning a side trip to the North Yorkshire scout jamboree in Harrogate. The Cook Islands are named after Yorkshireman Captain James Cook (although not by him – he called them the Hervey Islands). Mind you, he’s associated with Whitby which is on the coast rather than the inland Harrogate and Billingham is much closer to Whitby but the scouts are at Harrogate so that’s where they’re going (on 29 July I think).
After England the group travel to France for the Confolens Festival from 12 – 17 August. Confolens is in the Poitou-Charente region and the festival of music and folk dance features 15 to 20 folklore groups and 600 musicians each year, representing 15 countries.
There will be parades, shows and concerts as well as street events. Around 200 to 300,000 spectators travel there each summer, and it sounds like a lot of fun. Check out more details here.
They’ll also be appearing at a festival in Switzerland before returning to Rarotonga at the end of August.
The travelling party of 21 includes seven male and seven female dancers as well as the musicians. They’ve been practicing hard with a whole raft of new dances and the new costumes are almost complete.
This video is from a fundraising performance at Punanga Nui Market. It was a great success and another one is planned for this Saturday. Their final show before leaving is an island night at the Staircase on Monday (20 July) when all the new dances and costumes will be ready. If you’re on Rarotonga make a point of checking them out. It’s well worth while.
And if anyone in England, France or Switzerland gets the chance to visit these festivals – go for it and don’t forget to give us some feedback. Fans in the Cook Islands would love to hear all about it.
The next few videos will be longer excerpts from the dances at last week’s fundraiser.