Sunday, December 6
Back in August I uploaded a video about Nikao villagers preparing for the annual cultural dance competition, Te Maeva Nui. If you missed it you can check it out here.
There are several parts to the contest, and Oire Nikao won the costume, ura pa’u (drum dance) and pe’e (legend) sections, came second in the choir and kapa rima (action song) sections and shared third place in the ute (celebratory chant) section with Nukuroa.
These great results made them the overall trophy winners. If you want to read more about Te Maeva Nui go to the Cook Islands News website. They now have archived material on the site including the starting parade and the results (plus plenty in between but you’ll have to fossick around for yourselves to find that).
Now that the mini games and my holiday are both over I’ve got time to go back over some of the video I took of the preparations for Maeva Nui. This one shows more of the work involved in making the costumes. Au (beach hibiscus) branches were anchored in the lagoon for two to three weeks. This softens the fibres so that the inner bark peels away from the wood easily. The fibres are hung up to dry, then teased apart before being plaited or made into skirts.
Not only the dancers are involved in the work. From young boys and girls right up to grandmothers and grandfathers, everyone lends a hand and enjoys doing so.
Later the costumes are bleached or dyed and the decorations are made.
It’s a long slow job but the results were quite spectacular as you will see on later videos.
I’ve got footage of early rehearsals and the dress rehearsal but unfortunately not of the event itself. The ministry (of culture) won’t allow any video cameras in the auditorium where the competition takes place.