Thursday, August 12

Te Maeva Nui – Atiu Pe’e

The competition side of Te Maeva Nui was different from other years because there was no big cash prize for the overall winner – last year it was $15,000.
The five teams who joined in (Nikao, Arorangi, and Rarotonga-based Mangaia, Atiu and Pukapuka) did it for love of their culture and to give their youngsters a chance to shine. The audience loved it, everyone on stage seemed to be having a wonderful time and they all deserve congratulations. And nobody went home empty-handed because what sponsorship money the ministry of culture had was spread around all teams.
Judges put teams into three categories for each item. In the choir and imene tuki sections category 1 earned $500, category 2 $400 and category 3 $300. In the ute, pe’e, kapa rima and ura pau sections category 2 earned $800 and category 1 $1000.
This Atiu pe’e was awarded a category 1 ranking.
The story was about a warrior who killed another. The dead man’s tribe had to avenge his death before the night was over.
The pe’e is a chant. In the olden days it commemorated a particular event or brave deed but very few traditional pe’e have survived.
The pe’e performed at Te Maeva Nui are specially written. The main players act out a story which very often involves murder, treachery and revenge. The rest of the team dance and chant an accompaniment. The costumes are natural materials, leaves and such, for the chorus but often tapa, headdresses and ornaments for the stars.
As with all Cook Islands performances, everyone has a marvellous time!