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Pataka set to beat to the sound of Hawaiian Hula dancing

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Porirua will come alive with the sights, sounds and rhythms of the Pacific next weekend, when a traditional Hawaiian dance group strut their stuff at Pātaka Gallery + Museum.

The group, Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka o ‘Uka, will perform classic Hula dancing at Pātaka on Saturday February 23.

The group are stopping off and making a special visit to Pātaka as part of tour of Wellington region, that includes performing at Te Papa and at the Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival at Westpac Stadium.

Hālau, the Hawaiian word for academy or school, is an expression given to a group of people, in this case the dance group, helping to promote and keep alive the ancient Hawaiian cultural tradition of Hula.

For this Hālau dance group, their dancing is an expression of their culture and a way of life.

Creative New Zealand, who are hosting the Hālau on their visit to New Zealand, have also put together a group of Māori and Pasifika dancers.

Both groups will show off their skills in the performance at Pātaka next Saturday.

The visit by Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka o ‘Uka to New Zealand also marks the starting gun being fired on the build up to Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC), one of the biggest global celebrations of Pacific Culture, taking place in Hawaii in June next year.

Pātaka Director Reuben Friend said he was delighted to be able to welcome the Hālau.

"This promises to be an exciting and invigorating performance that will bring a flavour of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands to Pātaka.

"Given Porirua’s rich cultural diversity and strong connection to Pasifika, I can guarantee this event will be warmly received and very well supported.

"Hosting this performance is part of our commitment to promote Pasifika culture across the Wellington region and wider New Zealand."

The Hula Group’s leader and inspiration, Kumu Nāpua Grieg said it had always been a dream of their to visit New Zealand and perform at a festival like Te Matatini.

"As competitive hula dancers, it has always been a dream of ours to attend Te Matatini.

"We know how much work and dedication goes into being on a stage like this one, and we are very excited to be able to witness and support the performers and festival this year."

Creative New Zealand Senior Manager, Māori Strategy and Partnerships, Paula Cuff, said it was great to be able to bring a flavour of the FestPAC festival to Pātaka.

"The festival is a rich opportunity for our delegates to connect, collaborate and co-create on a massive scale with other Pacific nations and cultures, through traditional and contemporary art forms."

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