Heiva i Tahiti

The heartbeat of our culture, , ‘Heiva i Tahiti’ is yearly shaking our entire land, our heart, body and soul. This magnificent live show is the most important and expected gathering of artists in the Polynesian culture. This celebration binds history, myths and legends to the Polynesian people. After a half-century of mutism and constraints, since 1881, Polynesians have been setting the scene of To’ata on fire with dances or ‘ori tahiti’, chants or ‘hīmene’ and declamations or ‘orero’ with a fierce passion and determination. In the beauty of a movement, and the grace of a voice, a common spirit elevates from this and travels across oceans and lands like a Pacific warrior conquering softly people’s heart.

‘Heiva’ (amusements) including dancings, singing, playing music was banned by king Pomare II in 1819 because they were seen as shameful activities. It all started with European contacts especially missionaries and religious people. Artistic expressions, although inherently tied to the cultural identity, were firmly prohibited for thirty years after it was legal again under certain conditions. On July 14th, 1881, the Bastille Day was first celebrated in Tahiti, for the occasion, the governor officially opened the cultural festivities where groups of dancers, singers, and athletes could publicly display their skills around a contest called the ’tiurai’.

In the middle of XXe century, Madeleine MOUA, Coco HOTAHOTA and others ‘ori tahiti’ aficionados paved the way and structured what was to become a culminating event in French Polynesia. ‘Heiva i Tahiti’ then became a serious competition with a well-curated jury. And when eyes from all over the Pacific were focused on them, artists eagerly danced and sang their pains, frustrations caused by colonization conflicts as well as their love and fascination for the culture of their ancestors.

Today ‘Heiva i te Tahiti’ plays an essential role in the preservation of the Polynesian cultural legacy. Artists act like true ‘tia’i ta’ata’ guardians of our identity. This key event represents around 3000 singers, dancers, choreographers, costume designers, author composers, and their families who are sharing, during two weeks in early July, with the public the fruit of a year of work and effort.

Eimeo participates gladly to this stunning spectacle which pays tribute the Majesty of our land, to Deepness of our culture and the Fire in the Polynesian people’s heart and, ….and the Sacredness of our mission to radiate the ‘Aroha’ throughout the world.

Te Aroha ia Rahi
Eimeo Team