Marquesas Art and Culture Festival

The Marquesas Art & Culture Festival

December 2017 – Aranui to take in the once every 4 years Mini Marquesas Islands Festival (Book Early)

Marquesas Bird Dance

Prior to 1986, many people in the remote Marquesas islands were worried that the ancient traditions and cultures would be lost if a concentrated effort was not made to preserve them. From this concern the cultural organisation known as “Motu Haka o Te Fenua Enata” was established as they organized the first Art and Culture festival on the Marquesas Island of Ua Pou.

This festival encourages its youth to approach the Tuhuka (wise-men) of the islands to be trained in the ancient traditions and culture of the islands.

The “Matavaa O Te Fenua Enana ” or the Marquesas Art & Culture Festival was established and now re-occurs every 4 years on one of the three most populated Marquesas Islands. The festival rotates between the islands of Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva, and Hiva Oa. Another mini-festival also takes place every four years, alternating so that there is a festival every 2 years. The mini-festival takes place on the smaller islands of Tahuata, Fatu Hiva and Ua Huka.

The last festival was in December 2017  on the island of Hiva Oa to continue the tradition of demonstrating traditional sports, language, dances (including the well known Haka), sculpture, songs and tattooing. The next Big Festival will be on the island of Ua Pou in 2019. The Aranui 5 always spends a day on the host island to take in the festivities.Hiva Oa

The most recent festivals have brought together over 1800 participants from islands outside of the Marquesas. Youth, their families and instructors come from other Polynesian islands which stretches out to Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island. Those attending this rare event will be immersed an opportunity to dive into the heart of the traditions of Polynesia.

The mini festivals by comparison, only take in participants from the Marquesas islands and does not include Polynesians from further destinations.


Mini Marquesas Islands Festival

The reawakening of the Marquesan people

Mata’vaa Iti, the Mini Festival of the Marquesas Islands, is held every 4 years, alternating with Mata’vaa, the main arts festival of the Marquesas Islands. The first edition of the Mini Festival was held in 2006 on Tahuata. Now, 11 years later, from 18 to 22 December 2017, the smallest inhabited island of the Marquesas will be once again be seething with excitement! Dances, traditional games, exhibitions, contests, etc. 600 members of various delegations, along with the public, are expected at the end of this year. While the Big Festival has gradually opened up to the other Polynesian archipelagoes, with groups coming from Hawaii, the Samoas, New Zealand, Tahiti, Easter Island, and elsewhere, the Mini Festival features only groups from the Marquesas Islands, with the goal to maintain the Marquesan culture alive around a common theme which, for  2017,  is:

“Let us make what we planted bear fruit”.

Interested in the event?
Stay on Hiva Oa… there will be daily boat shuttles available to Tahuata. Far and Away Adventures can book the family pensions Relais Moehau, Temetiu Village, and Kanahau which may still have rooms and bungalows available for these dates. Hotel Hanakee Pearl Lodge is offering a full-comfort 4-night package including accommodation, airport transfers, round trip boat transfers to Tahuata, daily access to the Mini Festival sites, full board, and drinks during meals.
The local airline, Air Tahiti, is featuring 2 additional flights on 20 and 22 December 2017 and the Aranui 5 has planned a special Festival cruise 14-27 December 2017, with a full day stopover on the island of Tahuata.

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