Seeking To Revive Polynesian Music and Dance on Easter Island

The Taina Maohi music school, located on Easter Island (Rapa Nui), is a non-profit school, self-managed by its founders, where they teach polynesian percussion and dance to children from 5 to 15 years old.

KONA O PULE restaurant in Anakena.

KONA O PULE restaurant in Anakena.

Elizabeth “Ely” Manutomatoma and her husband Ariia-Tua Tepa, are the founders of this school, which they have to self-manage from the income it has from their restaurant KONA O PULE in Anakena and with donations from friends and stores like Rapa Music.

The name KONA O PULE or “Pule’s Place”, receives that name in honor to the mother of Ely, also known as “Pule”, who was one of the founders of the premises and was dedicated to take care of the Anakena sector until his last breath. Always attentive that people do not throw garbage, do not step on or damage the ahu (moai platforms) and take care of this beautiful treasure. Continuing with the spirit of conservation and care left by her mother,  the local has a great “promotion for environmental purposes”, giving the tourists who bring a bottle filled with microplastics collected from the beaches, a free lunch with choice à la carte.

Backyard essay.

Backyard essay.

Despite having a lot of students, they still don’t have a place to rehearsal, and they have difficulties on moving forward and building this school. All the instruments they have, have been bought and brought from Tahiti, with their own money and effort or have been donated. However, this has not stopped them and they have persevered in continuing with the classes and essays so that the children can continue to learn from this culture. And it has had fruits, reaching high-level presentations in front of the community, supporting causes such as the 2018 Telethon, holding its first gala on November 24, 2018 at the KANAHAU place and reaching the most important stage of Rapa Nui for the TAPATI RAPA NUI 2019.

Presentation at TAPATI Rapa Nui 2019.

Presentation at TAPATI Rapa Nui 2019.

And as they have made themselves known outside the island, they have been invited to the Tahiti Festival known as HEIVA i Tahiti, which will be held throughout the month of July of this year. This festival celebrates the Tahitian and Polynesian culture, where musicians and dancers from all over the archipelago join, and each island bring their own representatives to the festival. On behalf of the Taina Maohi Music School, they want to take their students to this festival, so they can share and learn about this culture and show how much they have learned and the passion they feel when interpreting their music and dances.

First gala on November 24, 2018 at the KANAHAU place

First gala on November 24, 2018 at the KANAHAU place

“All the costumes, the instruments and everything that is seen is just ours without putting into judgment why we do it. It’s because we always want to venture more and now our challenge is to make these children live a new experience in a new culture, but a sister culture”, says Ely Manutomatoma.

“And why not, to create a connection where our children can get scholarships to study at the Tahiti Conservatory (the best music school in Tahiti). Maybe we will achieve it, but we will not be left in doubt as to whether or not it is possible, we will give everything to try it. “

However, they don’t have the resources to take the children to the festival, being, for now, far away from the opportunity that they could know the place where the music and dances they enjoy performing comes. This is why they are looking for sponsors, since they have been denied funds several times due to bureaucratic obstacles such as that they don’t have a stable income book (since they do not charge because they are a non-profit school), or because they do not have a summary of their ecological contribution.

Taina Maohi Music School students

Taina Maohi Music School students

Its founders have the conviction that the change is in the children, and for that reason they want to feed them with the culture, understanding and connection with the place where they live in order to be the ones who take care of it and preserve it.

Soon they hope to perform a Musicians Beach Clean up, where in addition to cleaning the immense amount of plastics and microplastics that arrive every day to the island, musicians will participate and bring joy and motivation to this day. Also, they have in mind other events to raise funds for the school and call the attention of sponsors and collaborators.

If you are interested in being able to contribute in any way (help to obtain funds, monetary aid, somewhere to rehearse, etc.), please contact Elizabeth Manutomatoma at +569 9090 0964 or via email at ariiatepa@gmail.com.