Following the news that the annual Auckland-based event Pasifika would be cancelled after Friday's terrorist shootings in Christchurch, one performing group from overseas have decided to put on a performance in memory of those who have passed away.
The group of 30 performers will host a free benefit concert tomorrow called Hawaii for Christchurch. The event will include award-winning Hawaiian entertainment from Mailani Makainai and Kau’i Datire, Bryan Tolentino, Danny Naipo, Kamuela Kimokeo, Ukelele Choir and Hālau o Nuholani.
Tutored by Maelia Carter, a previous winner of the prestigious Miss Aloha Hula title in 1993, the halau hula Ka Pa Hula o Kaunaoe o Wa’ahila will also perform- all for a much bigger cause than originally intended.
Teacher Keonilei Lealiifano says that the decision to hold the free benefit concert was an easy one.
“The first thing for us when we heard what had happened last week was that it’s such a waste and we should be standing up and standing together in aloha against this hate and not bow down. We understood the short resources from the police to keep the Pasifika Festival safe and why it was cancelled, but we still needed to do something and show our support.
"We didn’t know what we would do or how we would do it, all we knew is that we wanted to share the aloha.”
Most of the group performed at last year’s Pasifika and when they returned home they knew they wanted to come back bigger and better.
“It has been a year of preparation, most groups have more people than last year,” explains Lealiifano, “They just wanted to come back because they enjoyed how diverse the festival is. We have some amazing acts that are here to represent Hawaii.”
The performers are based in Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. Edgewater College’s hula group will also perform.
The free benefit concert will be held tomorrow at Te Tatai Hono (2 Burleigh Street, Grafton) from 11am to 3pm.