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Sunday, 26 November 2017 12:32 am

Hawaiian group feel right at home in NZ

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Michael Lanakila Casupang (center) with former hula students after their performance at Te Papa Marae.

A HAWAIIAN dance group visiting New Zealand has noticed a definite resemblance between their culture and Maori.

Pūpūkahi I Ke Alo O Nā Pua is a hula group from Honolulu, which spent a little under a week in Wellington.

They were hosted at Maraeroa Marae in Porirua, and performed at Te Papa.

The group is made up of students attending Mid-Pacific Institute, and their families, and is led by Kumu Hula (Hula Master) Michael Lanakila Casupang.

Mr Lanakila Casupang says the main similarity the group noticed between the two cultures is the language.

“There are so many similar words that further cement that we are from the same place, and at one time were the same people,” he says.

Historically, hula has been used to document stories and traditions, and Mr Lanakila Casupang says the dance cannot exist without the language.

He says the travel the group does gives them a chance to discover the culture of the places they travel to.

“Beyond the culture, it allows them to develop themselves as individuals.”

It’s important for them to share Hawaiian culture and traditions with the world because it lets them show who they are, and to let people know Hawaiian dance is not just like “the hula girl on the dashboard”.

The group’s name means “united as one in the presence of the flowers.”

Mr Lanakila Casupang says unity among the students is something they collectively strive for.

“You can see when they get along and love each other that their performance has a higher level of pureness to it, and spirituality.”

“When we come together, we come together in unity and acceptance of all people no matter how they were raised.”

 

 

 

 

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