The Pride of Polynesia with Heimana TahiataSep 29, 2020
Meet Heimana Tahiata.
Continuing our discussion on culture, connection and the performing arts, Jennifer spoke to Heimana Tahiata, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Heilani Polynesian School of Arts and Production Company.
Working full-time with Heilani for the past 11 years Heimana with fellow directors, wife Leilani, along with Fati and Waiana Tagata, bring a touch of home to the Maori and Pacifika communities around Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Their combined heritage and knowledge base makes them well versed to teach classes in Maori, Samoan, The Cook Islands and Tongan, as well as Tahitian and Hawaiian. The launch of their new Heilani website “where you will be able to join us from anywhere in the world for Pacific Dance, Fitness, Music, Arts/Crafts, Costume Making, etc!” add a new dimension to their business with lesson breakdowns and new content added weekly, discussion forums and more, this is your chance to find out about your own Pacific heritage or learn something new!
Heimana, grew up surrounded by culture and the performing arts. His mother was a member of the showband, ‘The Maori Volcanics’ and his father, one of Tahiti’s best dancers. Heimana’s parents met at Hawaii’s newly opened Polynesian Cultural Centre in the 60s and they travelled the world together. It wasn’t until looking back at his life globetrotting with his parents surrounded by Polynesian performers and entertainers that he realised the incredible impact these showfolk had on him. He learnt by example how to be a professional performer and how your connection to culture can create a life in the arts.
“For us, what we do is more than just an artform. It goes so much deeper because you’re talking about a people and a culture not just a dance. People can learn a modern dance and have no connect. With our people and with our artforms there is a connection because that art is actually a part of who we are and that is just as important as the artform. That’s the difference and that’s what makes us different from others!”