UH Manoa Library presented two exhibits, Tau Rima Tahiti
and 'Ite 'Upa'upa, curated by ethnomusicology candidate
in the Hamilton Library Bridge and Phase II Galleries from
March 2 to April 28, 2009.
Rima Tahiti: Crafting Performance showcases the craft
artists and the material artifacts of 'Ori Tahiti.
Examples of locally made costumes and instruments show how
artists preserve Tahitian traditions through craftsmanship,
innovation, creative use of resources, and the transmission
Builders and makers construct these objects for the stage
production, but their craftsmanship
a performance in and of itself. The materials of Tau Rima
Tahiti celebrate these craftspeople and their central
role in preserving Tahitian culture.
Upaupa features the resources on Tahitian
performance are held in the Pacific Collection of Hamilton
Library. Developed collaboratively with Librarian Stuart Dawrs,
the exhibit highlights photos and books on Tahitian dance
Rima Tahiti: Crafting Performance Tau
Rima is a colloquial Tahitian term that describes skilled work
or steady hands. It refers especially to craftsmanship, competition,
and performance. Tau rima and great creativity go into every
costume, carving, and musical instrument that is a part of 'Ori
Tahiti, Tahitian dance.
Tahiti is a production in the grandest sense, combining many
elements in its spectacle. Dance, music, and costume all work together
to convey a common theme, so each production depends on the design
and crafting of new materials. Ra'atira, group directors,
along with their dancers and musicians, make new costumes appropriate
to the performance theme. Skilled carvers and builders make traditional
Tahitian instruments, as well as new instruments which add variety
and show musical creativity.
performance groups in Hawai'i are displaced from the original source
of their art and raw materials. They relay the myths and tell of
a land that is far away. In transplanting Tahitian culture, craftspeople
in Hawai'i show great resourcefulness and skill. By using local
resources, cultivating relationships, and employing great creativity,
they display a design sense and resulting product that is remarkably
and undeniably Tahitian.
as songs and dance transmit cultural knowledge, carvers and craftspeople
perpetuate Tahitian creativity and artistry through their handiwork.
Builders and makers construct these objects specifically for the
stage production, but their craftsmanship is a performance in and
of itself. The materials of Tau Rima Tahiti celebrate these craftspeople
and their central role in preserving Tahitian culture in Hawai'i.
To learn about research materials at the University of Hawai'i at
Manoa libraries, visit 'Ite 'Upa'upa: Resources in Tahitian
Performance. This exhibit is located in the Hamilton Library Phase
II Gallery, adjacent to the main elevators on the first floor, and
features research treasures from the Pacific Collection and the
Wong Audiovisual Center.
Please visit ArtMania, in the UHM Art Department on Sunday, April
5, for Tahitian performance and craft demonstrations. Witness music
and dance exhibitions, tō'ereand skin drum construction
demonstrations, and try your own hand at Tahitian crafts.
of the items shown in Tau Rima Tahiti are available for purchase.
Please contact these local craftspeople if you are interested in
their work. You can also visit many of these and other craftspeople
at the festivals above.
KBS Instruments, skin drums & vivo Mafatu Krainer (Tahitian
Instruments), to'ere, drums, carving
Tahia Parker, jewelry & costumes
Denise Ramento, jewelry & clothing
Etua Tahauri (Polynesian Cultural Supply), tō'ere, Hawaiian
Tyrone Temanaha, Jr., tō'ere, carving, tattoo design Gerard Tepehu, tō'ere,
skin drums, carving
Acknowledgements All of the exhibit items in Tau Rima Tahiti have been very generously
loaned by ra'atira and instrument makers on O'ahu. I am deeply grateful
to the numerous specialists who shared their time and knowledge
with me, provided Tahitian language assistance, and for generously
loaning their treasures for this exhibition:
Maeva Anderson, ra'atira (Oriata)
Mafatu Krainer, drum maker and carver
Tahia Parker, ra'atira (Marania Haoragi)
Rose Perreira (Tahiti Nui International)
Christopher Ramento, ra'atira (Here Tama Nui)
Denise Ramento, ra'atira (Here Tama Nui)
Etua Tahauri, tō'ere maker and carver
Cathy and Charlie Temanaha, ra'atira (Te Vai Ura Nui)
Tyrone Temanaha, Jr., tō'ere maker and carver
Catherine Teriipaia, (Polynesian Cultural Center)
Pola Teriipaia, ra'atira (Manutahi Tahiti)
Robyn Manu Williams, ra'atira (Ote'a Kia Mana)
For their guidance, advice, and assistance in the development and
installation of this project:
Stuart Dawrs, Hamilton Library Pacific Collection
Karen Kosasa, American Studies/Museum Studies
David Landry, Art Department shop manager
Christopher Formanek, Technical assistance
Teri Skillman, Library Communications and Events Coordinator
Bronwyn Solyom, Jean Charlot Collection Curator
Tyrone Temanaha, Jr., Exhibition artwork
Michael Thomas, UH Virtual Museum Project Manager
Ricardo D. Trimillos, Ethnomusicology Program
Jack Ward, Tahitian Language
UHM Hamilton Library Administration
Ethnomusicology Program student volunteers
Art 360 student volunteers
especially grateful for the support of the John Young Foundation.
Feedback Thank you for visiting Tau Rima Tahiti: Crafting Performance.
This exhibit is one component of a masters thesis project in ethnomusicology.
Your feedback on the exhibit would be extremely appreciated!
take a moment to complete an exhibit feedback survey.
If you identify as Tahitian or participate in Tahitian performance
or craftsmanship, I would enjoy a further conversation; please include
confidential contact information.
Master of Arts candidate, Ethnomusicology
Museum Studies Certificate candidate, American Studies Department