Hawaiian Ensemble visits Tahiti over Spring Break

students re-connect with Raapoto School friends


Photo by courtesy of Richard Renaud

Tahitian hosts prepare a meal for Hawaiian Ensemble students who were visiting over Spring Break. The Hawaiian students toured several islands and toured and performed at Samuel Raapoto School as part of a Spring Break cultural exchange.

Over Spring Break, students in Hawaiian Ensemble performed and visited the Tahitians students from Samuel Raapoto High School who came to Kamehameha Maui earlier this year.

Kumu Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo accompanied the students on their trip, Saturday March 21 to Sunday March 29.

“We went to share our culture, as well as learn the culture and music of Tahitian people,” Kumu Kalei explained.

Richard Renaud was one of the students who went on the trip.

“We went to Tahiti to perform for the islanders and to experience the rich culture over there,” he said.

The students got to try new experiences as well.

“My favorite part was clam diving. The water was very beautiful and calm,” Renaud said.

The students were hosted in different ways while visiting.

“While we were on Tahiti, we stayed at Mama Andrea and Papa Andrew’s house,” explained Renaud. “While we were in Huahine, we stayed on church grounds.”

They performed their one-hour concert in Huahine.

The highlight of the trip was seeing the Tahitians practice their culture and values daily.

“The people are so unique because they’re so self-sustained,” Kumu Kalei said. “They practice on a regular basis how to conserve water, for example.

They are very resourceful people who do not waste.

“Even when they would fish, they would clean the fish in the water, so that the remaining bits of flesh would go down to feed the younger fish,” Kumu Kalei said. “It’s like a big cycle.”

Students from Samuel Raapoto High School got to see their Kamehameha Schools Maui friends once again.

“It was great to see how big-hearted the people were when we visited,” Kumu Kalei said. “It was also great to see how students reacted to them. They were so appreciative. This made me excited about what I can do for future Kamehameha Schools students.”