The 159th edition of Heiva i Tahiti has just closed.
It is important first of all to take a moment to reflect on the ability this event have to cross ages and the different periods of our time without exhaustion.
If, as for any event, there were ups and downs, and many debates, it was ultimately only to better enable the event to continue to adapt while keeping its identity ... thematic dear to groups coming to defend their titles or to present themselves as outsiders of a very technical competition!
And there were debates this year even though, for many, it is still too early to judge the impact of the novelties presented this year. For the festival has seen this year a major change: openness to international groups.
Presented by the Director of the festival as a necessity to maintain the breath of originality that allows the event to evolve, its opponents considered that it might eventually see the event slipped to a standard competition, in the image other disciplines, and make it lose its role as a catalyst for local culture.
To answer their fears, not every elements of the competition were mixed. Local groups were graded and evaluated in a specific competition. But a new category, and new awards, have been put in place to welcome, in this famous festival, groups from abroad.
This year, the participation of these groups was free. Eventually, the project would be to invite the winners of Heiva organized around the world. Because indeed, it has been for many years that the phenomenon is spreading: Paris, San Diego, Honolulu to begin, the last 5 years have seen the arrival of numerous regional Heiva organized either by the Tahitian diaspora or by people of other nationalities, simple fans of our Ori Tahiti in their countries: Japan, Mexico, Colombia, China, Canada ... As many enthusiasts as some wanted to include in the development of Heiva to in a way thank them for their passion and their role as ambassadors and ambassadors of Tahitian culture.
If, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is probably too early to judge the impact of this novelty, we hope that the organizers will again be able to express their questions, doubts and hopes very clearly to maintain authenticity of this famous festival!
In the end, is this not just representative of the ancestral debate in Tahiti and the rest of the world: are culture and traditions strengthened when they go beyond their original borders? Or is their sincere and genuine appropriation by other communities the beginning of a denaturing of traditions?