The Heiva i Tahiti: a cultural event bringing Polynesian people together.

Poster of the Heive 2015Every July, for more than 130 years, Tahiti hosts the greatest competition of traditional dance and song worldwide.  The Heiva is a major popular event, much awaited every year by Polynesian people to gather together! Let’s discover this magical event.

This year, the dance and song competition will take place from July 2nd to July 18th, beginning at 6 pm. The best groups will be selected to participate to the award ceremony, on July 15th. To finish, the laureates will present their shows once again on July 17th and 18th.

Nevertheless, how are the different song and dance groups judged?

The traditional dance competition is organized in two categories: an amateur category (Hura Ava Tau), and a professional category (Hura Tau). A group can turn professional after a first place as amateur. This year, 15 dance groups will compete: 8 in Hura Ava Tau category and 7 in Hura Tau.


© John et Christine MAIRAI
© John et Christine MAIRAI

Every dance group is composed of minimum 72 people, that is to say 60 dancers and about 12 musicians. Furthermore, they necessarily have to present 4 types of traditional dances (Ote’a, Aparima, Pa’o’a and Hivinau), and 3 types of costumes (traditional, vegetal and fabrics).

The performance has to last from 45 to 60 minutes. If the rules aren’t respected, the groups can have severe penalties.

In the dance branch, several competitions co-exist: the best group competition, the best dancers, the best orchestra…


© Manon K.
© Manon K.

The traditional song competition  is divided in 3 categories: the Tarava Tahiti, the Tarava Raromatai and the Tarava Tuhaa Pae. Each category represents a regional cultural specificity of French Polynesia.

The song groups must contain 60 members minimum, and has to present a Himene Tarava, a Himene Ru’au and a Ute paripari. The costumes are also regulated and the show should not last more than 25 minutes. The different songs are also separately judged, with different rewards (best author…). This year, 22 songs groups are competing in front of a jury with a high level of expectations.


Tahitian danser during the heiva
© Manon K.

In order to decide among the songs and dance groups, a jury is selected by the groups’ chiefs, from a list of personalities they elaborate. Last novelty this year, the President of the Jury, Myrna Tuporo was chosen by the Minister of Culture, among the elected members.
Regarding dance, the jury is composed of 4 personalities: Janine Mari Ara, Makau Foster-Delcuvellerie, Francky Taae and Matani Kainuku.

In songs, Myrna Tuporo, Dayna Tavaearii and Pierrot Paraire will choose the best groups.
For the writing, Denise Raapoto will judge the best authors.
Then, for the percussions, Carlos Tuia will name the best traditional percussionists.
This prestigious jury will give 51 awards this year for a total amount of 9 260 000 xpf, 1 790 000 xpf more than last years.

The magic Heiva I Tahiti 2015 already started ! Book your seats at ‘’ La Maison de la Culture ‘’or 1 hour 30 before the show, in To’ata. The prices vary between 1500 xpf to 3000 xpf.
Ready for the show?



Thursday, July 2

18h00 – 18h10 Introduction

18h10 – 18h40 RAHIRI

18h50 – 19h50 PIRAE NUI E – Hura Ava Tau

20h00 – 20h30 TAMARII PEREAITU – Tarava Tahiti

20h40 – 21h10 TAURA’ATUA – Tarava Tuhaa Pae

21h20 – 22h20 TEMAEVA – Hura Tau

Friday, July 3

18h00 – 18h10 Introduction

18h10 – 18h40 TAMARII MATAIEA –Tarava Tahiti

18h50 – 19h20 ASSOCIATION AUTI RE’A –Tarava Tahiti

19h30 – 20h30 TEFANA I AHURA’I E TU – Hura Ava Tau

20h40 – 21h10 TEMAHOTU – Tarava Raromatai

21h20 – 21h50 PIRAE NUI E –Tarava Tahiti

22h00 – 23h00 TEVA I TAI – Hura Tau

Saturday, July 4

18h00 – 18h10 Introduction

18h10 -18h40 TAMARII VAIRAO –Tarava Tahiti

18h50 – 19h50 TAMARII TOAHOTU NUI – Hura ava tau

20h00 – 20h30 O FAA’A –Tarava Raromatai

20h40 – 21h10 TAMARII PAPEARI –Tarava Tahiti

21h20 – 22h20 HANATIKA – Hura Tau

Wednesday, July 8

18h00 – 18h10 Introduction

18h10 – 18h40 TAMARII MAHINA –Tarava Raromatai

18h50 – 19h50 TEFANA I AHURAI – Hura Ava Tau

20h00 – 20h30 HAURURU PAPENOO –Tarava Tahiti

20h40 – 21h10 VAIHOATAUA –Tarava Raromatai

21h20 – 22h20 TAMARII MATAIEA – Hura Tau

Thursday, July 9

18h00 – 18h10 Introduction

18h10 – 19h10 HEI ORA – Hura Ava Tau

19h20 – 19h50 TAMARII RAPA NO TAHITI – Tarava Tuhaa Pae

20h00 – 21h00 TAMARII PEREAITU – Hura Ava Tau

21h10 – 21h40 TEFANA I AHURAI – Tarava Raromatai

21h50 – 22h50 TAURA’ATUA – Hura Tau

Friday, July 10

18h00 – 18h10 Introduction

18h10 – 18h40 TAMARII TUHAA PAE NO MAHINA – Tarava Tuhaa Pae

18h50 – 19h20 TAMARII PAPARA – Tarava Tahiti

19h30 – 20h30 HEIHERE – Hura Ava Tau

20h40 – 21h10 VAIARII NUI – Tarava Tahiti

21h20 – 21h50 ORI I TAHITI – Hura Tau

Saturday, July 11

18h00 – 18h10 Introduction

18h10 – 18h40 TE NOHA NO ROTUI – Tarava Tahiti

18h50 – 19h20 TE PAPE ORA NO PAPOFAI – Tarava Raromatai

19h30 – 20h30 TAMARII PAPEARI – Hura Ava Tau

20h40 – 21h10 COMITE TIONA NO PUEU – Tarava Tahiti

21h20 – 21h50 TAMARII TEAHUPOO – Tarava Tahiti

22h00 – 23h00 O TAHITI E – Hura Tau

Wednesday, July 15



Friday, July 17


Saturday, July 18


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