Pacific Islanders (mainly Tongan, Samoan and Fijian) from the Griffith congregation of the Uniting Church entertained the Culcairn-Henty congregation with song and dance. This cultural experience saw up to 45 adults and others sing acapella and dance with rhythm and poise.
The boys performed war dances, the girls rowed their boats around the islands and the toddlers with a very keen eye followed in detail the ladies’ performances. Graceful hand movements accompanied the swaying and motion of their bodies as they told many island stories. The hand movements of the Haka were a joy to watch.
Fiji-time was the order of the day. The local folk soon cottoned on to the idea and patiently awaited the first performance. After all, the girls had lots of clothes-changing and oiling of the skin. Their spectacular head dresses were handmade from coconut palm. As well, their decorated Ta’ovala and kie kie (from Tonga) which demonstrated signs of respect were complimented by the brightly flowered dresses of Fiji.
Sunday’s church service almost lifted the roof as a full church sang known favourite hymns. The harmony, with deep basses from the men resonating throughout, sang in Fijian, Tongan, Samoan and Niuean. Prayers and bible readings were recited by both congregations and a performance in movement created beautiful dancing by the Islanders.
A feast of sandwiches and cakes provided supper (Saturday) and morning tea (Sunday). Our visitors greatly appreciated the food while they mingled with the local congregation and visitors. This activity well explained the culture of the Pacific Islands. It is hoped that this will happen again.