Marcellin College

Auckland Polynesian Festival

Filise's story: Performing at the festival

When my mother heard that we were going to perform at school for fia fia night and at the Poly festival she rushed to the phone and rang up my auntie in Fatai, Tongatapu because she was so excited and also a little bit nervous about being able to finish the costume in time.

When I got home that day my mum and nan were already getting busy making my special ngatu for fia fia night. Fia fia night is when everyone who is taking part in the Festival performs to show his or her item to raise money,

My Mum painted the symbols on my tapa.

The symbols that she used have been passed down through our family for years. She told me what they mean. The symbols on my tapa were firstly the road of the pines, The hala a’e paine ( road of the pines) represents the pine trees leading to the King’s palace.

Secondly there was the Tongan Royal shield with the motto ‘ Ko’e otua mo Tonga Ko Hoku Tofia’ and different kinds of symbols. There is the bird Lupe which represents the story of ‘Noah and the Ark’. The three swords represent honour and loyalty. The royal crown represents the King.

On the morning of the festival my mum and my sister and myself got up at 6.45 am and prepared my costume for the festival.The costume that we took with us to Manukau included a teki teki ( the feather headdress), my tapa, some hina lolo ( Tongan oil) and pa pa’i fa ( The red wooden necklace). We also took sisi ( the leaves we wore round our waist, elbows and knees) and the kafa ( the hair that holds the tapa up)

When we got there it was about 7.55 am. Most of the Marcellin students were already dressed and ready to perform. I got changed and luckily I was ready just in time as we were nearly ready to perform.

Our very first performance was the Tau Faka Niua ( The Tongan Stick Dance). After our great performance all of us thought we had done it really well. After our parents and other caregivers congratulated us we rushed to our Mums and got changed into my other costume for another performance called the Milolua. This dance is a Tongan dance about making kava for the King.

When we were on the ramp we were all quite nervous. But when we got onto the stage and started to show off our skills everybody was alright, and when we got off the stage our parents congratulated us again for another great performance.

When it was nearly finished most people were still there waiting for prizegiving. There were 8 schools that participated in the same stick dance as us. Onehunga College beat us. But we came first equal for the Milolua and first for our costumes. The next week at school we were congratulated by Mr Fahey, our Principal and other teachers and students at our school. The trophies are now up at Mr Fahey’s office. All of us still think we could have done better and come first. That’s what we will aim for next year.

Filise on Fia Fia night, Marcellin College 2004.

Filise on Fia Fia night, Marcellin College 2004.