About

Te Moana Nui: French Polynesia and its engagement with Hawaiʻi

A display for Bobby Holcomb flanked by the flags of french polynesia and hawaii

November 4, 2019-January 16, 2020
Location: Bridge Gallery

Synopsis: There are 5 distinct Polynesian cultural-ethnic groups in French Polynesia and 7 Polynesian languages spoken natively. These cultures have a famously long and intriguing history of migrations and mutual cultural contact with Hawai‘i extending centuries into the past. This exhibit intends to show that such contact and mutual influence carries on today, and some aspects of culture and language of French Polynesia are visibly apparent in modern Hawai‘i society as aspects of Hawaiian culture are seen in French Polynesia today.

Sponsorship: This exhibit is put on by the Tahitian language program (Dr Keao NeSmith) of the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures in partnership with the Tahitian Dance program (Dr Jane Moulin) of the Department of Music of UH Mānoa.

Items Exhibited:

  • A sample of texts on traditional and modern culture in French Polynesia, marine science, lexicography, geopolitics, material and esoteric culture
  • Items of material culture, such as scented coconut oils, fishing lures, carved bowls of local woods, instruments
  • A continuously running video playlist of music and short documentaries
  • A sample of the works of Tahitian language students of UHM
  • A sample of the art and music of Hawai‘i-born, Bobby Holcomb

Languages Featured: Displays are presented in Tahitian, Pa’umotu, Marquesan, Hawaiian, French and English

Display cases fileld with books, leis, and artifacts for the Te Moana Nui exhibit

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