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The Impact of Political Change on Tahitian Culture and Dance in

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Visions for the Future: The Impact of
Taui on Tahitian Culture and Dance in
French Polynesia
Makana Nova 2004-2005
Undergraduate Research Symposium, May 14, 2005
Research Question
1.
How are changing
policies and attitudes
in French Polynesia
altering the future of
Tahitian culture and
dance?
пЃ±
Attitudes/
Examples
пЃ±
Steps for future
cultural/political
development
Methods
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
Qualitative study consisting of 20, 1-hour interviews
in Tahiti from December 6, 2004 through December
20, 2004.
Observations of Ori Tahiti:
пЃ± dance practices
пЃ± local performances
пЃ± tourist performances
пЃ± competition in Tahiti: Hura Tapairu
Related organizational involvement to Taui asked
participants to identify steps to reach cultural and
political goals.
Thematic analysis of written/taped interview notes.
Interview Participants
Respected elder of the
protestant church and
advocate for Moruroa e
Tatou
2. Cultural and language
authors
3. Playwright
4. Former dancers
5. Directors from both
traditional and modern
style Tahitian dance
troupes.
1.
Director of le Maison
de la Culture
5. Chief of Culture for
the government
6. Former president of
French Polynesia
7. Individuals
associated with the
women’s movement
under Oscar Temaru
4.
French Polynesia
•Region located
halfway between the
United States and
Australia.
•French Polynesia is a
French owned
territory. (1842)
•The economy relies
on French funding for
damages as a result of
nuclear testing.
Taui
пЃ®
Definition: a name meaning “change” in
Tahitian commonly given to refer to the
political movement that led to the end of
Gaston Flosse as president for 20 years.
The term is typically used by the opposing
party of Gaston Flosse, Tavini Huira’atira.
Tahoe Huiraatira/Gaston Flosse
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
Gaston Flosse served as
president of French
Polynesia for 20 years
until May of 2004.
Supports autonomy
(remaining under French
power). Flosse is very
close to French President
Chirac.
Allegations of corruption
have arisen regarding
land issues, government
spending, and bribery.
Tavini Huira’atira-Oscar Temaru
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
Pro-independence party
Formed a coalition and
gained power of the
assembly.
May be lacking in leadership
experience. Accustomed to
playing the role of
complainant rather than
leader.
Gained considerable
popularity in recent years
following Gaston Flosse
scandals.
Events since May of 2004
1.
2.
3.
4.
May 2004: Oscar Temaru
is elected as president
November 2004: Gaston
Flosse regains power, 1 in
4 citizens of Tahiti
protest.
December 2004- I
traveled to Tahiti to study
the situation
February 2005- Oscar
Temaru is re-elected to
power
Significance
To understand:
пЃ®
The influence of policy and organization of
a dominant culture in preserving another.
пЃ®
The influence that a stronger nation like
France has over its protectorate.
пЃ®
The effects of colonialism/imperialism and
recognize our responsibility to smaller
nations that we protect and control.
пЃ®
The tension between tradition and
modernity.
пЃ®
Culture is essential to the well being of a
society…especially in French Polynesia.
What is traditional?
пЃ®
пЃ®
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Very little
documentation
exists of traditional
Tahitian dance.
Missionaries
suppressed Tahitian
dance. (1800)
Tahiti experienced a
cultural revival in the
1950s.
Tahitian Dance through Time
Modern Influence
пЃ®
пЃ®
The lack of traditional
knowledge leaves
Tahitian culture
susceptible to outside
influence.
How do attitudes
towards these
influences affect
cultural practices in
Tahiti?
Hypothesis
There is an indirect
association between
politics and culture.
This is caused by
policy and funding
which play a
significant role in
controlling the
development of
cultural organizations.
Findings: Cultural/Political
Relations
There is an indirect, unperceived connection
between politics and culture, primarily
consisting of control over organizational
funding and policies.
пЃ®
2 of 3 participants could give a concrete
example of government control over cultural
organizations.
пЃ®
1 in 5 emphasized the importance of cultural
vitality to the success of all of society.
пЃ®
2 of 3 felt Tahitian dance should be rooted in
the past and tradition should be defined before
becoming modern.
Dance Dependencies
Ori Tahiti
Historical
Sources
Knowledge of
Technique
Funding/
Costumes
Practice
Space
Publicity
Show
Opportunities
Many dance organizations depend on
government or government funded
organizations.
Creativity/
Message/
Feeling
Impact
As a result of Taui, organizations are
waiting on funding. Everything is on hold
while political problems are sorted out.
2. Favoritism: funding comes from political
organizations to gain votes.
3. Corruption has led to an uprising of the
people. They feel, “a breath of fresh air”,
following Taui. Attitudes toward change
are apprehensive but recognized as
inevitable.
4. Different regimes emphasize either modern
or traditional dance.
1.
Visions for the Future
Culturally:
пЃ® Define traditional Tahitian
culture. Understand the
past in order to move into
the future.
 “Land is our money in
French Polynesia and I am
a millionaire.”
 “Native language is the
secret to the truth.”
пЃ® Incorporate culture into
the education system.
Politically:
пЃ® Return to
traditional ways
rather than
modernize the
economy.
пЃ® The title of
independence.
пЃ® Pacific island
support
пЃ® Stop the
corruption.
Other Topics Addressed in the
Research
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
The impact of internal troupe politics on the
success of cultural organizations.
The future of French Polynesia as a
political/economic entity. The different
priorities of two political regimes.
Political equality and representation of the
people of French Polynesia.
Collisions of cultural expression- orero and
dance vs. written text.
Opinions of change
Ideas for Future Research
пЃ®
пЃ®
пЃ®
Formal study of
defining tradition
in French
Polynesia.
Follow up study
after Oscar
Temaru has been
in power for over
a year.
Quantitative
study of the
impact of funding
on cultural
organizations.
Acknowledgements
пЃ®
пЃ®
Professor Raul Lejano: faculty mentor
Professor Valerie Jenness: director of Social
Ecology Honors Program
пЃ®
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Program at UCI: for providing funding and
research opportunities
пЃ®
Marguerite Lai and Marie-Helene Villierme:
for providing hospitality and advice
пЃ®
The O Tahiti E USA dance studio and Al
Patten: for providing advice and contacts
For More Information…
Contact Makana Nova
Department of Environmental
Analysis and Design
University of California, Irvine
mnova@uci.edu
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