United as One

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The details of this year’s Lūʻau and Hōʻike

In Samoan, “tatou o fa’atasi” means “united as one.” It is the idea that everyone and everything is woven together. Through tatou o fa’atasi, people with different backgrounds, experiences, and cultures are all connected to one another—and this is the theme of this year’s production of Pacific’s annual Lūʻau and Hōʻike. The event will take place on April 13, courtesy of Nā Haumāna O Hawai‘i, or NHOH, the Hawai’i culture club on campus. 

   “Tatou o fa’atasi encourages individuals to unite as one unit, one group and one family,” Shaye Nishimura, the president of NHOH, explains. “Together we organize the Lūʻau and Hōʻike event where all the cultures that make up Hawai’i are woven together and united as one.” 

   Establishing a theme was just the first step in a long list of preparations for this year’s Lūʻau and Hōʻike. NHOH began planning the event in the summer, just a few months after last year’s Lūʻau ended. Over the next several months, a total of about 165 people worked together to make sure every detail was accounted for. 

   Due to the extensive planning involved in the event, NHOH’s club participants are organized into 17 different elected committees, all pitching in with different portions of the arrangements. Within these committees are NHOH members as well as volunteers wanting to lend a helping hand to the club members.

   “Some of the main things [to do] are, of course, coming up with a theme, and then finding student instructors and committee chairs,” Nishimura elaborates. “We also have student MC’s, student musicians, student chapters and drummers and all that. There’s just so many different things.”

   As the fall term began and each committee’s preparations were underway, NHOH made sure to set aside time for all of their student helpers to relax and enjoy their role in the Lūʻau and Hōʻike in the midst of the busy months ahead.   

   “All semester is mainly us as a board planning and all that, so we try to also plan workshops to get them excited.” Nishimura explains. 

   During the workshops, the group immersed themselves in many of the different cultures celebrated in the Lūʻau and Hōʻike through dances, chants, and other activities.

   The group’s planning, learning, and collaboration all comes together to put on the two main events of the Lūʻau and Hōʻike; the dinner and the dances. As for the dances, student instructors and dancers have been rehearsing the choreography since the beginning of spring semester to put together several group performances, including songs originating from Hawai’i, Samoa, and other regions. All of the dances the group has rehearsed make for a performance of 21 distinct, meticulously choreographed songs. 

   In addition to the choreography, NHOH has added student musicians to play alongside their dances. “That was really cool, because usually they just dance to a YouTube video of some artists that the instructor chose,” Nishimura explains. “It’s what makes our Lūʻau a little more unique.”

   For this year’s dinner menu, Bon Appetit is presenting a variety of items native to Hawai’i and Samoa. This includes Kalua pork, a Hawaiian dish traditionally served at Lūʻaus, Lūʻau punch, chicken long rice, Pani Popo, a Samoan sweet roll baked in coconut sauce, and other coveted dishes. 

   As the largest student-run Lūʻau and Hōʻike on the west coast, NHOH has taken this position very seriously; they strive for authenticity in every aspect of the event. Many of the items involved in the event are received through donations from Hawai’i. Food, clothing, floral arrangements, and more materials that are hard to find in Oregon are provided by families, businesses and other donors each year. 

   NHOH puts these donations to use not only through the clothing and decorations used at the Lūʻau and Hōʻike, but also at The Country Store, which will be open to anyone on the day of the event (as well as a first look at the store available to students on the day before). There are four main booths that make up The Country Store; one for snacks, drinks, and trinkets, one for merchandise, another for lunchtime concessions, and one booth dedicated to leis for attendees to wear to the Lūʻau and Hōʻike. 

   With just over a week left until the Lūʻau and Hōʻike and the final touches being made to the production, NHOH has the opportunity to watch the show start to come to life. “It’s just really cool to see people from different backgrounds trying out and exploring and learning about the Hawaiian culture or different cultures.” Nishimura reflects. 


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