Evening in French Polynesia luau provides cultural entertainment

Evening in French Polynesia luau provides cultural entertainment

Miss Tahiti 2017 and Mayor of Châteauroux attend French event

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Turouru Temorere Miss Tahiti 2017 and Gil Averous, mayor of Chateauroux attend the Evening in French Polynesia luau, Nov. 4.

Last year, the mayor of Châteauroux, FranceGil Avérous, came to Fresno for the first Sister City student to student exchange program. This year the mayor, along with Turouru Temorere Miss Tahiti 2017, attended the Evening in French Polynesia Luau, Nov. 4. This event was hosted by the Alliance Française of Fresno, which seeks to offer exciting quality events centered around the theme of French culture.

This event was the Alliance Française’s first annual luau in Fresno. They decided to host a luau to celebrate the culture of the French Polynesian islands. They partnered with Central High School’s French Club and The Polynesian Club of Fresno, a world-renowned dance troupe.

Scott Donaghe, president of the Alliance Française of Fresno and French Club teacher, wanted to do something a little different this year for their French centered event, so he decided to honor Tahiti, along with its 118 islands, and the French Polynesian islands. Donaghe lived in France for about four months for a summer semester program through Fresno State. He has taught French at Central High School for around 19 years.

“When I first took over the French program, the variety of students that were in French was not that large,” Donaghe said. “Since I’ve taken over there’s a lot more variety of nationalities taking French. The French program has diversified, and that is why I wanted to connect the French islands to this event.”

The Alliance Française welcomed Gil Avérous, mayor of Fresno’s Sister City Châteauroux, to the luau. Last year, the mayor attended the official signing ceremony of the two sister cities in Fresno. Since the alliance was made, Châteauroux’s goal is to share student exchanges between the two cities. Three students from Châteauroux are currently attending one of the schools in Fresno through this program.

The people of Châteauroux are excited for the opportunity to have a sister city in the U.S., according to Avérous. At one point, 10,000 Americans lived in Châteauroux, so the citizens are enthusiastic to connect with the United States. Being in Fresno a second time, the mayor was excited to check out the community and the agriculture. Toney Henry, vice president of the Alliance Française of Fresno, translated.

“I’m very happy to be here and excited to go out into the community and meet some of the students,” Avérous said. “I’m excited about the agricultural history, like the winemaking process because being from France, we are the kings of making wine. It’s good to be exposed to so many different aspects of agriculture in California since it’s one of their major industries.”

Kamryn Schultz | The Feather Online

The dancers from The Polynesian Club of Fresno have performed in Tahiti, Hawaii, and New Zealand.

Not only was the mayor of Châteauroux in attendance, but Turouru Temorere, Miss Tahiti 2017, arrived to embrace the familiar culture. The 21-year-old was crowned in June, and the experience has already changed her life.

At first, she wasn’t going to present herself as a candidate for Miss Tahiti, but one of her friends became Miss Tahiti 2015, and because of her counsel she decided to run. But with the perks of winning came some downsides.

Temorere finds it difficult to connect with friends because she travels, and she must always dress well and be ready to present at any moment, which challenged her lifestyle.

Nonetheless, Temorere is thrilled to be Miss Tahiti 2017 as it has given her the opportunity to promote her country. She is now in the running to become Miss France 2018, which coincidentally takes place in Châteauroux, France. Toney Henry translated for her.

“It’s exciting to be Miss Tahiti, but it’s also exciting to get the opportunity to become Miss France,” Temorere said. “I also get the opportunity to represent where I come from, which is very special. I’m very happy to be at this luau because it makes me feel at home being able to see the dancers that come from my hometown.”

The luau started with the Polynesian Club of Fresno performing for the audience. Kolei Fiefononga Kuma started the group in 1972 for his son’s first birthday. Kuma gathered dancers and musicians to put together entertainment. Since then the group has performed and competed all over the world, in places such as Tahiti, Hawaii, and the Polynesian Islands.

Martha Kuma is Kolei’s second child, and one of the leaders of the group. She admires the fact that she lives in a place where people are open to multicultural experiences. Kuma believes it is important that they go back to the islands to keep the dances and stories culturally correct.

“My favorite part about being in this club is that it’s an extended family. People come to dance and they think they’re just coming for hula dances, but eventually, they turn into family. We see dancers that have started from the 70s still with our group. We have a very large extended family and it’s that spirit of aloha or ohana that is the most exciting to me.”

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

The group competes all over the world, and some dancers perform as soloists.

Kuma introduced the Polynesian Club of Fresno to the audience, and the entertainment began. Some performances included dancers dressed in exotic clothing while swaying to relaxing music from their culture. Others performed upbeat numbers, such as a fire dancer playing with fire to wow the audience. The dances originated from many of the French Polynesian islands, such as Tahiti, Hawaii, and even some from New Zealand. 

Rica Sotto, a member of the club since 2003, is Filipino and relates very much to the culture and atmosphere of the group. She competes as a soloist as well as in a group and loves learning more about the culture.

“I went to Central, and one time I saw the girls dancing in this club, so I wanted to be apart of it,” Sotto said. “I love every type of dancing but I love Tahitian the most because it’s fast. I love being apart of a family; we are all really close.”

After the performance, guests were invited to eat a traditional French Polynesian dinner, with Hawaiian bread, rice, and meat cut from an entire pig. During this time, Temorere talked about her experience becoming Miss Tahiti 2017.

“I originally wasn’t going to present myself as a candidate, but my friend was Miss Tahiti 2015 and it was because of her counsel I decided to run,” Temorere said. “At first, my father didn’t support my decision, but I presented myself as a candidate behind my fathers back. Since then I’ve been very proud to represent Tahiti and it’s been a great experience.”

The event closed with Donaghe thanking everyone for their support and hoping to make the event even bigger next year. The emcees of the night were Alena Lee of ABC30 Action News and Toney Henry, vice president of the Alliance Française.

To find out more about the Sister City program, read Fresno gains new sister city in France. For more articles, read PROMO: Superintendent Brown hosts campus Town Hall, Nov. 6.

Slideshow below includes images of the Evening in French Polynesia luau held at Central High.

This writer can be reached via Twitter @schultz_kamryn and via email: Kamryn Schultz.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.

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By | 2017-11-09T09:25:24+00:00 November 7th, 2017|Features, Top 5|35 Comments

About the Author:

Kamryn Schultz

When Kamryn Schultz turned eight years old, she read Roald Dahl’s book, The Witches, and felt inspired to write stories like her favorite author. During her sophomore year, Schultz’s dream to become a published author turned into a reality. She wrote nine chapters of her first novel, Redemption, and published it on The Feather. Since joining the team, The Feather received a Pacemaker and two Gold Crowns. As the writer begins her junior year, she prepares to take on a leadership role and demonstrate for others what it means to write with purpose. In her free time she enjoys listening to music, reading fantasy novels and playing volleyball. The creative dreamer’s favorite past times consist of hanging out with friends and singing along to her favorite Disney tunes. This year she looks forward to working with an excellent team and improving in writing and social skills.
This author can be reached via Twitter: schultz_kamryn
This author can also be reached by via email: [email protected]

35 Comments

  1. Scott Donaghe November 8, 2017 at 12:25 am - Reply

    Bonsoir Mademoiselle Kamryn. I really appreciated your coverage of our event! It was a pleasure to have the Feather attend on Saturday and we are greatful for your time and attention to details in covering this story, a true first for Fresno! Never before has a Miss Tahiti been to Fresno, and we do hope to bring Turouru back, but as Miss France 2018 for our September Luau in 2018!

  2. Gladys November 8, 2017 at 7:40 am - Reply

    I’m a student at central east high school and attended the luau, it was an eventful evening and you did a great job in covering all the efforts of everyone putting this event together and the people who came.

  3. Kelsy Ornelas November 8, 2017 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Bonjour Kamryn, thank you so much for coming to the Luau! I hope you enjoyed it and had a good time so that you could join us again next time. Experiencing something like this isn’t something most high school students get to experience and i’m glad you were there to join us. I hope you truly got something and learned some things about the French Polynesian , thank you again for coming.

  4. Lydia Gonzalez November 8, 2017 at 7:43 am - Reply

    I think that it was a great opportunity to experience a new culture and feel apart of it. Being in an event where much French was being spoken, and where a culture was influenced by French, it helped many to expand knowledge of not just French culture, but Polynesian as well. With the performances by the Polynesian Club of Fresno and the visitors, being Miss Tahiti and the Mayor of Chateâuroux, was a memorable experience, that many, if not all, wont forget.

  5. Desiree Cisneros November 8, 2017 at 7:46 am - Reply

    This event was lovely. The dances they did were really nice. Even the food was really good. I wish to attend something like this again soon. Miss Tahiti was nice and so was the mayor. I took a picture with both of them. Seeing some culture from the Polynesians was very interesting.

  6. samantha magana November 8, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    The luau hosted by the Polynesia club of Fresno as well as central high school this past weekend was definitely one to remember. To have had Miss. Tahiti 2017 alongside the Mayor of chateauroux in the audience was already amazing and then having the Polynesia club perform was just overall breathtaking. They did an amazing job and i am happy i had the opportunity to have been apart of something so big like that.

  7. Caleb Hale November 8, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Bonjour Mademoiselle Kamryn, I’m Caleb Hale, a member of the French club at Central High School. I unfortunately was not able to attend the luau myself, but after reading your article, I genuinely felt like I was there and a part of the experience! I really enjoyed reading this, not only because of the attention to detail, but also the genuine interest that was evident in the formation of the article. An event like this wasn’t even for your school, and you took the opportunity to immerse yourself into it and it made me very happy!

  8. harjot singh November 8, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    This weekend I had the opportunity to meet Miss Tahiti, it was great time I personally really thought the event was a huge success. The event itself was really cool, my two favorite things were that i got to see the great show put on by the Polynesian club of Fresno. My other favorite part was getting to meet Miss Tahiti and getting a picture with her.Overall I thought the event was a huge success and it was a really good turn out.

  9. Arshak Abelyan November 8, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    We appreciate your coverage on this event Mademoiselle Kamryn. It is very nice to have connections such as Miss Tahiti and the mayor of Châteauroux in Fresno. I was not able to attend this event however, I regret not attending after all that I read in this article. We hope to have you join us in Fresno again in 2018 and we wish you the best in your path to become Miss France 2018!

  10. Ryan Pham November 8, 2017 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Thank you Mademoiselle Kamyrn for the coverage you did on the 2017 Fresno Luau. I thank you for your detailed coverage on the luau and hope you will be there to cover the 2018 Fresno Luau we are having next year!

  11. Poonam Sidhu November 8, 2017 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Bonsoir Kamryn. I really enjoyed how you wrote about the importance of other types of cultures and for students to get this wonderful experience to be able to go to other countries and to see the culture come to life. So thank you for spreading the word about the Sister City program and about the Polynesia luau.

  12. Joseph November 8, 2017 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Bonjour Mademoiselle Kamryn. I believe you did a great job on covering the event. It’s interesting to see how much attention this school event has gotten in such a small amount of time.

  13. Gursahil Sran November 8, 2017 at 7:49 am - Reply

    It was a fantastic event that has been the first of its kind in Fresno. It was an honor for Central High School to hold the Polynesian Luau. Being a part of this event as a Central student was one of the best experiences as I got to meet Miss.Tahiti 2017 and had the opportunity to take a picture and interact with her. Not to mention, it was also a great experience talking to the Chateauroux Mayor. I believe these kind of events bring great diversity to our community in the Central Valley. I hope more people take part in this event for next year!

  14. Raymond Becerra November 8, 2017 at 7:50 am - Reply

    This article is greatly appreciated by the student of Central High School and especially the French student. The article hits all points of the event and gives great coverage of the meaning of the event to Miss Tahiti. Also it really explains the impact it has on the Tahitian culture around Fresno and how we must expand on the culture creating a fun event.

  15. Stevie Melikian November 8, 2017 at 7:50 am - Reply

    I want to say a big thanks to Mademoiselle Kamryn for her coverage in this story! You painted a picture with your words about event. It’s nice to see our community taking a interest in some of the cultural events that happen throughout Fresno. So thank you for taking the time to write this magnificent article and I hope you write the next article for the Luau in 2018!

  16. Jenny Cortez November 8, 2017 at 7:52 am - Reply

    Bonjour Mademoiselle Kamryn . Thank you so much for your hard work we really appreciate it ! This was Miss Tahiti coming and having you guys there to see it all and having you guys write about it was a pleasure . We cant wait to maybe in the future see her again !

  17. Yoseline M. November 8, 2017 at 7:52 am - Reply

    This event was worth my time. It was very very entertaining. Getting to see Miss Tahiti and the mayor of Chateauroux was probably a once in a high schooler lifetime. The experience was just spectacular. 😀

  18. Thomas P. November 8, 2017 at 9:31 am - Reply

    I think that it is amazing to have the opportunity to have miss Tahiti 2017 come to my schools event. It gives students a chance to see what its like to have people from other countries that speak different languages come to your school and speak that language to you. Sadly, i was unable to attend this event but it is still a great opportunity for others to experience.

  19. Mylez Mayugba November 8, 2017 at 9:34 am - Reply

    I think this article was the best I’ve ever read. I hope Miss Tahiti can win Miss France 2018. I didn’t attend this event because I was very very busy but I would go to it whenever they host another one. I bid you farewell and I want to thank Mademoiselle Kamryn on covering this story

  20. Diego Juarez November 8, 2017 at 9:35 am - Reply

    It must have been an amazing experience to meet Miss Tahiti and the mayor of Chateauroux be in Fresno. I was not able to go to the meeting at Central High School, but maybe next year if they visit Fresno again i can see the experience myself. We hope to see Miss Tahiti and mayor of Chateauroux in 2018.

  21. Kevin Bermudez November 8, 2017 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Its great to see the sister cities come together and form a greater bond with each other. I hope to see more connections between these two in the near future. As well as hopefully seeing more visits from Miss Tahiti and the mayor of Châteauroux so that I could possibly get to met one of them.

  22. Ronald Embrey November 8, 2017 at 9:36 am - Reply

    It is a great thing that these two amazing cities are connected through being sister cities. Although I was not able to attend this event, if an event like this happened again I would surely be there. It would be an honor to meet the mayor of Châteauroux france and miss tahiti 2017. But hopefully next time Turouru Temorere visits Fresno, she will be crowned as miss France instead of miss Tahiti.

  23. Katty Vang November 8, 2017 at 9:36 am - Reply

    This will forever be one of the historic events that has happened in our very own home, Fresno. It’s such a great pleasure to have been apart of the school that started all this. Students in Monsieur Donahe’s French classes hope that more special great events like this happens more often in the future.

  24. Elise Vidrio November 8, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Bonjour Mademoiselle Kamryn. As a student of Mr.Donaghe’s, who was unable to attend the event, your coverage was helpful and delightful to read. It was a vicarious experience. Thank you for your coverage of the cultural event.

  25. David Loewen November 8, 2017 at 9:39 am - Reply

    This article was really well done, thank you for your amazing coverage. The event was a very memorable one and I hope to see more of these experiences next year as well as the excellent coverage you give. Thank you for everything you’ve done for the community and for those who couldn’t be there to join us. I honestly can’t wait to see what the Luau for 2018 has in store for us. Thank you again, and see you in 2018!

  26. Dylan Costales November 8, 2017 at 9:40 am - Reply

    First off i would like to thank you for putting our school on on your amazing website i sadly was not able to attend this event but after reading your great article I missed out.I really wish i cloud have met Miss Tahiti like a really nice person to talk to.Ounce again i just want to thank you for covering this amazing event on your outstanding website.

  27. Marychelle Schafer November 8, 2017 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Merci beaucoup Mademoiselle Kamryn! Wanna say that the school appreciate the cover of the event and the school itself. Wish I could of been there but the description of the event sounded fun! Merci again for interviewing Miss. Tahiti, it was pretty cool to hear what she said. Can’t wait to have her again next year!

  28. Leo Bautista November 8, 2017 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Unfortunately I was not able to attend this event. I have seen that I have really missed out an opportunity to learn more about Polynesian culture. This article seems to have gone into detail on the event and I give thanks to The Feather for providing this article

  29. josh lindahl November 8, 2017 at 9:42 am - Reply

    We appreciate the coverage of this event Mademoiselle Kamryn. It is great to have these types of connections and we are excited to have connections with a sister city like this.I hope that we have another event like this next year.It was awsome to have Miss Tahiti come to this event for us.It was also awsome to have the mayor here who set up a student exchange program so we can learn more about the other cultures of the world.

  30. Erica November 8, 2017 at 9:42 am - Reply

    It was very nice of you, Mademoiselle Kamryn to attend this event and letting everyone know that there are still people who appreciate everything that the valley does. You doing this makes this a history in Fresno. events like this help us gather more visitors to out valley. Events like this help us get more excited events. events like this help other important people want to come to Fresno as well.

  31. Harleen Singh November 8, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    The Article was a well thought out piece, We appreciate you covering the aforementioned event. Hope you can cover it next year which might be a even bigger event. Where miss tenorere could be miss France.

  32. Natalie Gallegos November 8, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Having guests such as Miss Tahiti and the mayor of Chateâuroux in Fesno is a pleasure and is exciting. We very much appreciate you capturing details from this Luau into this article and hope to be able to see another interview with Turouru as Miss France 2018.

  33. Natalie Gallegos November 8, 2017 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Having guests such as Miss Tahiti and the mayor of Chateâuroux in Fresno is a pleasure and is exciting. We very much appreciate you capturing details from this Luau into this article and hope to be able to see another interview with Turouru as Miss France 2018.

  34. Eleanor (Gramma) November 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Kamryn you have a good interview and made it personable in the way you laughed along with them and put yourself in there and made it more than just asking the questions. You’re getting better. Cudos!

  35. Angela Lara Gonzalez November 8, 2017 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Hello or Bonjour Mademoiselle Kamryn, on behalf of the Central High students as well as myself, greatly appreciate the excellent coverage you were able to provide last Saturday’s luau. Personally I was not able to make it to the event, but with your exclusive interview of Miss Turouru , I was able to instantly feel the atmosphere and vibe of the whole event. We hope to see you next year at our next evening in Polynesia interviewing Miss France 2018.

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