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Conflict at kapa haka... and more rain

Report #5 from LOOP correspondent Sarah Hunter, in Noumea with the New Zealand Pacific Island delegation for the Pacific Festival of Arts.

For the kapa haka showing, the crowd was intense. The performance is on the ground, and seating is on a first-in/best-view stylee. Heaps of Kanak there – they are smart, and climb the trees for a view and clamber on tables and chairs – plus the usual array of European tourists and Festival groupies and members of other Pacific delegations.

The Maori performance was delayed an hour, so it was getting on past 9.30pm when they went up.

French announcements for the crowd to move back got the mood close to riot mode as people down the back yelled at people in front and French TV camerafolk (who have official rights to the Festival) place themselves, tripod, camera and sound in front of different sections of the crowd who are sitting down.

One American photographer completely lost it and was yelling "fuck off, fuck off" at the top of his lungs at the French camera crew – who moved!

Today's action has consisted of being trapped by the pouring rain at the CPS Centre which is pretty flash, and there was a selection of foods from Tahitians, Fijians and Kanaks on a verandah to one side of the centre: raw fish salad, chop suey, salads, taro, cakes, cassava and coffee to go. The rain came down in buckets, and rumours spread that the forecast is rain for next three days which is all there is left of the festival.

Went for a walk in the midst of the downpour to suss out some photos which will contrast the previous blue sky look. The village was awash and most groups had cleared out from their fale. Kanak carvers, Aussie fale and Fijians about the only ones still there. So, heaps of performances cancelled.

Lemi from the MAU dance company was most pained by the rains. He's due for a dress rehearsal and tech run this evening for his show which will be outside among the elements on a beach in front of the amazing Tjibaou Centre (the architecture is stunning – the vision of an Italian architect).

The Fijians in the fale promised to pray that the rain will stop so they can go ahead with the show – bula vinaka to them.

Te Aurere, the waka from Aotearoa, is due to arrive tonight. They left NZ late because of bad weather but seem to have made good progress.

That's all for now... hanging loose. As I write the rain is holding back, so fingers and toes crossed.

© Scoop Media

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