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Traditional Hawaiian Massage Comes To New Zealand

Hula Meets Haka: Traditional Hawaiian Massage Comes To New Zealand

Nancy Kahalewai, author of 'Hawaiian Lomilomi: Big Island Massage', will soon be in New Zealand for the first time, on a workshop and book tour from 2 to 9 November. Accompanying the author will be Mahealani Kuamo'o-Henry, a kumu Elele (messenger) and hula instructor specializing in 'ho‘oponopono' (body-mind-spirit alignment), Kamo‘i Henry, singer and ukulele player, (pictured left to right), LiAnn Uyeda, lomi practitioner and hula dancer, and nine haumana (students) and colleagues.

Experts in traditional Hawaiian massage and healing, they have been invited by several Maori elders and local practitioners of the therapy to give a series of talks and classes in Auckland and Taupo. The tour will include a cultural exchange of chants and stories between the Hawaiian heiau and the Aotearoa marae, as well as several evenings of traditional music and dance.

Lomilomi is an ancient indigenous practice in the Hawaiian Islands, and there is intense interest outside Hawaii for this art in its authentic, traditional form. Until now, New Zealanders have primarily been exposed to the "temple" style of lomi from the island of Kauai: a modern combination of ancient martial arts movements and contemporary massage strokes.

Hawaiian lomilomi is similar to European massage because of its kneading and gliding strokes, and to the Romi styles found in the South Pacific. It is a powerful tool for increasing circulation, soothing nerves, and loosening muscle tissue. But it is a very holistic practice; it also addresses energy levels by helping emotions and thoughts to be pono (righteous).

Every lomilomi practitioner works in the unique style of his or her kumu (teachers), usually as taught by their 'ohana (family). Although every teacher's style is different, all traditional kumu are humble, light-hearted, and believe in and practice: 1. Pule and Oli (prayer and chants) 2. Loving Touch (unconditional love and aloha) 3. Ho'oponopono (forgiveness; alignment; correcting old beliefs) 4. La'au Lapa'au (medicinal plants for cleansing and rejuvenation) 5. Taking full responsibility for one's own actions and choices 6. Internal cleansing.

The group will be at Goodeys Bookshop in Auckland Tuesday evening, 2 November, and Lake Taupo Spa Saturday, 6 November, 2004. These events are open to the public. For more, visit online.

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