The Heiva Tu’aro Mā’ohi is scheduled this year on 12, 13, 14 and 26 July in the gardens of the Museum of Tahiti and her Islands, at Paofai Gardens and Point Venus. Like every year, this is THE event for which the Amuitahiraa Tu’aro Mā’ohi Federation (ATMF) convenes the athletes from Tahiti and the five island groups, our people and our visitors. For an athlete, participating in the Heiva Tu’aro Mā’ohi, is already a wonderful reward.
Associations, volunteers, sports people and members of the ATMF Board of Directors, exert every year amazing efforts of imagination, training, rigour, or even diplomacy for this event to take place, in spite of the various obstacles, in particular, financial ones, that hinder our will and hamper our enthusiasm. And yet, we always make it in the end, and every year, against all odds, the Heiva Tu’aro Mā’ohi takes place.
I would like here to praise the understanding and support of the public authorities, which, in spite of the current difficult times, have always understood our approach and done their best through the assistance of the local Government by way of subsidies and logistical support. After years of reservation and prudence, the private sector seems to be willing, this year, to be back by our sides.
The Heiva Tu’aro Mā’ohi, as part of the championship in the annual schedule, also part of Matari’i i Ni’a and other one-off events, in a way crowns an approach that was intended right from the beginning by ATMF. This consists in safeguarding what we consider to be an integral part of our heritage. And, modestly, we, athletes, associations from Tahiti and from all the island groups of French Polynesia, we work so that traditional sports survive, last in the future and be passed on. We do not want the heritage of our ancestors to be lost into oblivion.
And we are quite proud to have taken up this challenge and to have achieved it. The Heiva Tu’aro Mā’ohi 2014 is indeed under the most favourable auspices since we expect not less than 500 athletes and 3,500 spectators, among whom many tourists, for every single day. The evidence is clear that with will, sharing, conviviality and unity, adversity is beaten by success.
AFTM, through its activities, share a characteristic with just another sports federation; the Va’a Federation. Indeed, we are the only ones to be able to claim that we represent the world of sport in its cultural dimension. The training hours of the stone lifter, the strides of the fruit carrier, the agility of the climber, the sharp sight of the javelin thrower, the control of winds by the Va’a Taie (sail canoe) helmsman are physical feats, and therefore sports feats. But they are also, in this globalised 21st Century, a reminder of our origins, the affirmation of our identity, and a fraternal message over the ages, sent by our Tupuna, our ancestors.
It is a pleasure and honour for us to share these values with you. Come and join us during the four days of HEIVA TU’ARO MA’OHI 2014.
President of Amuitahiraa Tu’aro Mā’ohi Federation