PIR clubs work hard to represent their culture


Stefanie Wong

Members of the Temana Tahitian club prepare for PIR by making adornments with ti leaves.

By Stefanie Wong, Staff Writer

Every fall, Chaminade hosts the Pacific Island Review (PIR) on the Sullivan Family Library Lawn. Clubs from the school participate in PIR in order to show their hard work to their friends, family, and Chaminade community. Though this hard work may appear easy, few know what goes on behind the scenes.

This year, PIR was held on Oct. 21 with five of Chaminade’s clubs performing: Hawaiian Club, Marianas Club, Micronesian Club, Lumanaʻi O Samoa (LOS), and Temana Tahitian Club.

The clubs do more than a simple dance to any random song; it’s a representation of their intimate culture.

“PIR is an important tradition here at Chaminade, and being able to perform allows students to take time out of their busy schedules to just have fun and come together as one,” said Kahiau McKeague, Hawaiian club president. “Personally, I love being able to share my culture with others as well as enjoy the other Pacific Islander performances. As the host culture here in Hawaiʻi, we welcome everyone and emphasize the idea of the aloha spirit.”

The process to get ready for PIR is far more complicated than it may appear. These clubs start to practice as early as the first week of school. This can include self-made choreography, learning the dance moves, placements in the dance, music, and costume choice.

While some clubs make the early decision to purchase their outfits, other clubs go the traditional route and hand make each component of their attire. PIR is an important cultural event because it allows these diverse clubs to showcase a different culture to their fellow students, staff/faculty, and family.

“Oh definitely, it kind of brings all of the cultures together,” said Pohaikealoha Artates, a member of Temana Tahitian Club. “It just brings all of the cultures together and gets to see how different cultures can do the same thing.”

The members of Temana Tahitian Club spent the evenings prior to PIR making every single piece they would be wearing for the performance, from necklaces and head pieces, to using ti leaves for adornments. They were also dedicating time to practice on the Sullivan Family Library Lawn in order to ensure they not only knew the dance, but also knew their placement during the performance. Temana Tahitian was one of a few clubs that had to change their practice schedule as PIR drew closer.

“Throughout the semester, Hawaiian Club meetings were held every Monday and Wednesday, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. This week, we had practice every day to prepare for PIR. Usually, each practice will start off with doing hula basics and then we practice our PIR songs,” said McKeague. “Each semester, we choose a theme for the club and this year for PIR, we are honoring the aliʻi or rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Along with preparing the dances, we also design our costumes to be symbolic of the theme or era that we are portraying.”

A lot more than just dancing goes into consideration at PIR and the student dancers have shown that practice and hard work can really make an impact on the Chaminade Ohana.

While PIR has come to a close for the year, students and attendees have Extravaganza to look forward to in the spring.