PIR Week Continues With Kalapu Tonga


Albert Respicio

Kalapu Tonga dance during the 2021 Pacific Island Review.

Chaminade’s second day of Pacific Island Review began Wednesday with a live performance by several women of Kalapu Tonga who provided a live traditional Tongan dance and a free meal for everyone who attended.

Taking place throughout the lunch hour, Chaminade students and staff gathered at the Sullivan Library Lawn to watch and experience a bit of Tongan culture in the new normal.

“A lot of people don’t run into Tongans,” said club president Angelica Tangatailoa. “It’s awesome to be given the opportunity to students who come to Chaminade … [to show] a little taste of what our culture is so the next time they run into Tongans, they are kind of familiar about what we’re about so they can have that connection with those they meet in the future.”

Tangatailoa, a junior double majoring in Criminal Justice and Business Administration, has been with the club since her freshman year and performed with the club in 2019, the last time PIR was a single-day event before the pandemic. Unlike previous years, Wednesday’s lunch time event began with a reminder to keep masks on and that the sign-in would also be used as contact tracing in the event of an outbreak with an estimated 30-40 students and staff in attendance.

“It kind of felt like we’re going back to normal,” said Tangatailoa. “Like the world kind of wants us to, and although everyone had their masks I feel like we could still feel the support of everyone there.”

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, PIR was often held on Friday after midterms. However, Covid changed the structure for PIR and spread the events throughout the week. Former CSGA president, Eddie Adachi, returning for one last semester in Environmental Science, said that it “is just as great as it was in those one-night features.”

“In the past, it was really fun too because we could come together in one night and celebrate with food, music, dance, [and] stories,” said Adachi. “Those were always fun, but due to the pandemic and having to shift and pivot, I think PIR now is just as great as it was in those one-night features. I think in comparison to the past PIRs, having a week-long event has allowed clubs to go more in-depth into their cultures.”

There are also students going to PIR for the first time and have only experienced it in the weeklong format like Psychology major Alexander Hernandez.

“I like seeing everyone here and showing everyone’s different cultures,” said Hernandez, a sophomore. “Especially seeing some from Guam, it was nice, like a reminder of home, but then also learning about everyone else like the Tongan Club did really good in their performance.”

Hernandez also plans on making it to other events “if [he’s] not in class or [has] the time.”

The weeklong event can also prove to be a challenge to attend for some students who have obligations outside of campus.

“I was able to go on Monday, [and] I’m going to go to the one [Wednesday night],” said Peyton Oshiro, a junior in Business Administration. “I have my own schedule, and I’m able to go [Wednesday night] and [Thursday] just because I’m off work.”

Wednesday night also featured Chaminade’s Lumana’i O Samoa who had performances, food, and games for those that attended that was also on the Sullivan Library Lawn. Filipino Club is set to follow on Thursday with a cooking demonstration at 4 p.m. at Zuberano lawn.

Although it can be difficult for students to show up to all of the events offered throughout PIR because of the pandemic, it is still an opportunity to bring the Chaminade community together to celebrate our different cultures.

“I think it’s very unique to Chaminade,” said Oshiro. “I don’t hear other schools kind of shining light on these groups and whatnot, or there’s not a lot of people celebrating the different cultures and so I think that’s really cool because it just shows our diversity as an institution.”