JOSEPH CADOUSTEAU WINS 1ST WORLD FIREKNIFE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE AT THE POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER
Cadousteau the 1st Champion from Tahiti and Also Member of Duo Who Won Group Competition
Laie, Hawaii – May 12, 2012 – In a fiery, adrenaline fueled four-night battle, it was finals veteran Joseph Cadousteau who reined supreme as the 20th Annual World Fireknife Championship culminated at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). This was Cadousteau’s first title, previously he earned 2nd place in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, as well as 3rd place in 2008.
“I’m so happy and honored to be named the winner in this 20th anniversary year of the World Fireknife Championship,” said Cadousteau, “It feels like a dream and I don’t want to wake up.”
The 32-year-old is the first champion from Tahiti and bested a four-time champion in Mikaele Oloa and defending champion Viavia “VJ” Tiumalu. Cadousteau also teamed up with Cirque Du Soleil performer Micah Naruo in a superbly choreographed routine to win this year’s group competition, this is the first time someone has held both titles simultaneously.
“In the two decades that we’ve held the World Fireknife Championship, this, in my opinion, was the best year we’ve ever had. The level of talent alone was extraordinary, we had a Cirque Du Soleil performer, multiple Disney performers and four past World Fireknife Champions all enter this year,” said Vice President of Operations Logo Apelu, “The best in the world were truly on display this week.”
For the first time in the competitions history family members, friends and fans from around the globe were able to view every breathtaking performance through PCC’s live stream on Worldfireknife.com. Also new this year was the “People’s Choice Award” which allowed fans to vote for their favorite of the three finalists. The inaugural award went to Mikaele Oloa.
“The live stream was something we had never done before with any of our festivals. Due to the tremendous response we’ve gotten, we’re now planning to live stream all of our cultural events, including this summer’s Te Mahana Hiroa O Tahiti festival and the Te Manahua Maori festival,” said Raymond Magalei, PCC’s director of marketing.
The modern fireknife dance stems from the Samoan ailao, a warrior's knife dance performed with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.” This dance was displayed before battle to frighten the enemy and, afterwards, to celebrate victory. Today, the art of fireknife has become one of the most intense, skillful and beautiful of Samoan traditions. The modern version consists of spinning a sharp knife with both ends ablaze at high speeds, and requires acute precision and acrobatic finesse. The fire is very real, and dancers often, and sometimes intentionally, make contact with the flames.
Competitors were judged on specific criteria including the vili tasi (one hand spin) and vili lua (two hand spin), among others. A full list of criteria can be found in the “Judging” tab of WorldFireknife.com. The “People’s Choice Award” was not be based on the same criteria and is awarded purely on fan voting.
1. Joseph Cadousteau, 32, of Papeete, Tahiti. (Cadousteau earned 2nd place in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, as well as 3rd place in 2008.)
2. Mikaele Oloa, 22, formerly of Florida who now lives in Waialua, Hawaii (Oloa won the title in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 and earned 2nd place in 2008. He also earned 1st place in the Open Group Division in 2008.)
3. Viavia “VJ” Tiumalu, 20, of Orlando, Florida (Tiumalu won the championship in 2011 and 2008).
Junior Pacific Division
1. KJ Ahloy, Laie, Hawaii
2. Kekoa Lagunte, Waialua, Hawaii
3. Jonathon Fiu, Kahuku, Hawaii
1. Preston Weber, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
2. Hale Motuakuaka, Aiea, Hawaii
3. Achilles Tafiti, Laie, Hawaii
1. Joseph Cadousteau and Micah Naruo
2. KJ Ahloy, Quest Ava, Malik Ava and Alex Galeai
3. Chandae Ava, Aaliyah Ava and Jeralee Galeai
We Are Samoa High School Cultural Arts Festival
In addition to the fireknife championship, the PCC also hosted the annual We Are Samoa High School Cultural Arts Festival today. The festival was founded by O’Brian Eselu as a venue to celebrate friendship and promote continued education of the Samoan culture among high school students and to exhibit their knowledge in an array of cultural arts, games, songs and dances of Samoa.
The Pacific Theater echoed with the sounds of music, singing and cheering in celebration. Students showed off their teamwork, going head-to-head in a variety of games based on daily Samoan life skills such as coconut husking, fire making and basket weaving. More than 250 students participated in this year’s festival, including students from Kailua High School, Kapolei High School (joined by students from Waianae High School), Waipahu High School (joined by students from Pearl City), Kahuku High School, Radford High School (joined by students from Aiea, Iolani, Kamehameha, Mililani and Punahou) and Castle High School.
The day culminated with a series of cultural dances, including the sasa (sitting dance) and mauluulu (girls dance). The highlight of each performance was the taupou or princess dance. Although the event focuses on traditional Samoan practices, students added their own modern flair.
The 20th Annual World Fireknife Championship and We Are Samoa High School Cultural Arts Festival are sponsored by Henry S. Mataalii and Company, Turtle Bay Resort, Edwards Enterprises, Pepsi and Galumalemana Lester W.B. Moore.
For more information about the Polynesian Cultural Center, call the ticket office toll-free at (800) 367-7060 or visit Polynesia.com. On Oahu, call (808) 293-3333.
Founded in 1963 as a non-profit organization, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has entertained more than 36 million visitors, while preserving and portraying the culture, arts and crafts of Polynesia to the rest of the world. In addition, the PCC has provided financial assistance to nearly 17,000 young people from more than 70 different countries while they attend Brigham Young University-Hawaii. As a non-profit organization, 100 percent of PCC’s revenue is used for daily operations and to support education.