Dancers Surprise Hawaii Hikers With Emotional Ritual At Sunrise

lanikai sunrise

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Hikers who climbed the Lanikai Pillbox Trail on the Big Island of Hawaii this past Saturday to watch the sunrise were met with something even more intense than those glorious colors: A group of Polynesian dancers performing a powerful haka.

The Huffington Post reports that Gee Tuitele-Martin, Jacksmith Tanuvasa and Iosua Manumā did the haka, which is an ancient Maori war dance often performed in modern times to honor a person or express collective emotion, in order to commemorate their former dance teacher, Val Jeremiah, who recently passed away.

Johnny Lasalo, who filmed the video which can be seen on his Facebook page here, told the publication that “they gathered on the concrete fort at the top of the trail, which overlooks Oahu’s eastern shore, to bring in the new sun by having a spiritual haka.

“Welcome the sun,” Lasalo wrote in the video’s caption. “The reset button to clear our minds on this Saturday morning.”

One of the dancers in the video, Tuitele-Martin said, “Performing this specific haka is humbling. Aunty Val’s [maiden] name, which is Ratapu … translates to ‘Sunday’ or ‘Sacred Sun,'” in Maori.

“To do this haka at sunrise was only appropriate to remember Aunty Val.”

“It felt great and really shook everyone who could hear us,” Lasalo added. “The bystanders were amazed and confused but were silent after the haka was done. No one made a sound and everyone just sat there for about five [minutes] enjoying the silence.”