'Living Legends' performance group tour Aotearoa and Tahiti

By Mare Haimona-Riki
Photo / Supplied

Living Legends is a touring group that celebrates Polynesian (including Māori), Latin American and Native American cultures through song and dance.

The performers are 30 students from BYU Provo, a college sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Artistic director Jamie Kalama Wood says that for them to be here in Aotearoa is important because part of their performance includes kapa haka.

“It's important for us to return to the homeland of the cultures that we perform.”

Kalama Wood emphasised that the name of the show comes from the fact that they believe that indigenous culture is not “dead and gone” but “relevant and flourishing.”

“The legends are our ancestors and the living part are our students… The fact that our stories and culture are alive and well."

Karly Nikora, of Ngāti Kahungunu, is a member of the group and was raised primarily in Lā’ie Hawaii.  

“I haven't had a lot of training in Māoii culture and performing arts,” she says.

"But I owe it a lot to my mentors and teachers at the Polynesian Cultural Centre who have given me the knowledge and preparation that I missed out on for most of my life.”

BYU Living Legends shows:

  • Aotea Centre, Auckland on Friday, 5 May 2023, 7:30 pm
  • Westlake Girls High School, Auckland on Saturday, 6 May 2023, 7:30 pm
  • Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton on Tuesday, 9 May 2023, 6:00 pm & 8:30 pm
  • Napier Municipal Theatre on Thursday, 11 May 2023, 6:00 pm & 8:30 pm
  • Wellington Opera House on Saturday, 13 May 2023, 7:00 pm
  • Le Chapiteau de la Marina, Pointe Tehoro, Tahiti, 16 May 2023, 6:00pm