This post is a document of the Lukao Fuha ceremony held in Aotearoa in 2017.
I Moving Lab's Lukao Fuha | Hikoi Piha brings Matao cultural exchange to local village
The Matao (Chamorro) New Year was celebrated in Piha, Aotearoa (New Zealand) for the first time, by travelling artist Dakota (from Mongmong, Tomhom, Hagå’ña) who organized a guided walk from Piha Store to the iconic Lion Rock (known to Māori as Whakaari).
A co-founder of I Moving Lab (Indigenous & Interdisciplinary arts company), Camacho was inspired by efforts to revitalize the ancient procession to Fuha Rock in Guåhan. He has been instrumental in bringing the celebration to Duwamish Territory (Seattle) and Lenapehoking (New York).
"Lukao Fuha represents a deepening spiritual healing for our community," says Camacho. ”We're reclaiming the sacred life ways of our ancestors to support our wellbeing and that of our families, lands, and relationships”
Adapting to the multicultural way of life in Aotearoa, the event was translated into the Māori language as Hikoi Piha (a walk to Piha). Expanding indigenous consciousness around the world, the event drew a crowd of locals and other Aucklanders to experience this popular summer destination in a new cultural context. “The I Moving Lab collaboration with the Piha Store gave us a new insight into our work space as well as being warmly received by locals and visitors alike.” Peter Chapman, owner of the Piha Store adds, “A truly inspiring opportunity we are grateful to be a part of.”
The audience arrived to find a 30-minute installation detailing I Moving Lab's recent works in Aotearoa and a mini-documentary of Matao New Performance Project's performance process for the Festival of the Pacific Arts 2016.
The event also celebrated the spiritual release of Dakota's first full-length album Na’lå'la' (Give Life). "I wanted to release my album on this date to honor our ancestral new year" he says, "And to create an opportunity to align our awareness with the kåna (spiritual energy) of the moon's movements."
Dakota guided the group through Piha while rapping music off his album, stopping to tell the creation story at a sacred site to local tribe Te Kauwerau-A-Maki, which also resembles Lasso' Fuha, the creation rock located in Humåtak, in shape and form.
After a brief ceremony where Dakota taught a chant in fino' håya (the indigenous language of Guåhan) as the dance company members interwove site-specific performances of works created in Guåhan, Lenapehoking (NYC), Australia, and Aotearoa.
"The works honored the dancers genealogy while drawing attention to the story of Pontan and Fo'na," I Moving Lab's Jack Gray said about choreographing the walk, "and demonstrating a palpable relationship to the natural elements such as the shadow cast by the giant rock, the wind that cut through, and the warmth of the sand as the sun set.”
As the group moved throughout the village, interested passerbys became apart of the festivities drawn in by positive vibes and surprising mix of contemporary dance and multi-lingual rapping.
"We were fortunate that Piha is a very small and tight-knit arts community with a great appreciation of culture and taking care of their environment" Gray said, "It seemed as if everyone received something new from the experience. For some, it was the uniqueness of the ceremony, for others it was the re-iteration of our own cultural values as the people of Aotearoa."
Dakota has organized Lukao Fuha for the past three years in Duwamish Territory (Seattle) & Lenapehoking (NYC). "This ceremony is a great way for our people to build relationships with other indigenous peoples and be inspired to see the creative potential within our cultural worldview," said Dakota.
Lukao Fuha is part of Jack and Dakota's sustained effort to bring connection between Matao (Chamorro) and Māori as demonstrated in the Matao New Performance Project in Guåhan and Gupot Sumongsong at Mangere Arts Centre hosted by Urbanesia 2015.
As I Moving Lab prepares to tour New Zealand with their mix of Chamorro hip hop and contemporary dance, Lukao Fuha signaled more good things to come. "It was way more successful than we thought it would be with a maximum capacity attendance with people of all walks of life," Gray said, "I definitely think it could happen again."