The newly formed Hawaiian Social Club is extending an aloha to all Northlanders interested in learning just about anything the island nation offers, including its history, culture and food.
Professional hula dancer Taramati Chanel and her husband, Sidney Quintal, are behind moves to establish the club which had its first meeting in Whangarei last month and attracted 15 people from all walks of life. Interestingly, they are not aware of any fellow Hawaiians living in Northland.
The couple moved from Hawaii to Whangarei five years ago and tried to find a social club in the North Island to join but were unsuccessful.
Their efforts paid off after they began fielding inquiries about Hawaii culture and tradition through Ms Chanel teaching people hula dancing in Whangarei. She then suggested the formation of the Hawaiian Social Club.
"Our goal is to promote Hawaiian culture and that includes music, dance, food and story-telling in an informal social set-up because we feel the kinship and energy to be able to do so," Mr Quintal said.
He said the club's vision was to set up a Hawaiian village at the Northland Pacifika Fusion Festival at Whangarei's Hihiaua Peninsula which is normally held in February.
Mr Quintal said the club could also organise a day-excursion to see master waka builder Hekenukumai Puhipi (Hec) Busby from Aurere restore the Te Aurere which sailed from Aotearoa to Rapa Nui or Easter Island.
Membership to the club is free and those interested can contact Mr Quintal on 09 436 2332. The club meets on the third Sunday of every month, from 1pm to 4pm, at the Salvation Army Hall on Aubrey St in Whangarei.
Mr Quintal was a businessman in Hawaii for 25 years before he joined the City and County of Honolulu. Ms Chanel has had an extensive career as a model, fashion show producer and Polynesian dancer.