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Scarce materials means costumes imported from Hawaii

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, June 30, 2009) – Traditional dance groups say they have trouble making vegetal costumes in Tahiti. They have to import them from Hawaii and taxes for these products are too high, they claimed.

A few days before the beginning of the Heiva I Tahiti and the traditional songs and dances contest held each year in July, leaders of traditional dance groups said costumes' prices are too expensive.

"We just cannot find the vegetals needed for costumes in Tahiti", Marguerite Lai, from the O Tahiti E dance group said.

She recalled that back in the 1960's Hawaiian dance groups were using imports coming from Tahiti for their costumes.

It is now the other way around. Furthermore, Hawaii now exports its products to Japan - where there are more than 1,000 dance groups - and California, Lai added.

Quality products cannot be found anymore [in] Tahiti and they are costly too, the dance group leader said.

For the Heiva contest, about 4,000 costumes are imported from Hawaii.

The O Tahiti E dance group imports 130 costumes for the Heiva and the total cost of it - US$ 13,942/ € 10,000 - is similar to the public financial aid received for the contest.

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