Living Legends

From New Zealand to French Polynesia

Members of the Polynesian section of Living Legends perform at a joint service project at Te Fare Natura in Moorea.

On Monday, May 15, Living Legends spent their last day in New Zealand. After participating in the Weta Workshop experience in the morning, the remainder of the day was spent waiting in the airport and then flying to Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. When they arrived at the hotel around 3:00 a.m., some members of the group opted for a few hours of sleep, while others enjoyed the gorgeous pool. 

Thanks to crossing the international dateline the previous night, it was still May 15 when the group boarded the bus in the morning to visit the Faarumai Waterfalls and the Arahoho Blowhole. They spent a relaxing afternoon at Point Venus Beach and ended the day with a fun-filled young adult activity and devotional at the Papeete Stake Center.  

Living Legends visits the Papeete Tahiti Temple.

Living Legends had an exceptionally busy Tuesday. Tearii Te Moana Alpha, the mayor of Teva I Uta, hosted the group at an outreach activity with students at Mahaiatea School, provided a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, and arranged a tour of the Water Gardens Vaipahi. Despite the hectic schedule, the group still set up for and performed their show to a sold-out crowd in the chapiteau at Pointe Tehoro, on an outdoor stage festooned with tropical greenery that was constructed for the performance. 

Wednesday was another tightly scheduled day. Some members of the group performed three dance numbers on Polynésie la 1ère, a television channel that broadcasts throughout French Polynesia. The remainder of the group traveled to the Grand Théâtre in Papeete, where they began setting up for the final two shows of the tour. Following the final performance, community leaders presented the dancers with gifts and the audience joined in singing to the group while waving their cell phone flashlights to show appreciation. 

Living Legends students pose for a photo at the Faarumai Waterfalls in Tahiti.

BYU dancer Fernando Ramos describes a meaningful interaction he had with a young boy following the show: “I felt prompted to rip off one of the Caporales bells that was ready to fall off from my boots and hand it to him as a reminder of the show. As I handed it to him, his eyes lit up and he began shaking the bell really hard. He said something in French or Tahitian that I didn’t understand—but I understood that he was grateful and he would treasure that small gift. I was reminded through this experience that language barriers can be difficult to overcome, especially when you want to express your emotions to others. However, being able to find the one person who needs us to answer their prayers is possible through the help of the Spirit each and every day. I wish I could’ve understood the little boy, or all the people in Tahiti, but their eyes said everything I needed to understand.” 

After a busy week, the group spent their last two days in French Polynesia relaxing and sightseeing. On Thursday morning Living Legends arose early to take a ferry to Moorea, a beautiful island in French Polynesia known for its jagged volcanic mountains and gorgeous sandy beaches. The group spent a couple of hours at the beach after putting on an outreach performance at Te Fare Natura and participating in a service activity. Living Legends concluded their time in French Polynesia with a trip on Friday to the Papeete Tahiti Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a fitting way to encapsulate the love and memories they will forever cherish from their three weeks abroad.  

Living Legends students teach a Native American sweethearts dance to young adults from the Papeete Stake.

The audience gathers for the Living Legends performance in Teva I Uta.