Te Reo Tahiti


Tahitian Language Instructors includes: The teacher from the culture is Roiti Tehetu Sylva who has been intensely involved with Polynesian music and dance for over 40 years. She was a professional dancer and is now a recognized authority on Tahitian dance. She is a regular judge at dance and music competitions held in Hawaii and the annual San Jose Tahiti FÕte in California. She has held instructional workshops from Japan to California and Chicago plus Disney World and Sea World at Orlando, Florida. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the Polynesian lyrics when dancing and has been teaching Tahitian and Tuamotuan dance for some 30 years. She has been teaching in the UHM program for 12 years.

Prof. Jack H. Ward [Tihati] founded the Tahitian program at UHM nearly 20 years ago and has been working to develop it ever since. He first encountered Tahiti as a mate and navigator of a large sailing schooner over 40 years ago and became convinced that knowing the local language was essential to real understanding the people he met and the events he witnessed. To that end he has been trained in Pacific Anthropology [masters] and in general linguistics and southeast Asia studies[doctorate].

At the University of Hawaii, he has taught Hawaiian and was the first director of the Hawaiian Studies Program at UHM. However, his passion is for French Polynesia where he first conducted research in 1959-60. More recently, he spent two summers at the Acad»mie Tahitienne [Fare VanaŽa] in Tahiti developing teaching materials for the UHM program and was invited by the Fare VanaŽa to take part in two formal colloquia on Polynesian languages development. He has produced the text, lexicon and readers for the Tahitian program. He is a member of the graduate faculty of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at UHM and a regular visiting professor at the Universit» FranŃaise du Pacifique in Tahiti where he teaches Polynesian languages dialectology in the Reo MaŽohi [Polynesian languages and cultures program]. For his contribution to the development and preservation of Tahitian, he was the 1996 honoree at the Tahitian and Marquesan villages of the Polynesian Cultural Center at Laie, Hawaii.

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Last modified 13 November 2001
E-mail Prof. Ward at: jward@hawaii.edu