Join us at our Mana of the Pacific Luau and enjoy live Pacific Island performances from Heilani and our very own UQ South Pacific Islander Association (UQSPIA) whilst feasting on a delicious traditional Maori Hangi feast, Samoan Desserts and a complimentary Tongan Mango O'tai. 

Tickets for the Luau are on sale now!
Ticket Prices:

Students $12
Community $25
Children (ages 3-12) $8
infants (ages 0-2 - must share seat with parent) Free


Maori Hangi 

Māori people believe that the earth is the giver of all life. From the soil, the rivers and sea comes kai (food), and that kai is again cooked by nature; either beneath the earth (hāngī) or with geothermal energy from hot springs. 

A traditional Māori cooking technique, hāngī loosely translates to ‘earth oven’. A hole is dug into the earth, and hot stones are placed at the bottom. Traditionally, kai was then wrapped in leaves, placed on top of the stones and covered with soil to cook for three to four hours.

A modern hāngī is much the same but instead of using leaves, it is likely that the kai will be covered in cloth and placed in aluminium foil and wire baskets atop the hot stones. 

The soil used to cover the hāngī traps the heat around the kai, this combined with the long cooking time results in tender, off-the-bone meat and delicious vegetables infused with a smokey, earthy fragrance.

Tongan Mango Otai’

Nothing beats the summer heat better than a refreshing cup of Otai’! Originating from Tonga, Otai’ is typically made from a combination of tropical fruits, coconut milk and water. The most commonly prepared versions of Otai’ use European-introduced fruits such as watermelon (“Vai Meleni”), mango (“Vai Mago”) and pineapple (“Vai Fai Na”).


Samoan Desserts

Pani Popo
As coconuts are plentiful on the islands, coconut milk/cream is commonly used in many samoan desserts. Coconuts are used in the traditional dessert Pani Popo which is commonly known as Coconut Cream buns. Pani Popo is made by hand-shaping round buns and baking them in coconut cream to absorb that coconut flavour. 
Fa’ausi is a native dish of Samoa, traditionally made using taro, coconut juice and caramelised sugar (made over hot rocks). Modern Fa’ausi, is commonly, made using pumpkin or pawpaw instead of taro.  Fa’ausi is made by baking the ingredients into a flat cake and drizzling the cake with coconut caramel sauce. 
Pai Fala 
In Samoa, fresh pineapples are naturally very sweet and commonly found in many traditional pacific desserts. Pai Fala also known as Pineapple Pie, is a very popular dish at family gatherings and special occasions. It consists of 3 layers – sweet shortcrust pastry, filled with pineapple custard, topped with fresh whipped cream and peaches.

Puligi was inherited from the English during New Zealand’s occupation of Samoa early last century and adapted to include coconut cream.  The dessert consists of coconut flavoured steamed pudding, caramelised sugar and custard or butter.


Performance Description


Proudly representing the Polynesian Islands.

Conch Shell Welcome
The conch shell is used as a welcome to the beautiful Pacific islands.

Tahitian Celebration Dance 
Tahitian dance celebrates the resilience of Polynesian culture. Heilani’s Tahitian welcome to the island performance features exciting, energetic and lively moves to the beat of the drums of Tahiti. 

Hawaiian Hula Dance
Hula is the storytelling dance of the Hawaiian Islands, told with grace and beauty. Heilani will perform a Hawaiian implement medley and give audience members the chance to learn how to Hula.

Samoan Siva Show 
Siva is the Samoan word for dance and the Samoan Siva is a dance of grace expressed through hand and arm movements. Heilani’s performance will explore the traditional Samoan dances Taualuga, Sasa and Ma’ulu’ulu.

Maori Dance Show - Poi & Haka
Traditionally the Poi was used as a strengthening tool to prepare for battle. In its more contemporary form, Poi is used in dance to convey a narrative using a sense of grace, beauty and charm. The Haka is a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity. In its traditional form, the haka was a war dance performed on the battlefield by fierce warriors and when groups came together in peace. 

Polynesian Finale
The Heilani finale performance will feature dancers from all of the Pacific Islands in an extravangant end to the show. 


UQ South Pacific Islander Association (UQSPIA)

Proudly representing the Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian Islands.

Rotuma, an abundant island within Melanesia, is located just off the shores of the beautiful island Fiji. With ancestors hailing from the islands of Polynesia, their dance is heavily influenced by those islands within the Pacific. The movements performed through dance along with their cultural attire tell the tales of their songs and stories.

Known as the ‘Rock of Polynesia’, the small nation of Niue is one of the worlds largest coral islands. The Niuean dances depict the lives of its people and their deep cultural connection to the land through the Gods. One such God is ‘Tagaloa’, the sun God that resides over Niue and its people.

Kiribati Rabi
The beautiful Micronesian island of Kiribati is one that is very unique, even to the Pacific. Unlike most of the Pasefika islands, Kiribati’s style of dance is rigid yet smooth, fast yet calm. Such gestures are to represent Kiribati’s national animal, the Frigate, a majestic bird of the Kiribati islands. Its people mimic a bird ready to take flight through dance. With this, the people of Kiribati are ready for any adversity, and strong enough to conquer all trials and tribulations they face.

Solomon Islands
This Solomon Islands dance is called Sale Olo and is from the Province of Isabel. Performed to the sweet sound of panpipes and rattles, or “sesele” as we call them, this type of dance is usually performed in times of celebration. The boys carry kodopekos, and the girls baus, both used in dancing after the introduction of Christianity to Isabel.




About Mana of the Pacific

The South Pacific Island Association (UQSPIA) in collaboration with UQlife bring you 'Mana of the Pacific', a cultural celebration of all pacific islander peoples past and present. Immerse yourself in their stories, music, traditions and arts and crafts during the day then attend a spectacular traditional feast and live show in the evening. The first half of the day will be free and open to all, but tickets must be purchased for the Luau (dinner and show) if you wish to attend. This is a day not to be missed!


Time Activity Location

Main Stage
Opening prayer and welcome
Pasific Climate Warriors
Pasifica Combined Associations Performance
Live Music

Great Court
12-1pm Living Book Series: Tales of the Pacific Schonell Theatre

Pacific Island Workshops
Maori Workshops (Tipare and Ta moko)
Vaka Workshop
Weaving Workshop
Pare Ei Workshop 

Great Court
1-2.30pm Film Screening of VAI (2019) Schonell Theatre
2.30-3.30pm VAI Panel Discussion  Schonell Theatre
4-5.30pm  Second Film Screening of VAI Schonell Theatre

Mana of the Pacific Luau (Dinner and Show)
Traditional celebration feast and live show
(Ticketed event - $12 Students, $25 Community)

Great Court
Students $12, UQ Community $25, Children (3-12) $8, Infants (0-2) Free


Great Court
Welcome Hub