November 20, 2018
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
LandPaths connects people to protected land Cotati allows second dispensary Station Avenue gets final approval Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Election projected winners November 6, 2018 Woman stabbed on west side of RP RP Foundation issues grant Titans crush Mustangs  Cougars blow past Gauchos  CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute The Community Voice endorses candidates Cougars crush Ukiah School board candidates voice opinions State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park Rancho crushes Analy A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Rohnert Park City Council Candidates Summit State Bank annual report Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site Scrappers Steal Win Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ New interim superintendent Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cardinals rout Cougars How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit

  • Photo by Jane Peleti

By: J.C. Newman
September 7, 2018

The Polynesian lifestyle is what many dream of when letting go of their Pilikia. But if you have the Pōmaika’i to live in or near Sonoma County you may have attended the Rohnert Park Warriors Pacific Islanders Festival and set aside your troubles a little nearer to home. For the past eight years the Warriors luau has celebrated Polynesian food, dance and art in true island tradition. The festival is a fundraiser for the non-profit Warriors Youth Football and Cheering organization. Funds raised go towards insurance, park rentals, rental of Rancho Cotate field for home games, gear replacement and scholarships for families without funding.

“It’s amazing how many people have embraced the festival,” said Raquel Kilmarten, fundraising director for the annual event.  “Its been a great contribution to community.  One woman came from Quincy to see the [Rohnert Park] festival.” 

Kilmarten is no Haole to Pacific Islander traditions. Her husband is of Samoan ancestry and she had attended many such events before becoming involved with the Warriors festival. Her connection with the Pacific Island festival circuit simplified finding vendors who could put Rohnert Park’s festival into their schedules. 

Pacific island festivals are popular family events in the region, no fewer than six including Rohnert Park, all who coordinate their event dates so as to not conflict with each other. Despite the number of this style festival, the Koas festival gets bigger every year. And it is Manuahi for attendees, made possible because of the volunteer network in place and the vendors who pay a booth fee to sell food and drinks. This year’s Mea hoʻohauʻoli included; the Junior Wellspring Church Santa Rosa who cooked and danced, Poti aka DJ Five O, O Hina’aro Nui, Faith Thompson Ako and Taimalietane Islands of Polynesia. Also, at the festival were ‘ono authentic Polynesian food.

Yet the festival is more than a fundraiser, it is a networking venue for community members where community organizations can attend and provide information to the public.

“We give the opportunity for other organizations to share information about their programs for Asian Pacific students, as well as all students,” said Kilmarten, who started with the festival in 2010 as a field project for a degree in Public Administration at University of San Francisco. 

“It was when the economy was getting bad and people were getting laid off,” she remembers. “[At that time] parents would receive tickets to sell but usually would buy them themselves.”

“We were trying to keep it free so anyone can enjoy it,” Kilmarten refers to Tracey Poueu-Guerrero, who has been the kahuna of the festival from its inception in 2007 until just this July. Together they had their own version of the epiphany: If you build it they will come. They decided, if people could volunteer instead buying, they will. And they were right. Parents have been volunteering every year and eight years later it remains a free event for community. And with Pōmaika’i the festival will continue making ‘ohanas feel hau’ oli for years to come.

Haole- a foreigner; Hau’ oli- Happy, glad, joy; Hō‘ike- show, display; Kahuna- expert; Kaikaina – sister; Kālā- money; Koas- Warriors; Kōkua- help, assistance; Manuahi- free; Mea hoʻohauʻoli- entertainment; ‘Ohana- family; ‘Ono- delicious; Pilikia- troubles; Pōmaika`i- good fortune.

Terms compliments of:,