Fire walking or umu ti opens the festivities with splendor at Mahana Park. Organized by the tahua Raymond Teriierooiterai Graffe, this authentic ceremony has been preceding the Heiva for more than 60 years and brings together hundreds of spectators fascinated by the intensity of this ancestral moment.
The umu ti requires a long preparation: after digging a cavity deep enough to accommodate wood and stones, the pit is then filled with wood and rocks from the Papeno’o valley, set on a bed of dry coconut-tree palm leaves. Depending on the thickness of the wood, it is necessary to wait 24 to 48 hours for the umu ti to be ready.
When evening comes, and after a ceremonial that belong only to the tahua, the ritual begins with incantations. Instructions are given to the public, and then volunteers are invited to follow the priest on heated stones whose surface temperature can exceed 2000° Celsius. This moment virtually suspended in time will leave each participant with a special and unforgettable sensation.