The PNA Office in Majuro announced winners for this year’s “Smart Tuna – Smart Ocean” Talent Quest 2018 — with a Majuro band taking the $3,000 top prize for the first time in the seven-year-old PNA contest.
Winning first place is “Our Waters,” a song by Majuro band Diversity Music. It’s a lively tune with an island feel that includes a bit of rap and cautions, “Rude boy don’t be stingy on these island waters.” Later it admonishes the listener to “Put our minds to conservation, This for our future generation.” Rapper and vocalist Alex Aruhane saw PNA’s ad in the newspaper and went to his band mates, asking them if they’d be interested in entering. That night they collaborated on the lyrics and put the piece together.
Diversity Music boasts a mixed background ranging from Marshallese, i-Kiribati, Tuvaluan, American, Samoan and Solomon Islander. So while they all live in Majuro, they represent a large part of the Pacific region.
The four members, Kristofer Person, Alex Aruhane, Chris Uesi, and Fuisega Sualau, received their $3,000 check at the RMI’s festivities on World Tuna Day — May 2 — where the crowd enjoyed hearing their song live.
PNA also honored two runners up. One of these prizes goes to Majuro Cooperative School’s fifth grade class for their rendition of Tony Mullen’s song, “Smart Tuna – Smart Ocean.” Nicoline Nel, fifth grade teacher, and music teacher, Yoora Lee, taught and guided the students.
The other is awarded to Aravapo Leo, a Papua New Guinea artist for his painting, “Mougwa,” which means “skipjack tuna” in Kiriwina, the language of the Trobriand islanders of Papua New Guinea.
Because two Majuro eighth grade students, Yale Kramer and Xavier Williams, also impressed PNA with their documentary film titled “Smart Tuna – Smart Ocean,” they are awarded a special mention prize of $200.
To see and hear this year’s winners, visit PNA on Facebook and on their website: www.pnatuna.com.
Read more about this in the May 4, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.