October sees a wave of Pacific Island-inspired events wash over the capital. 250 years after Captain Cook’s first voyage to Oceania in 1768, it’s a chance to discover the ancient histories and arts of this region that existed before the encounter and learn the impact it’s had since.
It’s a history that’s transformed over the past 250 years, expressed through intricate arts and craft techniques, from wood carving and weaving, to Polynesian dancing where each islands’ unique and richly narrative approach helps to bring the traditions of the past back to life.
Following on from September’s London Pacific Fashion Week, several BBC series exploring the Pacific including Oceans Apart, and the Royal Academy of Arts opening of the Oceania exhibition, the focus on this region continues into October. From New Zealand to Papua New Guinea, Tahiti to Hawaii, these events bring the other side of the world a little bit closer to London.
Here are our top picks of Oceania-infused events coming up in London.
Faaho’i at Laki Kane (13th Oct)
“Set sail on a voyage of discovery…” with an afternoon of Hawaiian hula and ori Tahiti dancing courtesy of London School of Hula and Ori, AKA London Hula. Taking place at Islington’s newest tiki bar, Laki Kane, created by Mahiki ex-manager and the man behind the Spirit of Tiki festivals, it’ll bring a touch of Pacific sunshine to your afternoon. You’ll get one of their exquisite tropical-tinged cocktails free with your ticket to the show, as well as plenty of dancing performed in traditional costumes along with a live band and the stories behind each routine and style.
Get tickets (£15, under 16s free): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/faahoi-tickets-49625145145
2-5pm, Saturday 13th October. Laki Kane, 144-145 Upper Street, London, N1 1QY.
New Galleries Lecture: Pacific Encounters (18th Oct)
Curator Sophie Richards discusses the new Pacific Encounters exhibition currently on display at the National Maritime Museum and collaborations with Pacific communities to bring it to life. The exhibition focuses on the artefacts associated with the first meetings between European and Oceania cultures. From Fijian canoes to Captain Cook’s Endeavour, the items tell the stories of these initial encounters and the impact they had on the communities involved.
Get tickets (free, reservation required): https://www.rmg.co.uk/see-do/we-recommend/attractions/pacific-encounters
6.45pm-8.15pm, Thursday 18th October. Lecture Theatre, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
RA Lates: Cosmic Ocean (20th Oct)
Experience a slice of the Pacific Islands at this RA Lates event, featuring techniques such as navigation via the stars, ocean-inspired art installations, dance performances by London School of Hula and Ori, special talks, DJs and an array of local flavours to try. The evening of celebrations accompanies the Oceania exhibition that will be running in the Main Gallery until 10th December, displaying traditional and contemporary artworks.
Get tickets (£35-£75): https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/event/cosmic-ocean-ra-lates
7-11.45pm, Saturday 20th October. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD.