On Friday evening the branch had a "social dance" in the community hall at the local elementary school in Cobden, a section of town just north of downtown Greymouth. Sister Hoagland and I came with no idea what was going to take place. We came to find the place with decorations and so many refreshments prepared that I couldn't imagine even the Tongans consuming them all. As you can see from the early pictures there were just a few people there, just as I was expecting. We arrived about 7:45 pm and found some children, a few adults and one Tongan couple who had been invited from Nelson, about 3 1/2 hours away. As the evening progressed more people arrived. People I had never seen before. They were the children's Rugby coaches, elementary school teachers, and non member Tongan friends. There were also less active and part member families. Then at about 9:45 a large group of Tongans from Christchurch came with other local members. By the time refreshment time arrived at 10:00 pm there were over 150 people in the place. We were blown away.
There was no worry about baby sitters that night as the children from babies to teenagers were there all having a great time. The children were playing in amongst the dancers like there were two different worlds without one knowing the other existed. Our two 16 year old seminary boys were great. They asked all the older women to dance and made their day. Our Relief Society president is a widow in her early 50's. I asked her how the boys had treated her as we had taught them earlier in the week some dance etiquette such as not leaving the person you asked to dance on the floor after the dance was finished. She said they didn't take her back to her seat but she was just thrilled that they had asked her to dance.
President Kinikini dancing with his daughter Moni. To their left is the branch president of one of the Nelson branches.
Sister Hoagland with three single sisters and a part member family.
Some of the primary age children having fun together.
Moni Kinikini doing an island dance.
The Powells having a good time together. Sue Ellen is dancing with her daddy.
Members and guests from Christchurch and Nelson along with their children waiting for Moni's dance.
The other side of the room with members, coaches and teachers. There was another large group at this end of the room. The comments from the teachers and coaches were, "we have never danced with lights on before". "When is your next dance?" "We can't wait." We learned later that this is the first one they have ever had. We hope something good can come from this.
Thought you might have fun with the following videos. The one you will recognize the dance they are doing. The second is of a seven year old (his mother is a member) dancing with his school teacher. She is beautiful and is Tahitian Indian. Her sister and her husband were also there. Last but not least, for your viewing pleasure is, Sister Powell, Sister Scott, and our Relief Society President, Sister Carpenter doing the twist.
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