Unusual hobby for a Palagi

A 29 year old Maths teacher at Onehunga High School will be an added attraction at this year’s Siva Afi Competition on the 1st of September until the 3rd of the same month.

His point of difference? 

Tim Noyce is a Palagi and fire dancing is his hobby.

“I lived here in Samoa for a year while I was teaching at Vaiala Beach School in 2012 and towards the end of my year, I came to learn a little about fire dance and that’s when it all started,” he said.

“Then I went back home and I didn’t do it for about a year. 

Then I met a former fire dancer from Vavau and he had a dance company and he taught me a lot of moves and we connected with few other Pacific island dancers.

“I overheard that there will be a competition here in September so I was keen to come over and compete and I contacted Leota Lene and told  him that I wanted to be part of it.”

Mr. Noyce said it was the danger of fire dancing that first attracted him.

“At first I was burning myself a lot and it sort of made me want to do it more and not burn myself,” he said.

“[And] then I got rung up to take part in a show and I thought I’m not that good. But then I went to it and the crowd was screaming and it was a lot fun and that made me keep going and keep training.

“I only started to do it at the end of my one year in Samoa and so I only did it for maybe a month before I left Samoa.

“I never took any real interest in it until I came here to the Siva Afi and I started learning it with the little kids and that got me into it.”

Performing in front of people is fun he said, because at the end of every performance people especially Samoan people, will always come and compliment him.

However he said along with the fun there’s always a challenging part of it.

“The challenge is trying to explain what it is about outside of the Pacific. There aren’t a lot of fire knife dancers around,” he said.

“When my friends ask me what I will doing in the weekend I would tell them I’m performing and they think it’s playing guitar. And then when I say Siva Afi, they think it’s like a hippie thing.

“So I try not be classified as a hippie. People  joke like I should put on shoe polish or go get a fake tan, but that never comes from the Pacific people.

“But being able to compete in this competition it will give me a lot more confidence because in New Zealand, there are no competitions like this, we just perform.

“So participating in this competition will help me improve my new hobby.”

Performing on the stage as the Palagi fire dancer he said was nerve wracking at first.

“I used to get nervous but I found out that when I get nervous or I think about that, I make mistakes,” he said.

“But if I don’t care about the importance of the event and just get up there and have fun, I do a lot better. So a clear head, no worries but have a lot of fun is the better way to do it.

“[And] my hope for the competition is to not come last,  “I’m being realistic and I believe I won’t win but if I don’t come last, that would be good enough for me.

“I want to prove that a palagi like me can be competitive and can compete and also can do fire dance as well.”

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