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Lifestyle // Old Friends
Chris Fleck

Chief Sielu Avea

Chief Sielu Avea

Photo courtesy Chiefʼs Luau

Chief Sielu Avea came to Hawaii from Samoa to gain an education.

Now, more than 30 years later, he has solidified himself in our island community as one the finest performers perpetuating traditional Polynesian culture with charismatic charm and humor. While working at the Polynesian Cultural Center in the 1980s, Avea was approached by Eddie Sax, who was the founder of the former Honolulu Comedy Club at Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki.

“After seeing my performance at PCC, Eddie asked me to appear at Honolulu Comedy Club. We’ve been friends ever since,” says Avea, who was featured on MidWeek‘s Oct. 16, 1991, cover.

The two have now come together as partners, opening their own luau on Oahu’s majestic Sunset Beach at the exclusive Lo’ulu Palm Estate. With a projected grand opening date of March 28, Chief’s Luau is intended to revitalize the ancient custom, incorporating a much more interactive experience than other luaus offer tourists and residents.

“I produce and direct this show in a little different way. We still incorporate the culture of old Polynesia, but with more of a Samoan flair of feasting and entertaining, and that is why I call it a ‘fia fia luau,’ which is a happy celebration or get-together,” says Avea. “I like to cater to the people more, getting them more involved. I want them to be a part of the whole experience and the activities.”

Although Avea’s comedic personality will be sprinkled throughout the luau, it is rooted in tradition and custom.

“We will have a kava welcoming ceremony, which brings back the old ceremonies of Polynesia, which can be lost sometimes,” he adds. “The dancing is more traditional, and I do believe we have some of the best food, which completes the show.”

Aside from his luau venture, Avea is still running Chief Sielu’s Ali’i Tour at Kualoa Ranch.

“We tour every day, showing people tropical flowers and fruit trees. We educate people about the coconut and hau tree, and demonstrate a bit of fire dancing,” says Avea, who made his cinematic debut in Brett Wagner’s short film Chief, an award-winner at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

For more information on Chief Sielu or the luau, visit chiefsluau.com.

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