Photo Essay: 2016 International Nights at UH Hilo

International Nights is a long-standing tradition at UH Hilo that spans over three decades, and is a favorite event on campus among students, the community, and visitors.

Photos by Bob Douglas.

Single male dancer surrounded by group, costumes of beige and red, colorful, bold headdresses.
Tupulaga O Samoa Mo A Taeao performed “Cherish the Old, While Welcoming the New.”

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo hosted the annual International Nights on Feb. 19 and 20. Each year, the UH Hilo International Student Association produces a two-night show that features dance performances from the many different cultures and countries represented at UH Hilo. International Nights is a long-standing tradition at the university that spans over three decades, and is a favorite event on campus among students, the community and visitors.

Jim Mellon in lei
Jim Mellon

Performers volunteer their time, a testament to the willingness of UH Hilo’s international students to share their cultures with others.

The event is headed by Jim Mellon, executive director of global and intercultural education programs.

“The shows are a celebration of the vibrancy and diversity of cultures that make UH Hilo such a special place,” says Mellon. “It provides a platform for students from around the world to express and showcase their cultures, and for people to learn about other parts of the world.”

He adds, “International Nights is a time of year when all eyes are focused on the many cultures and international students represented at UH Hilo, who contribute so much in so many ways to student life on campus and in the community.”

Photos are arranged in order of appearance during two-night event. Click photos to enlarge.


Drummers, black t-shirts, holding sticks in the air, drums in line in foreground.
Taishoji Taiko, “Genkinyobi.”


Dancers in pairs, women with colorful skirts and green leaf headdresses, one woman with big smile.
Kaselehie Pohnpei Club, “Surupak.”


Four women in white skirts doing a "can-can" type dance, in line with left legs kicking up.
French a la Carte, ” Vive la Difference!”


Single woman walking forward on stage, red and white costume, she is holding up basket of fruit with burning incense.
May Yee Nandar, “A Pyo Daw Dance.”


Four women in line, hands on hips, kicking up right feet swung left to other side. In background is quartet with keyboard and strings.
Whirlijigs & Stringmajigs, “Reels and Jigs.”


Group doing tinikling dance, men with long bamboo poles lengthwise on floor, beating rhythm while two couples dance in and out of moving bamboo.
Byanihan Club, “Piliin Moo Ang Pilipinas.”


Colorful group of seven dancers in orange and purple costumes, posing just after finishing dance, each holding drums or other percussion instruments. Two women in front wearing kimono with purple sash.

Eastern Europe

Group of nine women and men, holding hands in circle, spinning around. Women in colorful skirts, one in pink leggings, men in white "poet" shirts with black pants.
Kolohe Folk Ensemble: “Dances from Eastern Europe.”


Large group of women and men, beige and red costumes, woman in center with large headdress boldly walking forward, big smile. In background are men with drums and percussion instruments
Tupulaga O Samoa Mo A Taeao, “Cherish the Old, While Welcoming the New.”


Women in row, white shirts and green head adornments, hands held out front in graceful gesture.
Big Island Kiribati Club, ” Tanea Tanea O Tiki Ananau and Ke Nna Reitia.”


Five young women in black leotards with colorful tutus, leaping in air with hands extended overhead, joyful expressions.
Rosy Pink Clover, “Kaitou Shoujo (Phantom Thief Girls)”


Row of women seated on floor, white tops with green ti skirts, leaves are cut then, each woman head tilted right toward hands.
Kosrae Hilo Organization, “Satacf and His Warriors.”



Large group of women and men, white grass skirts, black t-shirts, dramatic effect, all arms crossed at chest, swaying bodies.
Ngelekel Belau Club, “Ngelekel Belau.”


Large group of women and men, green ti and grass skirts, red tops, knees bent, all gesturing to their left, all chanting or singing.
Hilo Wa’b Community, “Maas” (Marching Dance).

United Stated of America

This is modern image-- Two women, modern "street" dress, knees best, gesturing up and away from themselves, dramatic almost angry expressions.
INT Dance Squad, “The Asylum.”


Group of men, green ti skirts, white shirts, holding long poles, some low, some high, leaping in air to hit each other's poles.
Chuukese Student Association, “Modernized Chuukese Dance.”


Group of women and men, black and red costumes, leaping up with right legs and right arms extended and left legs and arms angling back and away.
Japanese Students Association, Sei Gai Ha, “Yosakoi.”

Marshall Islands

In background is group of women and men in blue shirts and black pants. In front is couple with white shirts dancing, man has arms extended out, woman is smiling with hand gesturing toward herself. He has a tattoo on his face, she has shell or flower head ornaments.
Marshallese Iakwe Club, “Biit.”

Preparations, introductions, and between performances…

Woman from the Samoan dance group, large headdress, poses for selfie with member of the audience. She's sending a kiss to the cell camera.

About the photographer: Bob Douglas is a local artist, photographer, and sometimes part-time student who volunteers his photography skills to the Office of the Chancellor and UH Hilo Stories.

-UH Hilo Stories