News Story

Community Rallies to ‘Light The World With Love’ for Tahiti Families

“The Christmas light, which is the light of Christ, illuminated many people this evening”

Neighbors from a Pape’ete community gathered recently to welcome more than a hundred people from across the region to a special evening of Christmas food and entertainment.

The event had its origins with a project by members of the Pape’ete Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that created the first illuminated Christmas street in Polynesia, dubbed since “La Rue de Noël” or “Christmas Street.” However, because of the pandemic, the event has not been held for some time. 

This year it returned as a new project that involved other churches, a local restaurant, and a government agency.

Participants welcomed many families who were able to enjoy a festive evening at the stake centre.

The project was organized by Steeve Liu and Taarii Sin, owners of the Shinetari restaurant which is located across the street from the stake centre and involved members from the interfaith community and local government leaders.

Over one hundred people from diverse backgrounds enjoyed a nice buffet meal in a joyful setting, including children from a local shelter.

A special effort was made to include residents of distant communities since they are often left out. A bus was provided by local government to bring them to the event.

The Church provided the cultural hall of the chapel of Fariipiti and a team of young adults to serve the meal.

They all enjoyed a savory meal prepared by the Shinetari team. Many volunteers took part in the meal service or in the distribution of food donations.

Others brightened up the evening with the presentation of a Nativity manger scene. Decorated Christmas trees and lights were installed in the chapel gardens, while the young adults offered hot chocolate throughout the evening.

A wide variety of choirs filled the evening with music and Christmas carols, such as Te ara te ora group; the Leverd family from the Seventh-day Adventist Church; and the Shirel choir, a group of friends who volunteered to sing.


Families were able to walk around the Church building and admire all the Christmas lights.

The evening ended with the distribution of gifts to all the children from donations collected by the volunteers of the project. The families not only feasted but they also left with a box full of food.

Restaurant owner and project manager Steeve Liu said, “The purpose of this evening was to light the lives of as many families as we could. My partner Taarii and I have succeeded in our life and we can give love back to people who are in need, especially at the holiday season.”

"I would like to thank all the volunteers who gave a hand this evening and also the Church for the use of the Fariipiti building. It is a chapel that we see every day when we open the doors of our restaurant Shinetari, and this church that has always supported us too."

Tereragi Teriipaia, from the government social services agency, said, “We gave a special invitation to those Hitiaa O te Ra for this evening because we wanted to focus on those on the east coast. It's really great for them because they are sometimes forgotten because they are so far from the capital city. The City helped by providing a bus to bring families here and back. "

Bruno Ercoli is the president of the Pape’ete Stake and was very happy with the event. "I am so touched by the many volunteers who enjoy doing good around them. They could have spent their day doing something else, but they came to serve others. This evening was filled with the magic of Christmas and touched everyone beyond measure.”

“Hosting this united event at the chapel of Fariipiti was a way of responding to President Russell M. Nelson's invitation to ‘help others see and feel the light of Jesus Christ.’”

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