This picture was taken in 1971, it was the first Polynesian band in Fresno and the beginning of the Polynesian Club of Fresno. From top left: Uncle Sione Kuma, Kolei Kuma Sr., Uncle Nano Talanoa and on the bottom Tai Tonga.
Our group was started by Kolei Fiefononga Kuma. Kolei was from Leimatua, Vavau, Tonga. He moved to Oahu in the late 1960’s and it was there that he met his wife, Linda. They married and eventually moved to Fresno. On October 7th, 1972 Kolei gathered dancers and musicians to make a show for his son Kolei Sii’s first birthday. Kolei called on his cousins and friends to put together the entertainment. That first event: a birthday luau, became a place for Polynesians in the area to connect with each other and enjoy the music and dances of their homelands. For many years our group was just a relaxed group of Polynesians that had banded together to relieve their homesickness.
Kolei passed away in 2002 but this show he loved and his love for the Polynesian culture lives on through his children. That small group of Polynesians hanging out in the garage at the Kuma’s house in the 80’s and 90’s grew to be what the group is today. Now, hundreds of dancers and drummers come weekly to the Polynesian Club of Fresno to share in the music and dances of Polynesia. We see generations of families each week. The first children Martha taught to dance are now teaching and leading classes along side of her.
The Kuma Family
A LOOK BACK AT 50 YEARS OF POLYNESIAN CLUB OF FRESNO
Pictures from recent events
Linda Kuma has always been the costume designer, manager etc. She dedicates her time for the group full time booking shows, organizing events, catering, sewing and managing the studios.
Leo Kuma is the baby of the family and is our lead male dancer/choreographer, our head drum teacher, and fire knife dancer.
Martha Leina’ala Kuma is the second child. She is the ra’atira or leader of the group. She has been trained by many respected kumuhula and teachers in all types of Polynesian dance. Martha has been leading the group since 1992. She continuously attends and brings workshops with Polynesian dance masters to our group to ensure that our dances and dancers are always culturally correct and growing in knowledge and appreciation.
The oldest child in the family is Kolei Etoni Kuma, he’s the lead drummer. He keeps guys on the right page, keeps the studios running smoothly and is a master BBQ’er (best huli huli chicken around).
Sosefina is Kolei’s wife and Linda’s right hand in costuming. She is our lead dancer and guides our dancers with grace, a friendly smile and an encouraging heart. She is our “master weaver”. Her handicraft and costume making skills are second to none. Fina and Kolei have four children: Kolei, Ofaloto, Kaleili and Salote.
In Loving Memory
Kolei Etoni Kuma
3410 W. Ashlan Ave, Suite #103 Fresno, CA 93722
Mon - Thur: 6pm - 9pm