Why come all the way to Polynesia and then never really experience it?
EXPERIENCe ISLAND VILLAGE LIFE.
Visit authentic villages and mingle with natives from six Pacific cultures as they demonstrate their arts.
Join in on a variety of Polynesian activities and games that will test your skill and courage.
SEE SHOWS & PRESENTATIONS.
Enjoy an in-depth, entertaining look at unique aspects of various Polynesian cultures.
Expore the island nations of Polynesia.
Village presentation times: 12:30, 1:30, 3:05, 4:00, 4:30, 5:30
If you like to smile, even laugh – a lot – come see one of the Center's most popular cultural demonstrations. Learn how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together, how to easily crack open a coconut using a small pebble, how to create coconut "milk" with your bare hands, and how the Samoans prepare their food (hint: it’s a man’s duty). Watch well-muscled, young natives climb 40-foot coconut trees – in bare feet. In fact, you can try your hand (or feet) at it, right after the presentation. Two words: good luck.
See real-life living quarters, cooking huts and a chief’s home, all built without nails. And then, get a taste of real Samoan food, prepared throughout the day. Matter of fact, you can help us prepare it.
Village presentation times: 1:00, 3:30, 4:30
Come listen to Maori natives explain the symbolic significance of their intricately carved meeting house and their unusual facial tattoos. You’ll discover the ancient origins and meaning of protruding their tongues, and you’ll see tattooed warriors do so while performing their stirring war dance – the haka.
Test your dexterity (or lack thereof) by twirling poi balls and playing tititorea, a Maori stick game designed to develop hand-eye coordination. Kids up to the age of 75 will also enjoy the ta moko area where each can get a Maori tattoo – temporary, of course.
Village presentation times: 12:30, 1:30, 3:30, 4:00
Ever heard of a lali (translated: log drum)? You will. And you’ll discover its cultural significance at the same time. You can even give it a try, unless you’re too busy checking out the wide array of devastating clubs and weapons native to the Fijiian culture. Beware, you’ll discover some mean-looking military hardware. After all, the Fijiians took war very seriously.
Natives will help you understand what the cowry shells on a structure’s roof really mean, and who can enter such a building. Here’s a clue – you better be the village chief. Explore the six-story high Fijiian temple – just make sure you enter through the correct door. (Otherwise, according to tradition, you risk death.)
Village presentation times: 12:05, 1:30, 3:05, 4:30
It’s time to shake your hips, and tell stories with your hands. In the Hawaiian village you’ll not only learn some basic hula movements, but also discover the deeper commitment hula students make to their art, the intricacies of the motions, and the heritage of the hula implements and instruments.
Gain insights into the ancient kapu, or taboo system, that meant men and women ate in separate houses. Learn how taro is harvested, cooked, and turned into the staple food, poi. Of course, you are also welcome to sample some. (A word to the wise, it’s an acquired taste.) Observe how women craft leaves and flowers into beautiful Hawaiian lei and other useful items.
Village presentation times: 12:30, 1:30, 3:30, 4:30
The Tahitians really know how to swing their hips, not to mention their knees. See for yourself. Come enjoy an in-depth demonstration of both the women’s and men’s movements in their mesmerizing dances. In the process, they’ll get you shaking and shimmering yourself. And just try to stop your toes from tapping to the beat of the accompanying wooden to’ere drums.
Learn why the Tahitians make both fragrant flower and beautiful shell leis. Then, if you want to sample a gourmet delight, stop by the cooking hut for melt-in-your-mouth, Tahitian coconut bread. Let your kids try some fishing from our little pier. Or, have a spear-throwing competition.
Five times each afternoon — at 12:30, 1:30, 3:05, 4:00, 5:30
There’s no such thing as a “little drummer boy,” or a little drum, in Tonga. The popular Tongan presentation introduces you to Tongan ta nafa or drumming. With any luck, you’ll be called on stage to demonstrate your sense of rhythm on the oversized native drums. At the same time, you’ll learn the simple yet graceful motions of a mauluulu sitting dance, as well as the difference between clapping with a pasi or a fu sound. Sound complicated? It’s actually fun. A whole lot of fun.
Another visitor favorite? The Tongan shuffleboard game, called lafo. Can you beat the villagers? Do pigs fly? Afterwards, try your accuracy with tolo, underhanded spear throwing.
Our new attractions ought to be pretty entertaining. You're in them.
Try your hand (or, to be more accurate, your feet) at climbing a coconut tree. Our Samoan village natives will teach you how. Be forewarned, it’s not quite as easy as it looks. Hint: well-calloused feet and well-muscled thighs will help.
Challenge your family members or fellow guests to a canoe race – in native-style canoes like the islanders used centuries ago. Go ahead – make a splash and talk trash.
If you like to throw things, we have a long, sharp stick ready for you – also known as a spear. Our Tahitian villagers will teach you how to hit a coconut perched atop a tall pole 20 feet away. Good luck. Technique trumps might.
Learn to cook the Samoan way, using sticks, stones, leaves, husks, coconut milk, taro, fish, plenty of patience, and – don’t tell mom – your fingers. Come early in the afternoon and help prepare the unusual entrees. Then return several hours later to sample the delectable results of your effort.
Our Samoan villagers make starting fire look easy and effortless. Don’t be fooled. It takes a lot of muscle, practice and skill. In the family hut in Samoa, you can try your hand at starting your own fire by rubbing two sticks together. Here’s a hint, you must use two pieces of wood from the same tree.
Give your feet and legs a well-deserved break. Hop on a canoe and allow a paddling guide to lead you through our lagoon. You’ll pass native villages, the famous “Elvis Presley” coconut tree and several other highlights as you leisurely ride from one end of the Center to the other.
AUTHENTIC FOOD & SNACK BAR
The BANYAN TREE SNACK BAR, near the front entrance, is open at 11:00 a.m. and serves a variety of sumptuous specialty plates and sandwiches, as well as cold drinks and snacks – all of which will tide you over before dining at the Ali’i Lu’au. Additional SNACK STANDS are located at several villages (ie. Aotearoa and Marquesas) inside the Center.
The POLYNESIAN MARKETPLACE is styled in the tradition of village markets common throughout the Pacific islands. Find handcrafted items throughout the island villages and in the KAHA’IKI GALLERY, where you can shop with no entry fee. Stop in and shop as long as your wallet allows.
Be enthralled. Be entertained. Be sad to leave.
A rousing display of Polynesian spirit is celebrated daily at 2:30 p.m. in “Rainbows of Paradise,” Hawai'i’s only water-borne show. Once each afternoon, native Polynesians in colorful, traditional costumes treat you to the energetic dance and music of their cultures atop double-hulled canoes in the Center’s meandering lagoon.
TASTE OF POLYNESIA
Enjoy some of the signature food items from many of our Island cultures.
WOOD & TIKI CARVING
In the island village of Aotearoa (New Zealand), you will discover a hut displaying some of the best carvings found throughout Polynesia. Here you can observe the ancient techniques of Polynesian carving. Take a moment and watch our skilled artisans carve keepsake pieces from various types of indigenous wood.
HAWAIIAN MISSION SETTLEMENT
Christian missionaries were some of the earliest non-native settlers in the islands, and their influence on the local people was dramatic. Explore replicas of an early-1800s chapel, school house and the Hawaiian Mission Settlement where authentic Hawaiian quilting is still done.
Eating is a favorite pastime of the Polynesian peoples. But to eat, you must cook. Several of the Center’s villages allow you to glimpse, or participate in, the food preparation process. Tasty coconut bread is baked the island way in the village of Tahiti. A full meal is demonstrated in the village of Samoa.
IOSEPA “VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY”
“VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY”: The drama of ancient migration over the high seas is presented twice a day, at 1 p.m. and at 4 p.m. Hawaiian villagers explain how their ancestors braved deep-ocean voyages in giant, double-hulled canoes patterned after the 60-foot Iosepa which sits before your eyes.