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Elvis, Ukuleles and A New Kumu Hula

  Other PCC news   Experience our new ukulele shop     Perhaps no other musical instrument — except, maybe, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar — is as synonymous with Hawaii as the ukulele . . . which makes it even more appropriate that the newest addition to the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Hukilau Marketplace is our Ukulele Experience, in the Mahinalani Gift Shop.   First Hawaiians, and eventually the rest of the world, became intrigued with what is now known as the ukulele almost from the time Portuguese immigrant sugar plantation workers arrived here in 1879....
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Polynesian Royalty

  We love our Polynesian royalty     Most people in modern Hawaii cherish the many reminders of our aloha state’s royal heritage. For example, we’re the only state graced by a royal palace — Iolani Palace in Honolulu; the Kamehameha Schools are the sole beneficiary of the late Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s estate; and there are numerous other places, streets, buildings, institutions and other things in Hawaii that help us recall our historic royalty.   Hundreds of Hawaiians and others recently went to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu to see a new display — the...
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The Art of Restoration

  ‘Re-polishing’ the 70-year-old waka taua   As indicated in The King’s Canoe, the PCC’s Maori waka taua is currently being renovated — this time by PCC master carver Kawika Eskaran, a Hawaiian who also played a key role in carving BYU–Hawaii’s 57-foot traditional twin-hulled Hawaiian sailing canoe Iosepa, that’s now berthed in our Hawaiian Village when it’s not out on the ocean.   Eskaran — who initially apprenticed under the late Wright Bowman at Kamehameha Schools — recalled working on the waka for the first time over 30 years ago as an apprentice to...
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A King’s Canoe

  Correcting a Maori waka taua photo caption   Several months ago a woman in New Zealand contacted the PCC to tell us we had mis-identified her great-grandfather in a picture caption of our 60-foot-long 40-man waka taua or war canoe that’s been permanently berthed in the Maori Village for more than 50 years: She wanted to know if we could correct the caption, and what had happened to the canoe . . . which led to the following report.   With input from Cathie Joyce, the great-granddaughter, and our own Seamus Fitzgerald, a former PCC Maori cultural ambassador who’s...
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Greetings! Hongi Style!

  I continue to be impressed and have the highest respect for the “hongi”, a traditional Maori greeting in New Zealand. There is something about it that is so different than the formal handshake in modern western culture, or even a traditional kiss on the cheek.   It is done by pressing one’s nose and forehead (at the same time) to another person. It is not meant as a means to ‘smell’ those you greet. There is much more in the exchange of a “hongi”.   Here, former Chief of the Maori Village, George Kaka, exchanges a hongi with the President and...
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Tongan Society

      One of the beautiful aspects of Tongan Society is their emphasis on sharing. Tongans share stories, they share resources and they share their blessings with joy and thanksgiving.   Everyone has a role to play unique to their individual status in Tongan Society. It is based on the concept of sharing the blessings afforded you with those you are responsible for.  This tradition comes from the belief that you don’t grow up by yourself, you don’t successfully accomplish tasks on your own, and you do not find happiness on your own.  A successful Tongan...