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Panikeke: Round Pancakes, Samoan Style

  Sign up for our Polynesian Cultural Center newsletters:  Email Sign Up    Click here to view our TASTE of POLYNESIA recipe video!   I’ve posted a lot of recipes in this blog for dinner and dessert items. Today, however, I’ll be switching gears a bit and talking about breakfast, the most important, and often most delicious part of the day. Few things compare to the lingering feeling of satisfaction that accompanies a good breakfast. Breakfast burritos, omelets, and French toast are all examples of the many foods that can be used to start a day...
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Bure Kalou, the Fijian Spirit House

Sign up for our Polynesian Cultural Center newsletters:  Email Sign Up     “bure kalou”  A Fijian house of worship, or temple from pre-Christian times     This full-scale replica in the Fiji Village at The Polynesian Culture Center on the island of Oahu, Hawaii is the only bure kalou outside of Fiji. Throughout Polynesia, places of worship were crafted on layered platforms, some with pyramids. Fiji is the only culture to place a 6 story building on a platform. They believed that the taller the place of worship, the closer the people would be to their...
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Pani Popo – a Sticky, Gooey, Gotta...

Sign up for our Polynesian Cultural Center newsletters:  Email Sign Up     Pani Popo, or coconut buns, comes from Samoa and is made from yeast bread and sweetened coconut milk. Many people find it tastes more like glazed donuts, and with basic adjustments, such as substituting grapeseed or coconut oil for the butter, you can make a delicious treat that is dairy-free, while using coconut flour will make it gluten free. This is a very easy-to-modify dish, no matter what the dietary restrictions.   There are many recipes out there, but we wanted to present you with...
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Turkey Tail – Forget the Rest, the...

Sign up for our Polynesian Cultural Center newsletters:  Email Sign Up     We introduced this recipe four years ago. Who knew it would be our iconic cornerstone in Polynesian recipes? We sure didn’t. But month after month Adobo Turkey Tails breaks records. Yes, its got a lot of fat, but that gives it that special crunchy flavor. Enjoy (in moderation, of course!)   More recipes! We know you’ll love this, but if you’re looking for a different approach, try this Crisp and Tender Baked Turkey Tail recipe. Want to learn how to cook an island...
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Through An Aussie’s Eyes: The Poly...

As much as we like telling the world about visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center, we LOVE it when we can share the experiences of our guests. Here is a great blog by Helena Kreis, an aspiring travel blogger from Australia (http://www.throughanaussieseyes.com). Thanks, Helena! We know your experience will help others looking at coming to our island paradise.     Learning about different cultures is one of the main reasons many of us travel. When we completely immerse ourselves in a culture that is new to us, it opens the doors to a life that we never really...
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Toa O Samoa: Samoans in the Armed Forces

    Guest Blogger J.M. Levi is half-Samoan or afatasi and grew up in Missouri. We are pleased to feature her thoughts on Toa-o-Samoa – Samoans who serve in the military in honor of Memorial Day.     In 1872, Samoa agreed to allow the United States of America to build naval bases at Pago Pago, Tutuila in return for Military protection. (American Samoa became a Territory of the United States in 1900.) Later, during World War II, males 14 years and older trained for the opportunity to serve in the US Armed Forces. My grandpa, Atonio Fuimaono, served...
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Polynesian Cultural Center honors Tonga’...

Tongan Villagers at the Polynesian Cultural Center joined their compatriots in the South Pacific in mourning Her Majesty Queen Mother Halaevalu Mata’aho. She passed away at age 90 on February 19, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand, where she had gone for medical treatment.   Queen Mother Mata’aho was the wife of Tonga’s late King Tupou IV, and mother of the late King Tupou V and current King Tupou VI. She is also survived by her daughter, Princess Mafile’o Pilolevu Tuita, 11 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.   The entire Kingdom of Tonga observed the queen...
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Meet Tupua, our Senior Master of Ceremon...

  Tall, dark, handsome, killer smile, mellifluous voice, perfect diction, great stage presence, and more: Chances are if you’ve been to the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Alii Luau in the past three years, you’ve already met our Senior Master of Ceremonies, Tupua Ainuu. Some of you may know him by his nickname, “Cousin T”.   Some people think of Polynesians as being naturally gifted athletes — they are! But anyone who’s been to the PCC or watched Hawaii Five-O can tell you they also have a strong flair for performing; and with a list of characteristics like...
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PCC celebrates 27th annual Moanikeala Hu...

As it has for the past several years, the Polynesian Cultural Center hosted its annual Moanikeala Hula Festival on February 4, 2017, in a perfect setting — under the monkeypod tree in the Hawaiian Village.   PCC’s current kumu hula [or hula master teacher] Pomaika’i Krueger explained, as it has for the past 27 years, this year’s annual festival honors the legacy of the Center’s first kumu, the late Aunty Sally Moanikeala Wood Naluai who taught “many, many students” until she retired in the 1980s. (She remained active, however, as a hula consultant until she passed...
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Ambassador Macadamia Nut Chicken Recipe ...

Restaurants around the world change their menus regularly to reflect current popular dishes, economic necessities and the imagination and skills of the current chef. But there are always favorite dishes that patrons remember fondly. The Polynesian Cultural Center is no different – we weigh out and make changes very carefully, fine tuning our meals to best reflect the needs and tastes of our international visitors. But we keep some dishes very close to our heart. One of most popular dishes from the past is the beloved Ambassador Macadamia Nut Chicken and it’s amazingly...
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Hawaii Village at the PCC displays nativ...

The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of 8 major islands and multiple small outcroppings. They are considered the most isolated land mass on earth. Very few native plants have survived the invasion of foreign ornamental and crop vegetation.      The Hawaii Village at the Polynesian Cultural Center is honored to tend and present Hawaiian based plants. Here is an overview of just a few:   MEDICINAL PLANTS   Growing alongside the Hale Hana (Work House) is a bush that hosts small purple flowers.  This plant, called the Awōwī, is utilized as a poultice for mending...
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Pack Hawaii

How to Pack for Your Hawaiian Vacation  We know you want to look and feel your best while visiting Hawaii. Here are a few suggestions for a cool and comfortable trip.   First, think about what activities you want to do when you get here. Next, figure out what items you’ll need while doing them. Now, take a moment and reassess. Ask yourself, do I REALLY need it, will I REALLY use it, and do I REALLY want to pack it with me through the airport? There’s a lot to be said for ‘packing light’, and remember, Honolulu is a modern metropolis with many stores...
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Community service and aloha reflects the...

Introducing Junior Ah You     While the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame inducted Junior Ah You into its class of 2017 during an enshrinement ceremony on January 21, 2017, at the Polynesian Cultural Center, it’s the large Samoan’s decades of serving the people of his home with “aloha” ever since he retired from professional football in 1983 that truly demonstrates his championship character.   Granted, Ah You played football so well that the most recent PFHOF recognition is his fourth hall of fame honor; but his trail to glory on the gridiron started...
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The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame ens...

 Annual Celebrations welcomes new inductees     In 2013 the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame partnered with the Polynesian Cultural Center in establishing their permanent home in the PCC’s Welcome Center near the main Hukilau Marketplace entrance . . . and enshrined the inaugural class in January 2015. Another class and other honorees are now enshrined each January.    You can read about past year inductees here: 2015 Football Hall of Fame Inductees – Blog by Mike Foley 2016 Football Hall of Fame Inductees – Blog by Mike Foley     Admission...
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Polynesia is for Families!

Far more than a museum   One of the greatest strengths of the many Polynesian countries represented here at the Polynesian Cultural Center is their love and commitment to their families. It is evident in the activities and presentations throughout the Center, as well as a main theme in our beautiful evening show, Ha: The Breath of Life.         Each village offers activities that highlight their culture. Each village also offers cultural games and activities that are sure to be a favorite amongst the kids. For instance, in the Aotearoa Village, guests...
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Tahitian Coconut Bread

How to make coconut bread just like the Tahitian Village at The Polynesian Cultural Center! Ingredients: 2 cups fresh coconut, grated (if not available, use unsweetened coconut from the store) 4 cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 1/2 cups water     Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degres 2. In a large bowl, mix coconut and baking powder 3. Add sugar and water 4. Add flour 5. Mix all ingredients to a doughy texture, adding flour as needed so that the dough is not too sticky (hint: use some coconut oil on your hands to prevent them from getting sticky)...
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Every guest is special: Providing VIP tr...

Special visits are a common occurance here at the PCC   The more than 40 million people who have visited the Polynesian Cultural Center since it opened in 1963 includes a long list of stars and dignitaries: kings, queens, national leaders, presidents, famous actors, governors, Latter-day Saint general authorities, and the list goes on.     For example, earlier this year the king and queen of Tonga spent two days at the Center; and just days ago President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the worldwide First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of...
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Polynesian Cultural Center tips: How to ...

    How to remove coconut “meat” from the shell   Millions of people have enjoyed the coconut demonstrations in the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Samoan Village. The young men — who do all the cooking, you may remember — make it look so easy; but once you’re back home and you’re tempted to buy a coconut from the supermarket, have you ever wondered…   Q: Is there an easy way to crack a coconut and get the “meat” out?   A: Yes there is, and no hammers, chisels, drills, saws, screwdrivers, nails, or vices, etc., are required. In fact, it’s kind of easy....
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7 Village Bars

Seven Village Bars represent our 7 beautiful Polynesian cultures represented at the Polynesian Cultural Center: Hawaii, Fiji, Maori, Tahiti, Tonga, Rapa Nui and Samoa     NOTE: Use an extra large cookie sheet measuring 11 x 17 or 1/2 sheet professional pan measuring 18 x 13. The smaller the pan, the thicker the bar. Thicker bars will be extremely gooey – but oh so good! However, for a true 7 Village Bar, keep the layers thin, which makes them easier to pick up and carry around. You choice!   Ingredients:   CRUST – 3 c. graham cracker crumbs...
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Tongans frequently wear ta’ovala

  When one of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s most senior managers recently retired after 45 years of service, Alamoti “Moti” Taumoepeau — “chief” of the PCC’s Tongan Village — gave him a traditional laufala mat hand-woven from strips of dried pandanus leaves, and told him he should wear it as a ta‘ovala. According to one long-ago story, a group of Tongans who came to visit the tu‘i Tonga or king arrived from a rough boat ride, and because they felt their clothing was not presentable, they cut the laufala mat which formed their boat’s sail and wrapped pieces of it...
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Christmas in Tonga

  Memories of Christmas in Tonga     The PCC is proud to share this lovely story by contributing blogger, Mike Foley regarding Tongan Christmas memories from our PCC family, which was orignially published in December 2015. Two of our Tongan PCC managers originally from the Friendly Islands share some of their fond memories of Christmas in the Kingdom of Tonga: Alamoti “Moti” Taumoepeau, Tongan Islands manager, who grew up near Nuku‘alofa, the kingdom’s capital; and PCC emcee coordinator Telesia “Sia” Afeaki Tonga from Mu‘a, which is also on the main...
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Christmas in Polynesia: Mele and Iosepa

Mele and Iosepa’s First Christmas: Introductions    Christmas is a special time on the islands. We not only celebrate the joy and magic of the season, we know how to have fun! As a special holiday gift, we have prepared our own Christmas tale. Iosepa is our brave, Fijiian warrior. He is mighty, he is strong, he is a risk taker!  Iosepa tends to think of himself as quite the handyman. Mele begs to differ.     Mele and Iosepa met on a beautiful moonlit night, right after he performed a traditional Fire Walk.  Somehow the combination of burnt up heels...
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In Other PCC News

Kahuku High Team, Fans Celebrate at PCC   Despite a disappointing second-place finish in the recent 2016 Hawaii state open football championship, “Red Raiders 4 Life” fans and friends celebrated with their Kahuku High football players on Friday night, November 26, at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Hukilau Marketplace.     PCC Alumna Receives Native Hawaiian Educator Award:   Kamehameha Schools recently awarded Polynesian Cultural Center alumna Ka‘umealani Walk its 2016 Native Hawaiian Community Educator of the Year Award for her work in building...
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PFHOF Announces ‘College Player of Year’...

SPECIAL UPDATE: The 2017 Polynesian Football Hall of Fame College Player of the Year is Sefo Liufau The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced its five Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Finalists on November 22. They present the annual award to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player who epitomizes great ability and integrity.   University of Oregon and Tennessee Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota was selected as the inaugural recipient of the award in 2014, followed by University of Notre Dame and Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman...
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Do Hula Dancers Still Use “Grass Skirts”...

Grass Skirts, or Not?   So-called “grass skirts” have always been a misnomer; however, Hawaiians and other Polynesians have traditionally used strips of natural fibers, barks and other materials to create various skirts and adornment. The purpose of such skirts, beyond decoration, was — and is — always to accentuate the dancer’s movements.     For example, strips of the inner wild hibiscus bark — which Hawaiians and Tahitians call hau, and Samoans and Tongans call fau — are still collected today, cleaned and bleached in salt water, dried and then strung together...
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How to Rain-Proof a Samoan Fale

Rain Proofed Living       Q: What did the Samoans who traditionally lived in open-sided fale or houses do when it rained heavily?   A: Centuries ago the old Samoans figured out a way to weave a series of pola or “blinds” made from coconut-leaf fronds that were layered side-to-side and tied together with ‘afa — sennit cord braided from coconut husk fibers. These were then hung from the inner, upper edges of the fale and could be lowered as needed to block most of the rain, then raised again. Often only the pola on the side of the fale where the prevailing...
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PART III – Pearl Harbor and WWII H...

SEGMENT III: Mixing It Up In Laie   In Part 3 of our series of Laie during World War II, we learn from the recollections of Laverne Pukahi, Joe Ah Quin and Gladys Pualoa Ahuna about how the locals entertained themselves, what it was like to be surrounded by numerous military camps and we learn about the great tidal wave of 1946.     One Place, Used In Many Different Ways   Things began to calm down in Laie after the first couple of years, though things were never the same. It was the beginning of the big change that effected how everyone worked, played...
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Roasting Turkey, Polynesian Style!

* Cooking by underground oven, or “Imu” is a distinctly Polynesian practice, and boy is it delicious! (Picture courtesy of Mark Weims) Last week I introduced how much turkey is loved here on the islands.  This week I would like to showcase how that plays out during Thanksgiving.   Roast turkey is very fine, indeed.  But a turkey baked in an Imu (an in-ground pit) is a delicacy not to be missed.    Unfortunately, most of us do not have the means nor the expertise to dig a hole in the backyard to smoke our turkey in  for hours at a time.      In...
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Turkey Tail – Forget the Rest, the...

Sign up to receive our weekly Eat Polynesia! newsletters            Email Marketing You Can Trust Yes, you saw right. Turkey Tail. I’m telling ya, you’re going to love it!  I discovered this little delicacy back when I was a little gal oh so many years ago and from that day on, I would beg, borrow or cry a river of tears to be the one who got this part of the bird on Thanksgiving Day. The turkey has a long, rich history not only in the States, but in such far-away places as Samoa.  I’m not talking about the whole turkey, mind you…..just the...
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PART II – Pearl Harbor and WWII Hi...

In Part 2 of our series of La’ie during World War II, we learn from the recollections of Laverne Pukahi Joe Ah Quin and Gladys Pualoa Ahuna how martial law, declared immediately following the Japanese attack that brought the US into World War II, affected the local families of Laie.   BACKGROUND: Life In Laie After Pearl Harbor   After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the army anticipated that the Japanese were going to land there in force. American troops took up positions around the perimeter of all the main islands, . They put up barriers on the beaches to deter landings...
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Kolipoki shares Tonga memories, insights...

        About 60 years ago it took a young Mormon missionary from Idaho more than three months to travel from the Intermountain West to the remote northern Tongan island of Niuatoputapu. There, Elder John H. Groberg — known as Kolipoki, the Tongan transliteration of his last name — and his companion, the late Feki Pō‘uha, overcame a series of amazing situations and challenges that eventually became the subject of the feature film The Other Side of Heaven.   Elder Groberg, now an emeritus General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day...
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PFHOF Announces Its Class of 2017 Induct...

  The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame — whose permanent exhibit is located near the front entrance of the Polynesian Cultural Center — has unveiled its Class of 2017, that includes one inductee with particularly strong ties to the Polynesian Cultural Center:     ■  Junior Ah You (Samoan): DL, Kahuku High, Arizona State U.; drafted by Patriots in 1972, 13 seasons with Montreal Alouettes; also Chicago Blitz, New Orleans Breakers and the Arizona Outlaws.   ■  Riki Ellison (first Māori to play in the NFL): L, USC; San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Raiders.  ...
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PART I – Pearl Harbor and WWII His...

La’ie In 1941   The town of La’ie sits on the northeast corner of the small Pacific island of Oahu, just a few minutes from the famous beaches of the North Shore.    La’ie was established in ancient times as a pu’uhonua, which means sanctuary, or place of refuge.   Although pu’uhonua were abolished by King Kamehameha in 1819, local residents have always felt that La’ie maintained its spirit of protection and peace.   This came into play in modern times on December 7, 1941 when Japanese aircraft attacked strategic areas of Oahu. Although history...
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Other PCC Related News – October 2...

  WIN A “FAMILY-TRIP” HAWAII VACATION   The Polynesian Cultural Center is sponsoring a family-style trip to Hawaii drawing for four that includes:        – Round-trip airfare to Hawaii – Hotel accommodations at the Marriott Courtyard Oahu North Shore – Super Ambassador Luau Package tickets to the PCC -A thrilling zip-line adventure by nearby Climb Works at Keana Farms       Participants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of entry to be eligible to win. Please go to https://www.polynesia.com/familytrip/index.html for the complete...
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PCC Theater Department Reorganizes Manag...

  Welcome to our two new managers    Following the recent retirement — or “graduation,” as we like to say around here — of Aunty Ellen Gay Dela Rosa, PCC Vice President of Cultural Presentations Delsa Moe reorganized our Theater Department under two newly promoted managers:   David Tiave has been named Senior Theater Manager: David Tiave is a Honolulu-born Samoan who grew up in Kalihi. He used to come to Laie a lot because he has family here. “I was blown away as a little kid,” he recalled. “Two of my older siblings worked in the evening show, and we also used to...
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Free PCC App Now Available For Download

      Did you know that a free Polynesian Cultural Center app is available for download to your iOS and Android mobile devices? A’oia (“that’s right,” in Hawaiian) — think of it as high tech for our old-Polynesia setting.   Under the direction of Jeff Dunn, Director of the Center’s Digital Commerce and Online Marketing team, the PCC worked with Beaverton, Oregon-based Villusion Studios, LLC earlier this year to develop and release the first-version app.         The app currently provides:   – A handy map of the Center with informative descriptions and...
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PCC Names New Pounders Restaurant Genera...

    Meet new Pounders General Manager, Greg Maples:   Greg Maples, who joined the Polynesian Cultural Center management team on August 1 as General Manager of Pounders Restaurant in the Hukilau Marketplace, brings extensive experience in the food and beverage industry.   Maples, who is originally from southern California, served in Kaneohe in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves years ago and has been back to Hawaii multiple times since as a visitor. After studying at Rick’s College and Utah Valley University, he and his family settled in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1985...
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PBN Bestows Inaugural Attraction Pineapp...

  Honolulu-based Pacific Business News, which has recognized various categories of achievement throughout Hawaii since it was founded in 1963, presented its inaugural Pineapple Award in the visitor attraction leadership category to the Polynesian Cultural Center during a dinner event at the Hawaii Convention Center in Waikiki on September 22, 2016.   PBN, as its also known, announced in May 2016 that it would create the new visitor industry Pineapple Awards program (which had previously been part of it’s popular Business Leadership Hawaii recognition program). The...
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Tongan Funerals and Weddings: Strength a...

  As explained on the official website of the Kingdom of Tonga….”family is the central unit of Tongan life.”   “Tongan society is guided by four core values, all of which combine to ensure a generous and genuine welcome to visitors to the Kingdom; Fefaka’apa’apa’aki (mutual respect), Feveitokai’aki (sharing, cooperating and fulfilment of mutual obligations), Lototoo (humility and generosity), and Tauhi vaha’a (loyalty and commitment). Older persons command the most respect and each family member knows their role. A typical family unit may...
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PCC and Other Laie News

 Other PCC and related news   PFHOF sets inaugural prep all-star game in Hawaii: The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame — whose museum display is located near the Hukilau Market Place main entrance of the Polynesian Cultural Center and features FREE-ADMISSION — has set its inaugural high school football all-star game at Aloha Stadium on January 21, 2017.   2014 Heisman and PFHOF Polynesian College Football Player of the Year awards winner Marcus Mariota, now with the Tennesee Titans, and Ronnie Stanley, the PFHOF 2015 College Football Player of the Year who now plays...
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Aunty Ellen Gay’s “Graduatio...

Dela Rosa ‘graduates’ after 43 years   Ellen Gay Kekuaokalani Dela Rosa (shown at left), PCC’s long-time Theater Director, retired on her 65th birthday, August 5, 2016, after working for the Polynesian Cultural Center for 43 years. Several hundred co-workers, friends and family members joined her that evening in gratitude and celebration.   In tribute, Delsa Moe, PCC Vice President of Cultural Presentations, said Dela Rosa “has done her part to share aloha with many throughout her tenure at PCC. Although she has been a dancer, Hawaiian section instructor and kumu hula,...
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Fijians Share Several Unique Cultural As...

During a recent retirement farewell event for former Hawaiian cultural specialist Keith Awai (CLICK HERE to view video from this great celebration), PCC Fijian Village “chief” Ratu Seru Inoke Suguturaga noted the while Polynesians share many similar cultural aspects among the various island groups, there were at least three things that were unique to only the Fijians and Hawaiians:   Fijian derua and Hawaiian ka’eke’eke or bamboo percussion tube  instruments:   Suguturaga explained both Fijians and Hawaiians use varying lengths of thin-walled bamboo, with all but the...
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Fiji wins gold!

 PCC Fijians celebrate Olympic gold   “Rugby is Fiji’s national sport. It’s very popular,” said PCC Fijian Village “Chief” Ratu Seru Inoke Suguturaga . . . so it’s no surprise that Fijians at the Polynesian Cultural Center, back home in the islands and around the world, as well as many other Polynesians, have been celebrating ever since the Fiji men’s Rugby 7s team decisively defeated Great Britain, 43-7, in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics finals to capture their first-ever gold medals.     Rugby is said to have started at Rugby School in Rugby, England, in 1823 when a...
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Coconut Oil Helps Olympian to Shine Brig...

Pita Nikolas Taufatofua of Tonga became famous this last week. Yes, he is a gifted Taekwondo competitor, but his fame came his desire to honor his culture while representing his nation in the opening exercises of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The world wanted to know, “who is that shiny man, and why?”     Pita is 32 years old. He is single and he actually lives in Australia. But his father is Tongan, and is honored to be on the Tongan Olympic team   The answer to “why” he was oiled is both simple and heartfelt. It is a part of Tongan culture to present oneself as well as...
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PCC Digital Commerce

  PCC e-commerce reaches out   Like millions of companies around the world, the Polynesian Cultural Center continues to expand its global reach by relying on the internet to convey information and complete sales.   “The entire market is moving to online,” said Jeff Dunn, head of the PCC’s digital commerce and online marketing team, a small group with only four fulltime members. “Any company that wants to have a footprint in the market place needs to have an online presence. It keeps us top-of-mind for customers who wants an activity when they come to Oahu....
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Teaching Hawaiian

  Meet Nā’auao: Hawaiian language teacher, composer, chanter   “I’ve always been interested in the Hawaiian language. I heard it growing up and knew vocabulary, but I didn’t really speak it. My grandfather, my dad’s dad, was a native speaker, but he passed away when I was a baby,” said Terry Nā’auao Pane’e, PCC assistant Hawaiian Village manager.   But that was years ago. After graduating from Kamehameha School in 1980, Pane’e attended BYU–Hawaii, began working at the Polynesian Cultural Center and also began his serious studies of the Hawaiian language: He took...
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The King’s Chauffeur

  PCC chauffeur to the king and queen of Tonga   “When I was called to the Administration office, I thought I was in trouble,” said Livingston Pita Unga, a half-Tongan-Samoan man who normally oversees the PCC Warehouse.    Instead, Unga was asked to chauffeur their majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u of Tonga from Waikiki on June 10, remain as their driver throughout their stay in Laie, and return them to Waikiki on June 11. The king and queen were the honored guests for the blessing and grand opening of the newly renovated Tongan Village. (Visit from...
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Honoring Our Kupuna & other PCC New...

    Other PCC and related news   PCC adds extra luau seating to meet summer demand: During peak seasons — summertime and the year-end holidays, the Polynesian Cultural Center’s fabulous Alii Luau is so popular that we normally run three seatings simultaneously in three different venues . . .   … but this summer the demand has been even higher, so after having to turn away too many people who wanted to enjoy the Alii Luau experience, PCC Vice President of Marketing Raymond Magalei said the PCC team came together on short order to work out the already complex...
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Wedding Ceremonies at Ancient Marae Temp...

    Tahitian Maraes are open temples that were used for sacred ceremonies. First fruits and best catch of the day were taken to the Marae as offerings for the gods.  The only weddings performed within a Marae would be for the daughter of the chief or other socially significant individuals. Chiefs from other districts were welcomed into the Marae.   Wedding ceremonies in the Marae reflect lineage, fidelity and commitment. During the ceremony, the priest will ask the bride and the groom individually, “Eta” or “will you ever leave”? The answer from both the bride and...
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2016 Launch of the Iosepa & other n...

  Update on the sailing canoe Iosepa:   The Iosepa launches from Hukilau Beach on June 15, 2016. Photo by Mark Holladay Lee   The BYU–Hawaii/Polynesian Cultural Center 57-foot, single-masted wa’a kaulua or twin-hulled traditional Hawaiian sailing canoe Iosepa — which is normally berthed in the PCC’s Hawaiian Village — launched from Hukilau Beach in Laie on June 15.   Early plans called for Hawaiian Studies students and others to gain experience sailing along Windward Oahu, maybe circumnavigating the island, and possibly even sailing to the Big Island; but...
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PCC/BYUH Alumnus Returns

  PCC/BYUH alumnus returns with royal party   The royal entourage who accompanied the king and queen of Tonga’s attendance at the grand reopening of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s recently renovated Tongan Village, included a 1994 PCC and BYU–Hawaii alumnus who now serves the Friendly Islands kingdom in a ministerial or cabinet-level position:   The Hon. Semisi Sika, Tonga’s Minister of Infrasturcture and Tourism   His Majesty King Tupou VI appointed the Hon. Semisi Kioa Lafu Sika, 48, of Haveloto, Tongatapu, to the portfolio of Tonga’s Ministry of...
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Visit from the King and Queen of Tonga

    Day 1: A royal welcome for the king and queen of Tonga   In keeping with island traditions, the Polynesian Cultural Center always planned to hold a “grand reopening” celebration for its recently renovated Tongan Village on June 11, 2016; but then the king and queen of Tonga — His Majesty King Tupou VI, King of Tonga, and his wife, Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau’u — accepted an invitation to attend the event, and customary Polynesian protocol rose to much higher levels.   Upon arriving at the PCC gate near the Hamana Kalili statue the afternoon of June 10,...
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News Around the PCC for June, 2016

  TONGAN VILLAGE GRAND OPENING: The Polynesian Cultural Center will celebrate the grand re-opening of its newly renovated Tongan Village during special ceremonies on Saturday, June 11, 2016. It is anticipated that the King and Queen of Tonga will be in attendance.       Tongan royalty have had an association with the Cultural Center since before it opened in October 1963: Approximately 55 years ago Her Majesty the late Queen Salote — who endeared herself to millions around the world during the televised coronation of the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth II — authorized...
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Role as Mana Inspires PCC Performer

  Tane Falevai —  the handsome and multi-talented Tongan who for the past four years has been playing the main character of Mana in the Polynesian Cultural Center’s world-famous evening production, Hā: Breath of Life — said the role inspires him in real life to be a better person as well as a new husband and eventually father of his own family.   The Hā storyline traces Mana’s life from birth, early development, romance, marriage, the death of his father and the birth of his own baby in a variety of Polynesian settings. For example, as a boy Mana is called upon to...
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2016 We Are Samoa High School Cultural A...

  Whereas three days of fire knife championship competition provides plenty of excitement and action, the PCC’s We Are Samoa High School Cultural Arts Event earlier that morning instilled a sense of pride in heritage and appreciation for the youth as they strive to maintain ties to their past.   The students attempt to weave traditional coconut-leaf baskets. As with most Samoan events, this one started with oratorical protocol, as a PCC talking chief welcomed all of the participants as well as hundreds of parents and fans. Proper respect was also paid to the anthems...
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2016 World Fireknife Championship

    The first night — All senior ‘warriors’ compete: As far as our guests and visitors are concerned the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 24th annual We Are Samoa Festival World Fireknife Championships began the evening of Thursday, May 12, 2016, in the Hale Aloha, and featured 18 open division or senior men (ages 18-and-up). They came from as far away as New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Samoa, the US east coast and, of course, from throughout Hawaii, hoping that first night to claim one of six semi-finalist positions, as determined by a respected panel of widely...
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Loko’i’a: Hawaiian Aquacultu...

  Ever wanted to catch fish without actually fishing? Hawaiians created an ingenious way to farm fish in their natural habitat by building an enclosed section of ocean.  There they raised fish, somewhat like raising animals on a farm. Loko’i’a or fishponds were made by building a large stone wall with a gate.   Smaller fish were able to swim in to feed, protected from larger predators which were too big to fit through the gate.  Soon the smaller fish had grown too large to exit through the gate. It was then the simple task of lawai’a or fishermen to...
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PCC Pineapple Cookie Bars

There is a new Facebook group by the name of “I Love BYUH!”  As of May of 2016, there are approximately 14,000 members – alumni and current or former employees of Brigham Young University – Hawaii, in the beautiful little town of La’ie, Oahu, Hawaii. It’s a great group of people sharing memories and life events, asking fun questions, posting old pictures and reconnecting with dear friends.   Members started asking for recipes of some of their favorite dishes from the spectacular Polynesian Cultural Center, which most of the students have worked at while attending college...
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Pulefano Galea’i: The History of P...

  As the Polynesian Cultural Center prepares to celebrate its 24th annual Samoan World Fireknife Championship and We Are Samoa Festival on May 12-14, 2016, we turn to PCC retiree and High Talking Chief (an aloali’i of Manu’a) Galea’i “Pule” Pulefano for his historical insights on both the PCC’s special event and cultural origins of the popular ‘ailao afi’ or Samoan fire knife dance. Note: In Samoan, the dance is called ‘ailao afi and the knife is a nifo oti or “deadly tooth.” Galea’i also holds his mother’s maternal family title of Va’aitautia in Aua, American...
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PCC News – May 2016

  Corrections to the PCC Maori Waka Taua story:   Please note: An earlier version of this story contained several incorrect facts and/or repeated several questionable “myths.” We replaced it with a more accurate history of the PCC’s Maori waka taua story, by CLICKING HERE.   In the early days of the PCC, Maori villagers actually launched the waka on the Center’s freshwater lagoon; but it was long ago put on display under its own canoe hut. It has been refurbished several times over the decades since, and it is currently underdoing another major renovation. CLICK HERE...
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How To Build Two Gigantic Tikis

  Fun Fact: Tiki is a Maori word; ki’i is the Hawaiian equivalent, but we’ll stick with the Maori version because it’s so prevalent. Also, the plural form of Polynesian nouns in their respective languages is not made by adding S — some writers won’t even add an S when the Polynesian word is used in English, but we will utilize them for the comfort of our mainland readers:     As guests stroll from the Polynesian Cultural Center’s new Hukilau Marketplace into the village area, they now pass through an impressive gateway arch that is over 30 feet tall, set-off by the...
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Samoan Gardening

  Before Europeans arrived in our islands, Samoans typically subsisted on farming and fishing. Breadfruit, banana, taro, giant taro and, of course, coconuts are the most common food crops, and are still cultivated today.  When trading with other islands became more common, pigs and chickens were added to the diet.   A Samoan chief or Matai attains his status based on food production, preparation and eating within his village. The matai and his council (fono) assign tasks and quotas to villagers, ordering the number of taro plants to be grown, which men are to clear the...
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Banana Cream Pie

    This month we present an all time favorite, not just here on the islands, but across the world….Banana Cream Pie. It even has it’s own day in the U.S. – March 2 – “Banana Cream Pie Day”!     Undoubtedly, the ingredient that makes or breaks this recipe is the banana itself. Here on the islands, we generally have our choice of banana types, Morgans, Lady Fingers, and the local favorite, Apple Bananas” for instance.   Make sure that your bananas are just about perfect. Not too ripe. You want them to be able to last a few...
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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”.  The literal meaning of “hongi” is the “sharing of breath.” It is made up of...
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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...
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Laughing To the Beat: Tongan Drumming

      Laughing to the beat: Tongan drumming   For many years Polynesian Cultural Center visitors from around the world have been enjoying the humorous attempts by audience “volunteers” to play like islanders do during the Tongan Village’s drumming show: There’s just something about watching the first time they try to mimic the antics of a muscular Tongan that cracks everyone up, every time.   “From the beginning years ago, that’s the response we expected. The show has held up very well,” said Semisi Fakatava, PCC’s Tongan cultural ambassador. He has worked...
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Tongan Lashing Expert Brings Skills to P...

    Tongan Lashing Expert  As contractors near completing the PCC’s newly renovated Tongan Village, a cultural expert in lalava or traditional sennit-cord lashing has been brought in to add some culturally distinctive finishing touches.   For the many centuries before Tongans and other Polynesians obtained metal from the outside world, they used miles and miles of sennit — kafa in Tongan, a strong flexible cordage created by braiding coconut-husk fibers together — to lash various parts of their wooden houses, canoes and other items together.   Thicker cords and...
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Community News

    Coming soon: Ukulele Experience! PCC’s new Ukulele Experience and the Ukulele Experience Gallery, which you will find just before the Ticketed Entrance inside the PCC, will be a great place to learn more about this popular instrument that’s practically synonymous with Hawaii around the world.   For example, did you know that Hawaii’s King Kalākaua learned both to play and make ukuleles from some of the same Madeira (Portugal) immigrants who introduced their predecessor-version of the instrument to the islands in 1879.     Learn more about ukuleles at the...
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First Tongan in the NFL Champions Educat...

    Two of the five men honored during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame enshrinement activities at the Polynesian Cultural Center on January 30, 2016, have close personal ties to Laie. One of them, the first Tongan to play in the NFL, took extra time to explain those ties and share a special message: Education is the goal young athletes should chase.     The first “Laie boy,” the late Al Lolotai Jr., received the PFHOF 2016 Contributor’s award. He was born in Sāmoa, but grew up in the community and in 1945 became the first Polynesian to play in the...
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The Beauty of Polynesia

    What is the real beauty of Polynesia? The media may focus on pictures of beautiful Polynesian woman dressed in hula skirts, with big brown eyes and long, luxurious hair. These quintessential islanders can make men swoon and women long for such genes. But the real beauty of Polynesia comes from the hearts of its people.   Those who have worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the loyal guests who visit us time and again will be happy to list off the people who have touched their lives…..honorable and gracious kapuna who have guided and influenced...
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Tonga Tapa

  One of my favorite activities to see at the Polynesian Cultural Center is the tapa making demonstration in Tongan. It’s not only fun to watch but very educational at the same time. I just think it’s amazing that cloth can be made out of the bark of a tree. As I Japanese guide I had the opportunity of introducing this special art of making tapa to people that come from around the world.     Tapa making is one of the most common heard sounds in Tonga, and a big part of Tongan culture. Its rhythmic sounds of women making Tapa is heard from morning till night, throughout...
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2016 January News

    Other PCC, community news   PFHoF players at PCC: The Polynesian Cultural Center welcomed its Class of 2016 inductees into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame during special induction ceremonies on Saturday, January 30 with:   Greetings at the PFHoF gallery near the PCC’s front entrance at 10:30 a.m. An enshrinement ceremony reception in The Gateway at 11 a.m. The enshrinement ceremony in the Hawaiian Journey Theater at 12 noon. An autograph session outside the theater at 1:30 p.m. A special inductee canoe parade at 2 p.m.   The player inductees are:...
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Hawaiian Slack-key Guitar

    Listen up for slack key in the Hawaiian Village   The popularity of Hawaiian music and instruments such as the steel guitar and ukuleles has spread around the world; and so, rightfully, part of the PCC’s cultural presentation in the village focuses on Hawaiian music broadly; and in a smaller slice of that part, if you’re really lucky, you might get the chance to hear Kaipo Manoa play what the Hawaiians call kī ho’alu — slack-key guitar. He’s really good!   Manoa, our PCC Hawaiian Village “chief” who’s originally from Nanakuli, Oahu, grew up listening to...
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Pounding Poi

    Poi pounding flavors our hula event   The PCC’s Hawaiian Village routinely offers visitors the opportunity to sample poi, or even try their hand at pounding boiled taro into the famous Hawaiian staple food; but during the 26th annual Moanikeala festival this year a Hawaiian man who virtually grew up in the village shared a special poi pounding opportunity.   As a young boy, Lono Logan was featured in thousands of early PCC pictures when his grandparents, Jubilee and Eugenia Logan, served as the first leaders in the village. “I was looked after by...
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26th Moanikeala Hula Festival

    PCC puts on 26th annual Moanikeala Hula Festival   Following a brief Hawaiian flag-raising ceremony, village “chief” Kaipo Manoa explained the festival honors the PCC’s original kumu hula, Aunty Sally Moanikeala Wood Naluai.   “I was really surprised at the spirit of Aunty Sally that was here. I think there were some things that were done spontaneously because everyone could feel her spirit here,” he said. “For example, I liked the way Aunty Joanie just started dancing. That was a once-in-a-lifetime treat.”   The Polynesian Cultural Center...
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Laie News

      Other PCC, community news     PCC’s ’12 Days of Christmas’: From December 10-23, 2015, the Polynesian Cultural Center celebrated the season with it’s “12 Days of a Christmas” — a wonderful series of special activities designed to enhance the holidays for families, that included free holiday canoe rides, a live nativity, photos with Santa, a train ride, lots and lots of lights, free entertainment and more! We hope you will be able to join us for Christmas 2016.   PFHoF announces College Player of the Year: The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, which...
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2015 Aloha Spirit Award – Mat Loto...

    Delsa Moe, Vice President Cultural Presentations and Jimmy Mapu, Director Guest Services (far left) join President of the Polynesian Cultural Center, Alfred Grace (far right) in congratulating Mat Lotomau (center with lei) who won the Spirit of Aloha Award along with Mat’s parents and the tour guides.   PCC presents annual ‘Spirit of Aloha’ award In a special “team” meeting on November 4 in the Hawaiian Journey Theater, the Polynesian Cultural Center presented its 2014-2015 Spirit of Aloha Award to Mathew “Mat” Lotomau.   “With this award, we...
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Mele and Iosepa 2015

    Christmas is a special time on the islands. We not only celebrate the joy and magic of the season, we know how to have fun! As a special holiday gift, we have prepared our own Christmas tale. Iosepa is our brave, Fijiian warrior. He is mighty, he is strong, he is a risk taker!  Iosepa tends to think of himself as quite the handyman. Mele begs to differ.     Mele and Iosepa met on a beautiful moonlit night, right after he performed a traditional Fire Walk.  Somehow the combination of burnt up heels and that snaggle toothed grin of his won her heart,...
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Tongan Dish – Lupulu

        Make your own Tongan lūpulu at home   You don’t need to live on a tropical island or cook in an underground oven to make lūpulu, one of Tonga’s most favorite dishes for your own feast:     As Alamoti Taumoepeau explained in another article on Tongan feasting, lūpulu is a delicious combination of coconut cream; corned beef (the pulu part of the name, from the English word “bull”), seasoned to taste with onions, salt, maybe some tomatoes and other condiments; and soft, young taro leaves (the lū part of the name) layed out in an aluminum pan and...
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Tonga, the Friendly Islands

    Malo e lele! Welcome to the friendly islands of the Kingdom of Tonga.   There are about 171 islands in the three main island groups of Tongatapu, Ha’apai, and Vava’u. Tonga has the distinction of being the only island nation that was never formally colonized by a foreign power and it is the last remaining monarchy in Polynesia. Many years ago, Tonga was given the nickname of the friendly islands because of the welcoming and congenial attitude shown to visitors. Today, tourism is increasing in Tonga as people travel to spear fish, whale watch, and enjoy the...
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Tonga Time

     Tonga, like it’s cousins across the Pacific, has it’s own approach to time. Today may mean tomorrow. Half an hour may be more like two hours or in some cases two days or even a week.   If you are a foreigner this may take a bit of adjusting to, but remember you are on holiday so just relax and go with it.   Big occasions like a street festival maybe changed from, let’s say, Monday the 14th to Tuesday the 15th. The change could be made on the 13th without much consultation. Although you may not know that the times have changed, the rest of the Kingdom...
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Tongan Feasting and Christmas Memories

    Tongan feasting: A serious custom   [Author’s note: I have attended Polynesian feasts where they cooked 200 pigs, and fed thousands of people . . . but the first time I sat down at a Tongan kaipola feast, I was truly impressed.]   An expression of love and gratitude: “I feel that Tongan feasting is driven by the same principles on which the American Thanksgiving holiday is based. It truly is an expression of love and gratitude. Also, it involves a sense of duty to maintain relationships among family and community members,” said Alamoti “Moti”...
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A Taste of Polynesia

  Pounders Restaurant now serves island plate meals As one of her first innovations, our new Pounders Restaurant manager has started showcasing one of our PCC islands during each Friday dinner time, starting with a Hawaiian plate — along with the proviso: “While supplies last.”       Losa Moors, who was recently promoted to head our new à la carte Pounders Restaurant in the Hukilau Marketplace, knows from long experience how popular Samoan and other island plate meals can be, especially among local people, so she suggests coming early. She also said Pounders will...
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2016 Polynesian Football Hall of Fame In...

  The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announces the Class of 2016 The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame (PFHoF), which partners with the Cultural Center on a permanent museum exhibit near the front entrance, announced its Class of 2016 on October 7. The new inductees are:       Charles Teetai Ane Jr. (Hawaiian, OL, USC; NFL, DET: 1953-1959): Born in Honolulu in 1931, passed away in 2007. Rockne Crowningburg Freitas (Hawaiian, OL, Oregon State; NFL, DET, 1968-1978): Freitas, who prepped at Kamehameha, owns a beach house in Laie Troy Polamalu (Samoan,...
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Training with the Heart and Soul of Poly...

Over the years the Polynesian Cultural Center has used various human resource training programs, many of them recognized around the world, but recently the PCC is taking a new tack — or more correctly, is turning to ancient Polynesian values to instill a PCC-specific spirit of excellence in all the people who work at this unique place.   Seamus Fitzgerald is the Director of Talent Management and has been challenged to develop our own program to “strengthen the organization so we can achieve our key objectives with excellence.” Fitzgerald — a Māori originally from Turangi,...
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Welcome to Fiji!

        “Bula Vinaka” and welcome to Fiji! This phrase means more than simple hello or greeting, and the speaker proclaims “good health” or “good life” to the hearer.    The approximate 330 inhabitable islands of Fiji are spread out over more than a million square kilometers of South Pacific ocean. This accounts for a greatly diverse culture that varies from island to island, as well as more than 30 distinct language dialects. The Fijian village in the Polynesian Cultural Center is typical of the Lau island group (located on the eastern edge of the...
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Meke, the Traditional Fijiian Dance

  When I first saw a Fijian dance at the Polynesian Cultural Center, I thought I would fall asleep. But each time I saw their performance, my appreciation grew for their songs, derua, and dances. I also grew to love the Fijian people. They are so giving, friendly, and take much pride in their culture.       Meke is the traditional style of dance, which is a combination of dance and story-telling through song. Both men and women perform in the meke, and the dance is viewed as a group collaboration in which men are expected to demonstrate strong, virile movements,...
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Laie News September 2015

    Laie continues to celebrate its sesquicentennial: In our July e-Newsletter, we mentioned that Laie is celebrating its Latter-day Saint sesquicentennial this year (1865-2015):   It’s been 150 years since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints purchased Laie Plantation, which is now home of the Laie Hawaii Temple (1919), Brigham Young University Hawaii (started as Church College of Hawaii in 1955, and renamed BYUH in 1974), and the Polynesian Cultural Center (1963).   The celebration kicks into high gear as we approach October and November, with the...
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Polynesian Football Hall of Fame

      Polynesian Football Hall of Fame    The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, which partners with the Polynesian Cultural Center in showcasing the organization’s permanent exhibit gallery near our front entrance, announced its roster of 25 finalists who will be on the ballot for induction into the PFHF Class of 2016. The 20 player finalists — including four with strong Laie and/or Kahuku High ties — in alphabetical order are:     Junior Ah You (DE) Arizona State; Pro: 12 years, CFL & USFL; Samoan Bob Apisa (FB/HB) Michigan State; Pro: NFL...
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Coconut Tree Climbing – Samoan Style!

    * Editor’s Note: Before trying this exercise, we suggest you be in the best physical shape possible, be of Polynesian descent and if necessary, have a physical check-up (just kidding, well maybe not because this skill is dangerous!).   Recently my wife called a Samoan young man to come over to my home to cut the coconuts off our two tall trees fronting our yard.       Hanging coconuts can get dangerous, especially on windy days when the coconut falls and nearly misses the kids.  We decided to be proactive and have them removed. Watching this young man...
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No Walls, No Problem: Life In a Samoan V...

    Talofa! Welcome to the Nu’u. This is where the “Happy People” of Samoa work, live, and celebrate. A courtyard is surrounded by high, domed structures favored by Samoans. Heavy tropical rain runs easily off the durable sugarcane roofs supported by tall posts. Each building is lashed together without any nails, compliments of savvy Samoan craftsmanship. A good roofing job can last 15 years!   You might ask yourself a question: How can such skilled builders forget to add walls on the house? Truth is, they have a good reason to leave them out. Take the dense...
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Palusami: A Samoan Staple

    Photo courtesty of Boschen American Samoa   Making palusami (PAW-loo-SAW-mee) is the man’s job in Samoa as is most of the traditional cooking. Anything that goes into the umu (oo-moo), a type of above-ground oven that uses red hot lava rocks to cook the food, is handled by the men. Palusami is one of the most delicious parts of any traditional Samoan meal.   Made simply from taro leaves and coconut milk it is best paired with umu-baked taro. However, many add onions, lemon juice and seasoning to the coconut milk. It all depends on your...
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August News Around Laie

        News in-and-around the PCC   Hukilau Marketplace, Laie Courtyard hotel dedication ceremonies: A General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially dedicated the Polynesian Cultural Center’s new Hukilau Marketplace on August 29, 2015.   “We held a ‘grand opening’ this past February 20, to introduce the Marketplace to the community and guests, and also to honor the families of those kūpuna [elders] whose names, stories and memories are included in the Marketplace design and concepts,” explained Kealii Haverly, PCC...
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Pounders Restaurant New General Manager

          Meet Pounders Restaurant’s new GM Meet David Nagaishi, a 40-year-plus veteran of Hawaii’s restaurant industry, who the Polynesian Cultural Center recently appointed as general manager of our new Pounders Restaurant in the Hukilau Marketplace. Nagaishi, who is from Honolulu, most recently worked at the Shore Bird and Ocean House Restaurants in the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel for 12 of those years. Among other establishments, he also worked at Nick’s Fish Market and opened the Mariposa Restaurant at Niemen Marcus in Ala Moana Center.   “I...
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Tita’s Grill brings local ‘grindz’ to Hu...

              Starting with a free breakfast for those Polynesian Cultural Center ohana or family members who were working the morning of August 10, one of Laie’s premier Samoan-Hawaiian families opened Tita’s Grill in the Hukilau Markeplace roulotte or food truck court.   Laie football and sports legend Junior Ah You, his beautiful wife Almira, and their extended family view their newest location at the PCC as an extension not only of their restaurant across from nearby Kahuku High, where Junior started his illustrious sports career, but...
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Senior Service Missionary Returns to PCC...

        In our July PCC e-newsletter we introduced some of you to a few of the Latter-day Saint “labor missionaries” who built the Polynesian Cultural Center. In this issue we introduce you to one of our current senior service missionaries who first came to the Cultural Center as a teenage boy in 1965.   Elder Alan Glaus  and his wife, Sister Michele Glaus, retired in May and recently left their home in Phoenix, Arizona, to voluntarily serve at the PCC for the next 18 months. They are two of approximately 30 senior missionaries currently serving at the...