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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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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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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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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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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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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...