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Penesa wins 2019 World Fireknife Champio...

A panel of judges selected Falaniko Penesa of Puipa’a, Upolu, Samoa, as the 2019 World Fireknife champion. The finalists competed on May 11 during a sold-out performance of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s famous HA: Breath of Life evening show. Three former PCC World Fireknife Champions in finals “This was the first time we had a true battle of the champions at the end. All three of the finalists were former champions,” said Tagaloataoa Delsa Atoa Moe, PCC vice president of cultural presentations   Penesa — who previously won in 2017 — is a native Samoan and...
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A one-of-a-kind hands-on Polynesian cook...

See it, smell it, taste it, love it! Experience the REAL Polynesia If you venture beyond the urban buzz of Honolulu and head north, you’ll quickly find yourself in a tropical landscape that has remained relatively untouched. The small town of Lā’ie rests quietly on O’ahu’s North Shore and is home to Hawai’i’s number one paid attraction, The Polynesian Cultural Center! As detailed in our mission statement, our purpose is to “…share with the world the cultures, diversity, and spirit of the nations of Polynesia”. With our resolution in mind, we’ve created an all-new...
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World Fireknife Competition

Wednesday, May 8 – Saturday, May 11th at the Polynesian Cultural Center Competitors and fans from all over the world flock to the Polynesian Cultural Center once a year to see the World Fireknife Competition and the We Are Samoa festival. Ticket information and schedules for our  2019 competition are now available at www.worldfireknife.com! Heart-pounding action, top level competitors, and fire! Four nights and one amazing day of activities. You don’t wan’t to miss this, and now, with livestreaming, you’ll never have to!  This year is especially...
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Samoan Family Traditions: The Sacred Dut...

Ha: Breath of Life completes the Polynesian Cultural Center experience every evening in the Pacific Theater. People love this circle-of-life production that follows a young couple fleeing from a natural disaster, the birth of their son Mana, his coming of age and more — all performed beautifully through the perspectives of the various islands we represent at the PCC. Most of the cultural insights are obvious and pleasingly portrayed, but there’s at least one cultural “nugget” in the Samoan section of the Ha — when the young man Mana is smitten by the beautiful Lani — that...
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Powerful Polynesian symbolism you can se...

Polynesians use symbols to represent ideas, emotions, states of mind, phrases, movements, memories, loved ones and much more. The symbols can be embodied in words, names, carvings, lei, designs, dance, music, and so on. Hawaiians say many such representations have kaona, expressions with deeper meanings, concealed references or inuendos. The kaona might be beautiful or romantic, others sarcastic or pejorative. Many might appreciate an island song for its surface meaning, not realizing those who understand the kaona get a different meaning from the metaphorical words. Some...
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Presidents Council Achieving Results at ...

Leadership by the numbers Imagine an organization dedicated to portraying the best of ancient cultures in a modern environment. Add in executive leadership who must thoroughly understand both sides of that equation, and you begin to define the Polynesian Cultural Center’s seven-person President’s Council: They cumulatively tally an impressive 150-plus years of experience at the Center. All are college graduates, five from Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Five represent the cultures of Tonga, Samoa, Aotearoa and Fiji. All have strong ties to Polynesia. Five worked...
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Hawaiian Wood Carving Meaning & Tra...

Doug Christy, a 37-year veteran Maori wood carver for the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in Laie, Hawaii, learned his craft from his father, who also worked at the PCC for many years. Now he and the other senior carvers at the Center teach those same skills to a new generation of student workers. Christy explained that before hiring any of them, the department manager and senior carvers usually meet first with new student worker applicants to determine if they have the potential to learn carving. One thing stood out to Christy. He said, “For the first time, he noticed...
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Doug Christy Carries on Father’s Wood Ca...

Doug Christy, a Maori carver at the Polynesian Cultural Center for the past 37 years, is continuing the legacy of his father, the late Epanaia Whaanga Christy. The senior Christy, or “Uncle Barney”, worked at the Center until just a few months before he passed away at age 83 in 2004. Master carver ‘Uncle Barney’ Christy Uncle Barney was already a skilled carver in New Zealand in the early 1960s when he joined the team that created the original carvings for the PCC’s Maori Village. Doug, who was born about that time in Hamilton, New Zealand, was...