People from all around the world come to the Polynesian Cultural Center, one of the best attractions in Hawaii. They come to experience the island’s culture, hands-on activities, and the spirit of Aloha. I am honored that I have been able to works at the Polynesian Cultural Center as a language tour guide. I have some first-hand experiences on how presenting Polynesian cultures brought me and my customers to understand the spirit of Polynesia.
Learning about the Spirit of Polynesia
Before COVID-19 I worked as a Chinese language tour guide as a part-time job as I pursued my education at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Both the university and the Center are in the beautiful town of Laie on the island of Oahu. Each tour guide in the Polynesian Cultural Center is trained intensively for two to three months to understand each village presented in the Center—Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Fiji, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and, of course, Hawaii. I was able to use the knowledge I have been trained on and introduce them to the Chinese-speaking people who came from China, Hong Kong, and my homeland Taiwan. Though these Polynesian cultures are presented differently from each other and from the culture group of my customers, I was able to relate all back to the same theme which each culture shares – home and family.
The common link across the world is family
As I brought my customers to the village of Aotearoa, we were able to see the higher tower wall that symbolizes Maori people’s commitment to the protection of their families. We could also see how other Polynesian people value the family as we watched the traditional wedding ceremony in the village of Tahiti. The night show —HA: Breath of Life— echoes with the theme of family and how it could relate to each customer in their life. This was especially significant as I watched my customers holding the hands of their loved ones to explore the Polynesian Cultural Center.
The Polynesian Cultural Center indeed serves as a place to help people find the spirit of Polynesia, the spirit of family, and the spirit of Aloha.