Article #1: Introducing Creasepaul
Submitted by: Sister Kristine Saunders, Archives
If you want to know why there aren’t any coconuts in the trees at Waikiki but so many at the Polynesian Cultural Center? Ask Creasepaul. Or, why the men do the cooking in Samoa and not the women? Ask Creasepaul. And, what do the women do? Again, just ask the very original Creasepaul Tofa, Senior Cultural Ambassador for the Samoa Village.
Creasepaul was born and raised in Samoa; many places in Samoa. He started primary school on the Big Island of Savaii until third grade when his family moved to Apia, the capital city on the island of Upolu. The family later moved back to Savaii, then back to Apia again where he attended Vaimea elementary school. For high school Creasepaul attended a Catholic school called Chanel College then transferred to, and graduated from, Church College of Samoa. His family was always on the move. Growing up, Creasepaul liked sports and played a little rugby, soccer and a lot of cricket.One of the privileges of being a parent is getting to choose a name for your child. The movie, Grease, with John Travolta was released in 1978. Creasepaul’s mother loved the movie so much that when Creasepaul was born in 1979, “she decided to name me after the movie, but instead of ‘grease’, she replaced the G with a C. But I was supposed to be named after one of my uncle’s. His name is Paulo. Adding Paulo at the end of Grease might be a little hard, so they translated to English and Greasepaulo became Creasepaul.” Have you ever heard of anybody else named Creasepaul? “No, I’m the very original.”
Creasepaul came to BYU-Hawaii in 1999 as a student and started working at the Polynesian Cultural Center as a dancer in the canoe and night shows. In fact, Creasepaul met his future wife, Kerriann Camit, when they were dancers at the night show. Their oldest daughter is currently a student at the University of Hawaii. Their son will graduate from high school this year and their youngest daughter is a high school junior.
Creasepaul has held many jobs during his 18 years at the PCC including working in the laundry and at the warehouse. Creasepaul is a talented carver and took some time away from the PCC to work on a business carving bone and wood. Soon the Polynesian Culture Center started calling him home. This time to the Samoa Village. It is Creasepaul’s responsibility as Senior Cultural Ambassador to portray the culture of Samoa. He is someone who knows the “chiefly tongue and protocols.” Guests can watch his Samoan cooking demonstrations where he playfully addresses the question, “Why don’t women cook in Samoa?” He will also answers any questions visitors have about Samoa or the Polynesian Cultural Center. When Kap, the regular host of the Samoan entertainment, takes time off Creasepaul smoothly fills in to host the show.
People wonder about Creasepaul’s tattoos. “To me, it’s so like a rite of passage to prepare men to become a man or to become mature.” Tattoos are, “only done when your parents agree with it. It is something that is suggested for you to do later on in life. So, 18 years old and older is the right age for a young boy to get your tattoo.” Creasepaul always looked up to his uncle who got a tattoo honoring their legacy. “A man with a tattoo in our village is looked up to as a man who is a hard worker and knows how to work; a good provider.”
Creasepaul came to the Polynesian Cultural Center when he was 20 years old. He was a shy young boy and gives credit to the PCC for being the place where he was exposed to the many cultures of Polynesia, given the opportunity to learn many new skills, and “dive deep” into the Samoan culture. He gives thanks and credit to the many people in the Samoa Village who mentored him and who he looked up to for leadership through the years. He has many friends who have left the PCC for better paying jobs, but “the knowledge that they got from here is something that they can forever hold. They’re using that same knowledge as a way of life. I owe a lot to this place because I learned a lot about myself. I discovered I am forever grateful for the Polynesian Cultural Center.”
Article #2: Honolulu Business Publication Presents Award to Delsa Moe
Submitted by: Seth Casey, Senior Director of Marketing
Pacific Business News, Honolulu’s leading business publication for almost 60 years, presented one of its 24th annual “Women Who Mean Business” Awards to Tagaloataoa Delsa Atoa Moe, PCC Vice President of Cultural Presentations, at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki on March 31, 2022. In listing her qualifications, and 40-plus years of experience, PBN also recognized her as the “matriarch” of the Center.
Moe, who was born and raised in Samoa, holds the traditional high talking-chief title, Tagaloataoa, which is centered in Sāfune, Savaii. She came to Laie to attend Brigham Young University–Hawaii in 1979 — simultaneously becoming a student dancer at PCC — and after graduating in travel industry management in 1983, the Center hired her full–time the following year. Since then, she worked in the Sales, Reservations, Guest Services, Theater, and Marketing departments before the Center named her Vice President of Cultural Presentations in 2015.
“Working with the students has been the most satisfying and rewarding part of my job,” Moe said. “For many of our students who come, PCC is their first job. We help them go from being shy, timid, and unconfident, to articulate and engaging. After a couple semesters, they’re in front of complete strangers, conducting tours and performing with confidence, like they’ve been doing it for years.”
“You fall in love with them. They become like your own kids. When they graduate and go home, they take a little piece of our hearts with them, but we’re always so proud of them, too.”
“We’d love to keep them all, but they’ve got families to go back to, lives to live. Many will become future leaders, and we’re very proud we’ve been a small part of their success. We can’t wait to see what else they might accomplish in the future.”
Moe also noted however, working with student school schedules and progress toward graduation also means more frequent turnover than other industries might experience. Plus, of course, the PCC closed for 11 months during the height of the Covid pandemic, so re-staffing and training its 350 employees is currently a big responsibility.
For example, Moe occasionally finds herself called onto the evening show stage to substitute as a kūpuna dancer, or represent the Queen Lili’uokalani character during the luau dinner show.
Moe also explained that while she was honored to receive the PBN award, she pointed out many Polynesians typically do not seek public acclaim. Even so, while becoming associated with the other honorees, she soon realized “there are some really fantastic women leaders in Hawaii.”
“Everybody worked for different companies, but we all basically strived to do a good job. We’re doing it for our families. It was enriching for me to meet these women and know there are so many of us who are trying to help others succeed. That was rewarding. I felt honored to be in their company.”
“I also thought this was a good opportunity to represent all the women leaders at the Cultural Center, to give them more recognition for all the good they do. I just happen to be the one who was nominated.”
Moe is currently the PCC’s only female vice president, although Fifita Unga, former Vice President of Food Services, retired at the outset of the pandemic; and there are other female managers and supervisors at the Center.
“This was really an honor for the PCC,” Moe continued. “I express appreciation to all the women who work here. I know most women work outside the home not because they want to, but because they have to. Living in Hawaii is not an easy thing to do.”
“I’ve experienced the heartache that comes with juggling a professional career and family life — not being able to be there for some events or staying home with a sick child; but I’m grateful to work for an organization that understands how important a mom is in her family’s life, and is supportive when we need to take care of our families. I know there are female employees who struggle with having to work to provide for their families. I have a lot of aloha for them being able to do it well.”
“The PCC is very proud of Delsa, for all the contributions and sacrifices she’s made,” responded P. Alfred Grace, President and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center, “all done while raising her own admirable family and serving the Church and community.”
“I love working with her on the President’s Council. Her input carries a lot of weight as we’re committed to portraying the finer aspects of Polynesian culture with excellence. On behalf of the Polynesian Cultural Center, I join with all of you who also recognize and benefit from her amazing abilities in saying mahalo, Delsa, for your distinguished service and congratulations on your most recent award.”
Article #3: Hawaii Restaurant Association Honors Greg Maples
Submitted by: Seth Casey, Senior Director of Marketing
The Hawaii Restaurant Association inducted Greg S. Maples, Polynesian Cultural Center Vice President of Culinary Services, into its Hall of Fame during a special 14th annual gala at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel on February 28, 2022 and honored him as one of its “pandemic champions and industry advocates.”
In their statement, the HRA said, “The inductees are select individuals who have demonstrated dedication and commitment to the growth of the restaurant and food service industry in Hawaii, contributed to the enhancement of its quality and image, and demonstrated service through outreach.”
Maples, who has more than 35 years of experience in the culinary industry and has also been serving simultaneously as Chairman of the HRA since 2020, shared a prerecorded video message at the gala because he was visiting his ailing father in Tennessee at the time. His wife, Trish Maples, who operates a beauty salon in the PCC’s Hukilau Marketplace, received the award on his behalf.
Maples joined the Cultural Center in 2016 after previously owning 80 Sonic Drive-ins in Tennessee and serving as COO for Curry Development, which operates 196 Subway® and Winchell’s Donuts outlets in Las Vegas.
He now oversees all the PCC’s culinary operations, including Concessions, Pounders fine dining restaurant, food wagons at Hukilau Marketplace, the Gateway Restaurant, and the popular Ali’i Luau (with Onipa’a dinner show) that on the busiest evenings operates in multiple venues.
Maples explained the Cultural Center encouraged him to join the 3,600-member HRA because of its ProStart culinary program for high school students. “I really thought it was very important that the PCC established some kind of connection with Kahuku High School — a culinary program where we can give students a real shot at good-paying, skilled jobs and training, that we might even send some of them to culinary school.”
He also said he was surprised when the HRA soon after asked him to serve as its chairman in 2020, “just as it became clear COVID was going to be with us.” But, he added, the position quickly offered him opportunities to work with Hawaii Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, and all the other mayors throughout Hawaii in establishing and implementing culinary industry standards.
During the pandemic that followed, Maples conducted 375 local and national media interviews, “and at one point Mayor Blangiardi and I talked daily. I also got the chance to work with some of Hawaii’s longest and most tenured restaurateurs.”
“Throughout all this, I felt the weight of not only representing 3,600 restaurants, but also of representing the Polynesian Cultural Center, because I had the chance a lot of times to influence the guidelines that pertain to places like theme parks.”
“President Grace was so good about allowing me to wear both hats,” Maples continued. “When PCC closed for 11 months, that was a really tough time. In fact, I sent the PCC President’s Council an email recently, which said for 721 days I’ve been checking all the media sources every day at nine o’clock, because that’s when the COVID count came out; and on day 721, they didn’t report it, because COVID was over.”
He readily admitted he, “prayed hard, so many days, for the Lord to guide me and to tell me what to say, and the Lord blessed me. He sustained me through the whole thing. There were times that I would say things that I knew were not my words.”
“Every day, I took very seriously who I represented — all the restaurant owners and operators in all the islands of Hawaii, and not only our PCC employees but the people who came before us to build the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was really about the people and legacy of the PCC.”
In response, Polynesian Cultural Center President and CEO P. Alfred Grace expressed his appreciation for all Maples has accomplished so far in both his leadership capacities, and the relationships he’s developed with government, media, and Hawaii tourism officials.
“During the middle of the Covid crisis, I told Greg we trust him. We’re very proud of all his contributions, especially those he has made at the Cultural Center, and the experience and wisdom he brings to our executive leadership council.”
“I know he would rather redirect any praise to others, but we’re fortunate the Spirit led him and Trish to visit the Center years ago following a family tragedy in Las Vegas, and we’ve all been blessed ever since.”
“Under Maples’ direction,” President Grace said, “guest satisfaction ratings for all PCC dining venues, especially the Gateway Restaurant and Ali’i Luaus, have dramatically improved and are currently at their highest levels on record.”
Article #4: Taste Polynesia
Submitted by: Delphia Lloyd, Social Media Specialist
The Polynesian Cultural Center is excited to announce the launch of our newest social media brand, Taste Polynesia. Taste Polynesia’s mission is to continue sharing the cultures of Polynesia through food and we invite everyone to join us by following the brand on Instagram and TikTok.
Make sure you are subscribed to the Polynesian Cultural Center YouTube channel as well so you can be updated when we add new videos to the Taste Polynesia playlist.
Article #5: 5 Historic Moments in Laie History
Submitted by: Nina Jones, Lead Blogger
Guest Blogger Hailey Christensen shares five Historic Moments in Laie History that may prove helpful for visitors who are interested in knowing about the little town of Laie. Including the famous Polynesian Cultural Center, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Laie Hawaii Temple, Hukilau Beach and Lanihuli Home. Click here to read the full blog!
Article #6: Safety Corner
Submitted by: Todd Nicholes, Safety Officer
Recently one of my sons and his family came to visit us here on the island. My wife was cooking breakfast and had put some bacon grease in a soda pop can to dispose of it. The can was left sitting on the stove when my daughter-in-law came walking by and grabbed the soda pop can bringing it to her lips; just in the nick of time Sister Nicholes cried out to stop explaining that is hot bacon grease! We almost had an accident that would have made a wonderful vacation a bit of a tragedy.
Unmarked containers of chemicals in the workplace can have the same effect on our PCC Ohana. Every chemical container must be marked with the chemical name and what hazard the chemical is to the human body.
These containers are called secondary containers and need to be marked in a way that will identify what is in the bottle, and the hazard (i.e., corrosive, flammable, explosive, toxic etc.).
A common chemical used in many areas to disinfect surfaces is Ecolab’s Oasis 146, a proper marking would look like this:
In this particular case I am quite sure that the container below does not contain breakfast crackers. If you need to use this type of container cross out the label indicating it is breakfast crackers. Then with a permanent marker write what the container holds. This appears to be paint. For illustration let us consider this to be a Sherwin-Williams exterior paint. The product name would be hand written on the container as “A-100 Exterior Acrylic Latex” and the hazard according to the SDS is “Carcinogenicity”. This means it may cause cancer and therefore should only be applied in a well-ventilated area, i.e., open windows, may need to provide a fan to keep the area ventilated.
To keep these containers properly marked it takes all of us working together applying the proper labelling to keep us all safe.