One Ohana Sharing Aloha with President Kauwe
Submitted by: Delsa Moe, VP of Cultural Presentations
Mahalo PCC for your participation in today’s (10-19-21) parade celebrating President Kauwe’s inauguration. It was fun, colorful, well-represented, and filled with aloha. That is what One Ohana Sharing Aloha looks like.
Jimmy Mapu: Finding the Better Path
Submitted by: Sister Kristine Saunders, Archives
Caring for people is what Jimmy Mapu is all about. With a degree from BYU-Hawaii in Political Science Jimmy was all prepared to “defend the weak and punish evil” through a career in law. But life happens and paths change as he found out when tragedy struck his family. The choice to him was clear. Jimmy found himself moving towards a life of service. Now he is caring for students and guests at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He describes himself as “hungry for life, thirsty for knowledge and handsome.” Please meet Jimmy Mapu, Senior Manager of Guest Services.
Simi (Jimmy) Siaumau Enosa Mapu was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and attended Kahuku High School. Jimmy was named Simi after his father which is the Samoan version of the name James, in honor of James in the Bible. To avoid family confusion, the young Simi became “Jimmy” which sounds a lot like Simi.
Like most kids in the La’ie area, Jimmy and his sisters worked summers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. “My first position as a 12-year-old didn’t have a title”, he shared. “Aunty Celva Boon Toa hired my sisters and me to do odds and ends for her. We cleaned out storage closets, organized files, and did whatever else she told us to do.” They were paid $4.00 an hour and knew they were rich. Later he worked at the Ali’i Lu’au, Concessions, Security, and as a custodian at the Center and loved all of his jobs.
Jimmy served a mission in Japan and became a Japanese Guide while a student at BYU-Hawaii. After graduation from the University, Jimmy enrolled at the University of Hawaii for graduate school. He loved studying law, “how it’s structured, how it works, how it’s set up to protect the innocent, defend the weak, and punish evil.” He always knew that the law, “was what I was meant to do in life, and I prepared to spend a lifetime trying to find ways to help and serve others.”
To support himself as a graduate student, Jimmy worked as a bouncer at a couple of bars and clubs in Waikiki. “There were two of us that were LDS and the rest of the team called us ‘The Elders’. They knew we were members of the Church and treated us with respect and dignity because they knew we stood for something bigger than ourselves.” As a bouncer, Jimmy became very good at breaking up fights, throwing out troublemakers, and dealing with people who had too much to drink.
Jimmy’s time as a graduate student studying law was cut short when his younger brother, Daniel, was hit by a drunk driver and was permanently paralyzed. Doctors told Jimmy’s family to take time with Daniel now because his time was short.
Jimmy made the decision to leave graduate school to help his family care for Daniel. What was predicted to be a few short months actually lasted for the next 10 years. However, there are no coincidences in life. When Jimmy came home to help his family, a job at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Guest Services Department opened up. He said, “Tipa Galea’i was kind enough to hire me and teach me to be a leader here at the PCC.” Along the way Jimmy was mentored by Delsa Moe, Bobby Akoi, David Hannemann, Logoitoino Apelu, and Von Orgill who, “taught me everything I know and made sure I knew that the PCC is a special place of miracles. It’s not by chance that we find ourselves here, but instead, the Lord poked, prodded, led, and guided us to be a part of the work here in this corner of His vineyard.”
Jimmy credits the success of his department to his team. He said, “The students are the stars for sure. They do such great work.” The job in guest services is not easy. Jimmy says he tries to choose people with the personality, temperament, and ability to engage with others right away to work on his team. “We can teach new guides facts to share on tour and how to get around the Center. Anybody can do that. But to be excellent at this job takes more than that. It takes passion, dedication, and a true love of people. It requires a strong desire to serve and the ability to genuinely care for those around you.”
After the loss of his brother, Jimmy continued to work at the Polynesian Cultural Center. “I knew that I was far too blessed by my time here that I could no longer leave. I decided that my place was here and that I needed to work hard to find out what it is the Lord would have me do here. The Lord guides people to this place to be here and contribute.”
Jimmy is an excellent storyteller, and popular in local Facebook circles as he shares both humorous and touching experiences at work, home, and while traveling. He’s one of a kind; a true gentleman, friend, brother, son, and a one-man Kahuku High School cheering squad. Being around him is an opportunity to witness the Center’s focus of One Ohana sharing Aloha in action.
Recognizing the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 58th Anniversary
Submitted by: P. Alfred Grace, President & CEO
Aloha My PCC Ohana!
On October 12, 2021, the PCC quietly celebrated its 58th Birthday. Few attractions in Hawaii come close to us in years of operation, and fewer still, if any, have proven more popular. Exceeding the expectations of millions upon millions of guests for 58 years, while being a good ambassador of the church and providing work opportunities for tens of thousands of students at BYUH and thousands more in our community, is pretty dang awesome!
On a more somber note, October 12, 2021, was a very special birthday for the PCC because it was the first birthday after a year that threatened our very existence. A year of emptiness, no Ohana, no guests, no singing, no dancing, no laughter, even no water in the lagoon! As the days of closure turned into weeks and then months, I would often find myself walking on an overgrown path or in a dark, musty building and asking “how will we come back from this?”
Well, thanks to you, we did come back, and in many ways stronger and better than before. So to celebrate this very special birthday, I hope you will join me in taking a cue from “The Croods” grandmother and shouting with joy “We’re Still Alive!” followed by a resounding “Chee Hoo!”, cause that’s how we do it.
Elder Tom Davis
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