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Hawaii's Most Popular Paid Activity

by Terry Reim
South Pacific Islanders Earn Scholarships at Polynesian Cultural Center, Hawaii's Most Popular Activity 

Created by Mormons over half a century ago, the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Oahu is Hawaii's most popular paid activity. It includes an authentic Hawaiian luau, the world's largest night stage show, and re-created villages from seven different Polynesian cultures.

Since opening in 1963, more than 33 million visitors have been introduced to the Polynesian people, their arts and customs, and nearly 15,000 Brigham Young University-Hawaii students have helped finance their educational objectives while working as the friendly guides, performers and other Polynesian Cultural Center employees serving people from all over the world.


Hawaii's Polynesian Cultural Center, located about an hour's drive from Waikiki showcases seven native Polynesian villages that give visitors the rare opportunity to participate in the daily adventures of Hawaiian and other South Pacific cultures. Many South Pacific nations are represented at the Polynesian Cultural Center, where re-created villages, exhibits and hands-on activities highlight 8 of them: Samoa, Aotearoa (Maori New Zealand), Fiji, Hawaii, Marquesas, Tahiti, Tonga and Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
  • Meet, learn about and interact with the people of Hawaii, Samoa, Maori New Zealand (Aotearoa), Fiji, Tahiti, the Marquesas and Tonga
  • Watch Hawaii's only canoe pageant
  • Experience an authentic Hawaiian luau, a dinner-show feast fit for an ali'i (royal chief).
  • Take in the world-famous evening show, "Horizons: Where the Sea Meets the Sky"
  • Participate in family activities from all of Polynesia.

Founding of the Nonprofit Polynesian Cultural Center

Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (popularly called the Mormons) were working among the Polynesians in Tahiti and surrounding South Pacific islands as early as 1844. Missionaries arrived in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in 1850. By 1865, the LDS Church had purchased the 6,000-acre plantation that encompasses all of the town of Laie on Oahu.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a 42-acre facility on the North Shore of Oahu. Founded in 1963, the nonprofit Center was created so that the Pacific Island students of nearby Brigham Young University, Hawaii could work their way through college by sharing their island heritage with visitors. University students come from an area that covers approximately 12 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean.. Although it is largely a commercial venture, profits from the PCC are applied to various scholarship programs run by BYU-Hawaii.

Many of the BYU-Hawaii scholarship students work up to 20 hours per week during school terms and full time during breaks in order to graduate debt-free. The money visitors pay for admission, as well as profits from food and gift sales, supports the scholarship programs, which have educated thousands of Polynesians students since its inception. Visitors are invited to take bus tours of the university to "see where your money is going," and to see the Laie Hawaii Temple visitor center.

Travel Throughout Polynesia in a Single Day


At the heart of the PCC experience are the island villages, which offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about -- and participate in -- the customs of each island. Visitors are encouraged to take part in a number of authentic activities, representing everything from island games and crafts to food preparation and war training skills. An authentic Hawaiian luau, all-you-can-eat buffets, a canoe pageant, an IMAX™ theater, shops and the world's largest evening show are all part of the experience.

With its large lagoon, waterfalls, lush tropical flora, and an "erupting" volcano, the Polynesian Cultural Center captures all the romance and excitement of the South Pacific islands. A visit here represents a chance to travel through Polynesia in a single day, and participate in the celebration of centuries of Polynesian culture -- no passport is required.

Several villages provide more adventurous activities than the normal cultural presentations that have been scheduled throughout the day. These new activities now available include Spear Throwing, Fire Walking, Wood & Tiki Carving, Fire Pit Cooking, Tree Climbing, Fire Starting, Fire Knife Dancing, Tattoos, Haka Dance, Maori War Canoe, Coconut Husking.

Hawaii has become world-renowned as a special place of enchantment, entertainment and education. The allure of old Polynesia lingers among the Pacific island people who demonstrate their traditional arts and crafts and perform their lively songs and dances at the Polynesian Cultural Center from noon till 10pm, 7 days a week.

http://www.hawaiiactive.com/activities/oahu-polynesian-center-day.html
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About the Author

Terry Reim has more than 25 years' experience as an editor and writer in newspaper, magazine, trade book, textbook, and technical publishing, He has also authored numerous books himself, including the 13 annual editions of the Daily Planet Almanac (1975-1987) and Kicking the Bucket (with Kim Long, 1986).


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