Most Popular Paid Activity
| by Terry Reim
Scholarships at Polynesian Cultural Center, Hawaii's Most Popular
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.
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.
of the Nonprofit Polynesian Cultural Center
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.
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
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.
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).