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Polynesian Cultural Center
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Polynesian Cultural Center, or PCC, was built in the early 1962. The idea of creating a cultural center for the Polynesian islands was first envisioned by Matthew Cowley, a Mormon missionary serving in New Zealand. He was inspired of the idea during a fishing festival called Hukilau , which involved a luau feast and merry entertainments. Cowley however, did not live to see his dreams realized when the Polynesian Cultural Center opened in 1962 as authorized by the highest Mormon leader at that time, President David O. Mckay.
HistoryPCC began with an amphitheater that could only seat 600 people. Today, PCC is a complete themed park that can house over thousands of tourists everyday except Sunday. It has multiple small villages inside representing the original architecture, culture, costume, and cuisine of 7 different Polynesian islands. The villages include Aotearoa (New Zealand), Fiji; Hawaii, Rapa Nui (Easter Island); Somoa, Tahiti; and Tonga.
The cultural center usually opens at midday welcoming the guests for a Polynesian lunch. Tours of the different villages commence as well. During the village tours, guests can participate in different activities in the villages like craft making, stick games, hula dancing, and many more. This way, the tourists can immerse themselves deeper on how every island's lifestyle is like. There is a long man-made river throughout the center where tourists can take fun canoe rides to view the entire theme park in a different way. It also lessens the traffic of guest touring around the villages. Tourists can also opt to stay out of the sun and cool down for a few minutes in the PCC's 4D IMAX theater. It shows the islands rich history and interesting geography. Tourists can also enjoy some shaved ice, ice cream, and all sorts of snacks within the themed park. They could also get themselves tribal henna tattoos.
After a whole afternoon of exploration, canoe rides, dance lessons, shows, and cultural activities, 5 restaurants open up its doors for dinner. The food is Polynesian and quite unique with names like mahi mahi, poi, and poke. There are 3 luaus and 2 fine-dining buffets called Island Buffet and Ambassadors. The luaus have on going shows and live music. After a hearty meal, the guests go on to the amphitheater for the night show. The night show starts around 8PM and lasts for about an hour of intriguing, touching, and comical musical play called Ha: The Breath of Life.
OrganizationUnlike most tourists attractions in Hawaii and all over the world, tipping by the guests to the cultural center's employees is highly discouraged. Polynesian Cultural Center is a non-profit organization. Its earnings funds scholarships for thousands of international students in the university adjacent to it called Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Many of the students come from the United States, Latin America; Europe, Africa; Asia, Australia; and the Polynesian islands. Most of the scholarship participants are from underprivileged families in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Polynesia . There are tons of other BYUH students that work part time at the PCC who are not scholars. They are from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Mongolia, USA, and Latin America. They help eliminate language barrier among those who come from all over the world and may speak little English. Tour guides and waiters speak fluent Japanese, Chinese; Korean, Spanish; Portuguese, Russian; German, French; and many other languages. There are also local workers at the PCC like high school students and residents from the nearby communities. The PCC, through its employment opportunities and scholarship programs, helps thousands of individuals locally and internationally.
How to Get ThereThe Polynesian Cultural Center is located in the North Shore of Oahu, away from the bustling city life. It is around an hour drive from Hawaii's main city - Honolulu. Laie, the small town where the PCC is situated, is a peaceful community with nice secluded beaches, and an international university, one shopping center, and an elementary school. There are buses that head to the North Shore. Tourists can easily find one at the Ala Moana mall, which is a big and popular mall in Honolulu. Tourists can also sign up for PCC's tour buses. Tour buses picks up guests directly from their hotel and then drive them back there after the PCC night show.
There are other places in the island that provide Polynesian shows like the ones in Waikiki beach, and big malls. However, none of them is as big as the shows at the PCC. Other remarkable places to check out in Oahu island are Sea Life Park, Honolulu Zoo; Pineapple Plantation, Waimea Valley; Pearl Harbor Memorial, Turtle Bay; China Man's Hat, and many hiking trails like Diamond Head, Koko Head, and Pali Lookot.
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Author: kimn. Last updated: Feb 10, 2015