Polynesian Cultural Center: Huki

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! 

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The Polynesian Cultural Center is a theme park preserving the cultures of  Polynesia on Oahu, with six villages representing different nations in Polynesia surrounding a central lagoon. In the early afternoon, we gathered in the seating around the lagoon to watch the parade of canoes.

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Performers entered the lagoon on double hulled canoes, telling the story of the earth mother giving birth to the islands of Polynesia through the dances from Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji and Hawaii. We sat in the Fijian section and were told to cheer on the performers by yelling ‘Bula!’

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The title of the show is ‘Huki’ which means to pull, a reference to the god Maui pulling the islands up from the sea with his fish hook. At one point, my daughter asked me if they borrowed the story from Moana and I had to explain that Disney based Moana on ancient Polynesian mythology.

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The pageant also explained the origins of the Polynesian Cultural Center. In the 1950s, Hawaiian members of the Mormon church began the tradition of the Hukilau…they would attract tourist to a performance of native dance on the beach and serve fish pulled fresh from the sea in an effort to raise money to rebuild their church, which had burned down.

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This evolved into the luau and the theme park and a mission to preserve Polynesian culture.

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Location: 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie, HI 96762

Designation: Cultural Theme Park

Date established/designated: 10/12/1963

Date of my visit: April 12, 2019

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14 thoughts on “Polynesian Cultural Center: Huki

  1. We enjoyed a visit here with our sons. We knew all was a bit contrived, but it was the best way to get a glimpse of so many Polynesian cultures. Thanks for the memories T. Allan

    1. Yes. There is a campus of Brigham Young University nearby. LDS gives the performers from the various countries a scholarship in exchange for their work. Yes, a lot like Epcot but with no alcohol

    2. It is a super nice place to visit and it gives you a ticket for three days to revisit again because it’s big and fun. You put hands on learning to make things, dance, play ukulele, taste things, watch shows and the cherry on the top in the Evening Show. It’s a whole day out there with a dinner included according to your wish, Hawaiian style Luau or a fine dinning.
      The part time workers are students, yes, majority of them come from those islands and naturally they share their culture at ease and with a big smile.

  2. The best 5 years of working in my life was in the Polynesian Cultural Center as a student at the near by BYU-Hawaii.
    Truly a place of learning and appreciating the variety of cultures and the fish traditions of the Polynesian Islands. I recommend that place as a number one visit on the island of Oahu. 🤙

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