Polynesian Cultural Center
|Location||Laie, Hawaii, USA|
|Owner||Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
|Opened||October 12, 1963|
|Area||42 acres (17 ha)|
The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is a Polynesian-themed theme park or living museum located in Laie, on the northern shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Owned by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and dedicated on October 12, 1963, the PCC occupies 42 acres (17 ha) owned by nearby Brigham Young University–Hawaii.
Within eight simulated tropical villages, performers demonstrate various arts and crafts from throughout Polynesia. Visitors may also take a free shuttle tour of the university and see the Laie Hawaii Temple and its associated visitors' center of the LDS Church.
Seventy percent of the center's approximately 1,300 employees are students at BYU-Hawaii.1 Although it is largely a commercial venture, PCC profits fund various scholarship programs at BYU–Hawaii. Students may work up to 20 hours per week during school terms and 40 hours during breaks.
The center was opened in 1963 as a way to provide employment and scholarships for students at BYU-Hawaii and to preserve the cultures of Polynesia. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s hukilau and luau beach gatherings to earn money to rebuild a local chapel belonging to the LDS Church, which had been destroyed in a fire. "The Hukilau Song," made famous by Alfred Apaka, was written following the composer and song's original singer, Jack Owens's visit to Lāʻi.e.'s hukilau.2
The PCC is one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Hawaii. The PCC is the venue for the annual World Fire Knife Dance Competition, in which contestants display their skill with blazing swords. Since opening its doors in 1963, over 32 million people have visited the center.
In addition to the daytime exhibits and demonstrations, PCC features an evening show for an additional charge. As of 2011 the show is a multicultural Polynesian show titled Hā–Breath of Life. The show features songs and dances from throughout Polynesia, including the Hula, tamure, otea, titi torea, haka, poi, meke, tauʻolunga, and Taualuga. Past shows include "This is Polynesia", "Mana: The Spirit of Our People.", and Horizons: Where the Sea Meets the Sky.
The Lagoon hosts a "parade" of canoes that showcases the signature dances of each of Polynesian culture. The current show "Rainbows of Paradise", which premiered in May 2010, was preceded by "This is Polynesia" and "Ancient Legends of Polynesia".
Each of the major Polynesian cultures has its own section, centered on a traditional village. Hourly performances and cultural learning experiences take place in these villages. Villages include:
In addition to the villages, the PCC has a special exhibit dedicated to Rapa Nui (Easter Island or Isla de Pascua) and a tribute to the 1850s LDS mission.
Visitors may participate in a luʻau,3 such as the Aliʻi Luʻau ("Royal Feast"), which offers traditional Polynesian fare, including pork cooked in an imu (an underground oven). They can observe the roasted pig in the imu prior to the meal.
PCC hosts many special events, highlighting Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian and Māori cultures along with a Christmas festival and a Haunted Lagoon. Others include Moanikeala Hula festival and World Fireknife Championships and Samoa festival.
- Media related to Polynesian Cultural Center at Wikimedia Commons
- The Official Polynesian Cultural Center Website
- PCC 50 Year Anniversary website (official)
- The "Haunted Lagoon" Event Website
- The Polynesian Cultural Center's YouTube Channel