Yesterday was a quiet day because we knew today was going to be busy. Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center is an all day affair that entails a lot of walking. The complex is very large. To do it properly one should make a plan on how to visit each area that highlights one Polynesian culture, so you can see them all – Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and one called Aotearoa. Until now I’ve never heard of that one. According to wikipedia Aotearoa is the current Māori-language name for New Zealand. What a surprise. If any of you out there can tell me they knew this, please let us all know when this happened.
The drive to the Center was stunning as the road follows the water most of the way along the North Shore.
I showed you the rocks first, but in reality most of the drive looks like the following. Lots of sand.
We didn’t do any of that planning I mentioned. We just entered the area, turned right and started walking. It’s hard to focus on just one aspect because there are demonstrations, and events going on all around you as you walk and with everything already in progress it’s difficult to join in and figure out what’s going on. So we simply took it all in as we encountered it and enjoyed all of it. Turn a corner and you see a group of people with guitars and ukuleles singing beautiful songs. Another corner is an ancient Tahitian wedding ceremony. There are canoe rides sailing through the water that flows around the entire complex, and young people in bright shirts everywhere ready to answer any question you may have. All of them are either students of adjacent Brigham Young University, or volunteers. Here’s one of them. Her name (we think) is Becky …
She’s a BYU Alum who was a Special Ed teacher for 30 years. She plays the ukulele too. Gives lesson, even. Nice Lady.
The student guides are representatives of the area you’re currently visiting at the time and they’re incredibly friendly. Also, as you might expect, they all speak the language of the area they’re in and they do their best to teach everyone simple phrases. It’s pretty special.
Our visit began around 12:30 pm and lasted until about 9:45 pm. That’s over 6 hours of wandering around all the venues, shops and demonstrations, 1 hour to eat a pretty inclusive buffet dinner with treats from each culture, and a 1.5 hours dynamite show about life. It’s named “Ha’ The Breath of Life”. Diane and I agree that the show is more than equal to any show we’ve ever seen in Las Vegas. It’s worth every penny.
Almost all of the entertainers who put on the show are BYU students and alumni, many of which we saw on our journey through the various countries. We talked with many as we wandered throughout the day, and seeing them in this highly professional production was special.
The auditorium is enormous and we were fortunate enough to be located only 6 rows from the main stage. I want you to visualize a very wide bowl-shaped venue with the flat bottom probably 150 feet in diameter. About half of the inside is a beach side village, the remainder of the bowl’s innards are where people sit. The slope of the seating area is gentle with very wide stairs in the aisles. I suspect the auditorium can hold a few thousand people in very comfortable, uncrowded seats. Everyone has a good view of the entire venue.
Sadly, photos of the show are prohibited so I have none. I can, however, offer THIS LINK that pretty much covers everything.
I got a tribal tattoo in Tahiti. Didn’t hurt even one little bit.
And it washed right off with just a washcloth.
We got back to our condo long after our normal curfew but it was a day well spent. If you ever get to Oahu, put this on your must do list. It’s pretty incredible