The islands throughout Polynesia are made up of rich cultural traditions passed down through the centuries, and even millennia, to this very day. Polynesia is best identified geographically by the Polynesian Triangle, which identifies the Pacific Islands falling within the three corners of Hawaii to the north, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to the south-east and Aotearoa (New Zealand) to the south-west. Culturally all of these islands share some unique ties, from similar languages to lifestyles, that tie them all together. That being said, there are differences that make each island group peculiar in their own right. And those peculiarities can be discovered at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC).
The PCC, located just fifteen minutes south of Turtle Bay Rentals on the Turtle Bay Resort, is an attraction whose mission is to “share with the world the cultures, diversity and spirit of the nations of Polynesia.” At the PCC, they specifically share the culture of six island groups—Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Tahiti (within French Polynesia).
Throughout the day, one is able to visit each of the six villages in order to learn about what makes each of these island groups peculiar from the rest. Below is a quick peak into what one can expect while visiting each village:
In the Hawaiian village one will learn some basic hula movements, how to harvest and cook taro (a root similar to a sweet potato) as well as turn it into the staple food known as “poi” (mashed taro).
In the Samoan village one will learn how to make fire with two sticks, crack open a coconut with a rock, make coconut milk with one’s own bare hands as well as watch a native climb a forty foot coconut tree bare footed.
In the Fijian village one will learn the cultural significance of the “lali” (log drum) as well as try playing it. One will also check out a variety of native Fijian clubs and weapons used at war in past ages.
In the Tongan village one will be introduced to the Tongan “ta nafa” (drumming) during a comedic presentation. One will then learn how to play a Tongan shuffleboard game, called “lafo,” and throw “tolo” (spears).
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
In the Aotearoa Village, the Maoris will explain the cultural meaning of their hand carved meeting houses and unusual facial tattoos. One will then learn the origin and meaning behind protruding their tongues while performing the “haka” (war dance).
Tahiti (within French Polynesia)
In the Tahitian village one will witness and try the hip swaying “tāmūrē” (a dance performed by women and men). One will then be able to stop by the cooking hut for some fresh Tahitian coconut bread.
Ali’i Luau and Hukilau Marketplace:
In addition to the villages, throughout the day there are various presentations done throughout PCC. But one of the great attractions includes the Ali’i Luau, where one is able to feed buffet style on some choice Polynesian dishes while watching dances and listening to live music from the various island cultures.
Of course, there are also plenty of food options located within the Hukilau Marketplace—from burgers, salads and pizzas at Pounders to Delice Crepes to barbecue at Ray’s Kiawe Broiled Chicken.
Night Show—Hā–Breath of Life
The night show, entitled Hā–Breath of Life, is a must see to wrap up the experience for every visitor to the PCC. Hā expresses the Polynesian cultural dances through the story of a boy passing through the various stages from a child to adult.