Saturday, June 11, 2011

Polynesian Cultural Center

What trip to Oahu would be complete without a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center. This was one of the things I remembered doing when my family came to this Island, long, long ago. I was about Sophie's age the last time I came here. But I remember some of the things I saw here at the center.

First we sat in the hot sun and waited for the parade of canoes to start.
Each of the Islands represented here at the PCC had a little barge where they performed a short little dance.
Aotearoa - Maori (New Zealand) I hadn't ever heard New Zealand called by that name but I guess it is the name the Maori people call it.

Hawaiian royalty

After the boat parade we headed to the villages to watch the performances and do some of the crafts.
Our first village was Samoa. Here they had a very funny Samoan man show us how to start a fire with two sticks. He also showed us how to break open a coconut and drink the milk and scrape out the meat. It was amazing how quickly he could do it!
He also showed us how they climb up a coconut tree to get to the ripe coconuts. The kids sat fascinated by the whole show.
The kids attempted to make fire and we all were given some Samoan food to eat but it didn't appeal to any of us. So we headed to the next village to see the next show.

The Maori people always put on a good show. There was some singing, dancing, poi balls (those are the little balls on strings that they swing around) and a stick game that they showed us.
We watched this man work on some wood carving while in the village.
Sophie had to give the poi balls a try. They were a lot harder than they looked.
I missed most of Fiji because Molly was out of control and simply would not sit still worth anything. But evidently there was a lot of talking about the culture, some singing and dancing performances and the audience got to participate with sticks by pounding the floor.
Molly and I got a good look at this Fijian boat while the others were inside watching the show.
Of course in the Hawaii village they performed the hula. Hawaiian hula seemed so calm after all the other dances we had seen that day. The ukulele was very soothing to the ears as well.

This was all we were able to see before our Lu'au dinner. We knew we would have to come back to finish off the other villages. Good thing the tickets are good for three days.

At the Lu'au they removed the pig from the fire pit and got it ready for the crowd to eat. I actually heard that the pig they cook today is actually to be eaten the next night. The pork that is served to us was actually cooked the day before.  Very efficient use of time! They have this down.
While we waited for dinner we were entertained by hula dancers.
After eating we got ready for the big show. The night show is what my kids were really looking forward to. They had been seeing pictures advertising it all day and they really wanted to see those fire dancers.
Of course pictures weren't allowed during the show but let me just say it was spectacular. Each of the different islands was represented in the story and we saw dances and costumes from each of the different cultures.  And yes there was fire dancing. Some dancing over fires and some dancing with fire sticks. They boys couldn't stop talking about the fire dancing.
Here are some of the stars of the night show. Sophie just had to run up and get a picture with them.

After a good nights rest we returned to the PCC to visit the remaining two villages and watch the IMAX movie about Hawaii that we couldn't fit in the day before. It was well worth the extra trip.

In Tonga they put on a good show.
My husband even got to be a part of the show. He was chosen to come up and play the drums.
He was given this coconut leaf woven head band and fish as his prize for participating.

And of course each of the kids had to have a turn playing the drums after the show was over.

Sophie attempted to learn how to make a woven fish out of coconut tree leaves.

Very cute!
Molly got one too.
The boys weren't interested in weaving fish. They wanted to throw spears.
Since everything sort of stops when it is time for the boat parade each day we watched it again.
Sophie loved the show. This is one of the things I remember watching when I came here 25 years ago.

Molly spent a good amount of time climbing around on the rocks.

Sometimes watching the show, but a lot of the time giving us all a really hard time. Poor girl was so off her schedule.

After the parade the kids did a little fishing in the Tahitian village while we waited for their show to start. They didn't catch anything but they had fun putting the bait on the hooks and then watching the fish swarm in and eat it off.

We had a good conversation with the young lady there in charge of refilling the hooks with bait. She was from Kiribati in Micronesia. I asked her if she was able to tell just by looking at the people, which island they were from. She explained to us the differences that she recognized about each of the people. Fijians were darker almost black, Tahitians were the fairest and very slender, Togans of course are big, Samoans were shiny and she said they were just very happy people. When I asked her what a Hawaiian looks like she said she couldn't really tell a Hawaiian because they are such a mix now. 

After watching the Tahitian show where they taught everyone how to do their very quick Hura (their version of the hula). Sophie tried really hard to get it. Somehow we didn't get any pictures here. I guess we were feeling pretty tired after two days of watching dancing.

A canoe ride up the river led us right to the place where the IMAX movie was going to be shown to finish off our day.

I think we got the whole Polynesian Cultural Center experience. It is one of the stops on the Island of Oahu that a visitor shouldn't miss.


Bibliophile said...

I am enjoying these photos of your visit to Hawaii. Thanks for going into such detail! I love it!

Kodelle said...

It looks like you guys had an amazing time.