This is a continuation of the story of my family history related trip to Hawaii. On this day, Hubby woke up extra early to swim at Waikiki Beach whilst I slept late. I missed another opportunity to swim in the Pacific Ocean. Then we drove east past Diamond Head, the Halona Blow Hole, the Makapu’u Lighthouse and Hanamuma Bay. This side of the island was dry and rocky, and the mountains look decidedly more volcanic and bare. It became greener and lush as we drove into the windward side of Oahu, towards the Polynesian Cultural Center.
We arrived at the PCC around 1 PM, in time to meet our guide for the day, a Philippine student named Alissa. The Polynesian Cultural Center is run by the Hawaiian campus of Brigham Young University, and it offers jobs to students (scholarships) from all over the Pacific. Many of the students would not be able to attend university without the jobs provided by the PCC, as tour guides, dancers, interpreters, and craftspeople. About 1,300 employees represent the nations of Hawaii, Samoa, Maori New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Easter Island, Tahiti and the Marquesas.
We were lucky enough to have Ambassador Tickets, which meant that our guide stayed with us all day, making sure we didn’t miss a show or demonstration, and she also reserved the choicest seats at all the shows for us. We had priority seating at the dinner luau, and at the final show at the end of the day we had front row seats! Since I have limited mobility, this helped insure that I didn’t have to stand in line, wander the large campus searching for the next attraction, or get lost! I would highly recommend upgrading to an Ambassador Ticket if you ever get to the Polynesian Cultural Center.
We were also very impressed with the talented, polite, and enthusiastic students and other staff members. They answered all our questions, shared stories of their home islands and were curious about New Hampshire, too! Friends and family at home had recommended the PCC to us, and we would also recommend it to anyone else visiting Oahu. It was a long day, though. The final dinner show let out at about 10 PM and we had a long drive home to our hotel in Honolulu.
No family history research was completed today, but we gained a greater understanding of the wide range of Polynesian culture. Considering how many American missionaries, sea captains, traders, bankers, government officials, and other settlers have lived in places such as Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands and other American possessions, it was great to know learn more about these far flung islands. The BYU campus nearby has a Polynesian study center, extensive library and family history center. The LDS temple here in the town of Laie was the first temple ever built outside of the continental United States.
For more information:
http://www.portaloha.com/SecretsOfHawaii/BlowHole.htm a website describing the Halona Blow hole and other sites on the South Shore of Oahu.
http://www.polynesia.com/ the website for the Polynesian Cultural Center
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo