On the surface the Polynesian Cultural Center may seem like one of the more “touristy” things to do on Oahu, up there with Pearl Harbor and shopping shuttles to Waikele Premium Outlets. This is compounded by misappropriation concerns given that it’s owned by the mormon church, which has had a complicated relationship with Hawaiian culture since the late 1800’s when their missionaries landed with a thud on the Polynesian way of life. Seems ironic that a culture that the church once deemed to be steeped in paganism now pays to keep the lights on at BYU via PCC ticket sales.
But we digress. That’s a whole other story that you can read about in Michener’s HAWAII.
And as much as we may hate to admit it, what you’ll find today at the Polynesian Cultural Center is a truly engaging experience. It’s also the only thing to do in the township of Laie (aside from jumping off of Laie Point) where alcohol is banned.
PCC invites guests to experience thousands of years worth of Polynesian culture from six different island nations, including Aotearoa, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and of course Hawaii. Each island nation is represented via a village which guests can visit on foot and by guided raft, and at each village you’ll find exhibits and performances that will have your ohana deeply entertained. There is also great food (sans alcohol) and if you can afford it one of the better luaus on the island. The Hukilau Marketplace also offers some great shopping, be you on the hunt for souvenirs or authentic artisan works.
No matter how you feel about “theme park” attractions we suggest that you give the Polynesian Cultural Center a chance. We have, and have been pleasantly surprised. We’ve been back a few times and we always take away something new with each visit.
Guardian of the PCC
Sneak peak at a ukulele workshop