Go Polynesian

Essential OahuOahu

PHOTO: POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER | LOCATION: LAIE

Founded in 1963, and Hawai‘i’s No. 1 attraction since 1977, the POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER (PCC) celebrates the Aloha State’s diverse Polynesian background with award-winning performances and interactive attractions.

Over the years, more than 33 million visitors have passed through its gates. Here’s what you can look forward to at this destination that was voted one of the Top 10 Travelers’ Choice U.S. Experiences by Trip Advisor:

PCC’s signature attraction is a group of six villages and two exhibits highlighting islands from Fiji to Samoa, where hundreds of Polynesian islanders share their customs and traditions with visitors. Hands-on activities include playing Hawaiian games, throwing Tongan spears, paddling outrigger canoes, cooking and sampling Samoan dishes, getting temporary tattoos, twirling Maori poi balls and joining a Tahitian wedding party, among others.

The vibrant cultures come to life in the villages as Samoans share how homes are lashed together without nails using coconut fiber rope in Samoa. Maori villagers recount their history and legends captured in the intricate details in meeting houses built by master carvers using traditional logs brought in from New Zealand. Fijians invite you into the chief’s home. Tahitians help you tamure (dance). Tongans bring beautiful artistry into making bark cloth and communicating with drums. And Hawaiians teach hula in an anciently patterned setting.

As the sun sets, PCC offers up award-winning dining and show options. PCC’s most popular dining option is the ALI’I LUAU , which won the prestigious Kahili Award (people’s choice) for preserving Hawaiian culture. The lu‘au includes a lei greeting, royal court, imu roast pig, Hawaiian Wedding Song for newlyweds and anniversary couples, beautiful hula and more. You can get your roasted pork carved right off the pig, sample Hawaiian poke (a raw fi sh dish) and poi and much more. Other dining options include the Island Buff et or Prime Dining in the Gateway Restaurant.

The excitement continues into the evening with the unforgettable performance of HA: BREATH OF LIFE, the People’s Choice winner for “Best Live Show.” A cast of more than 100 performers traces the birth, coming of age, romance, tragedy and triumph of Mana and his family through fi re, song and dance.

Other not-to-be-missed off erings include the HUKILAU MARKETPLACE and POUNDERS RESTAURANT . The marketplace recalls 1950s Hawai‘i with stores off ering local goods and eateries offering ‘ono local favorites. At Pounders Restaurant, located within the marketplace you’ll fi nd James Beard Award-winning chef Graham Elliot of MasterChef , MasterChef Junior , Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef at the helm. Elliot recently moved back to Hawai‘i (the self-described “Navy brat” lived here as a child) and has revamped the dishes at Pounders to focus on dishes prepared with the best ingredients that are sourced directly from the islands. Stand-out dishes include the “Char Siu” pork chop, Pineapple Fried Rice and Crispy Whole Sunfish.

Visitors can choose from a variety of packages to take advantage of any or all of the center’s opportunities, including the ISLANDS ADMISSION package that includes admission to all six villages, the Laie Temple Visitors’ Center Tour and a canoe ride; the EXCLUSIVE ALI’I LU’AU package includes all of that plus a flower lei greeting at the Ali’i Luau featuring Onipa‘a, A Tribute to Queen Lili‘uokalani and the evening show HA: Breath of Life ; the EXCLUSIVE SUPER AMBASSADOR LU‘AU package offers guests a personal guide during their time at the Center as well as admission to all six island villages, a canoe ride, and the La‘ie and La‘ie Hawai‘i Temple Visitors’ Center Tour, as well as a flower lei greeting at the Ali’i Luau featuring Onipa‘a, A Tribute to Queen Lili‘uokalani and the evening show HA: Breath of Life ; the EXCLUSIVE GATEWAY BUFFET package includes admission to all six island villages, plus an Island Buff et dinner at the Center’s Gateway restaurant and admission to HA: Breath of Life. Those desiring transportation to PCC may opt for the CIRCLE ISLAND TOUR package that offers a special circle-island road trip with views of Diamond Head State Monument, Hanauma Bay Lookout Halona Blow Hole and more. Call for reservations and specific show times. Visitors can choose from a variety of packages to take advantage of any or all of the center’s opportunities. Call for reservations and specific show times.

POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER (808) 293-3457

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