The final stop of our visit to the North Shore was at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), which, in a word, was awesome. Seriously. I wish Mal and I had given ourselves more time there to explore everything it had to offer. The place was amazing!
When we picked up our tickets at the entrance, Mal and I received a traditional kukui nut lei greeting. It was quite a warm welcome—in fact, all of the staff we encountered at the PCC was especially friendly and accommodating.
Then, we went to explore—my goodness, there was so much to see and do! The Polynesian Cultural Center is definitely a “must-see” if you visit Oahu.
There were multiple exhibits to learn about and interact with various Polynesian cultures, including Hawaii, Samoa, Maori New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, the Marquesas, and Tonga.
Mal and I watched an interactive demonstration where two audience members tried to make fire. They weren’t successful, but the Samoan men had no problem!
At the PCC, you can also try outrigger canoe paddling, which I thought looked like a ton of fun. Unfortunately, Mal and I didn’t have enough time to give it a try.
After exploring for awhile, Mal and I enjoyed a traditional luau for dinner.
As we entered Hale Ohana, we were each given a orchid lei and seated at long tables in front of a stage where we enjoyed various performers over the course of the two-hour event.
The luau began with the entrance of the king’s royal court, who portrayed the authenticity and excitement of luaus long ago.
While we watched, Mal and I shared a pina colada smoothie that was served in a pineapple. Yum!
After being introduced to the royal court, we watched a traditional imu ceremony. The ceremony involved removing layers of cloth and leaves from the underground oven to expose the cooked pork.
Then, the pork was removed from the pit and eaten at the luau.
After the imu ceremony, we were all invited to enjoy a buffet feast with all sorts of traditional fare, including shredded pork, chicken teriyaki, baked mahi-mahi, chicken long rice, Hawaiian poi, and sweet potato salad.
I filled my plate with a little bit of everything— I wanted to try it all! The pork was really delicious, especially with some Hawaiian hot sauce!
During dinner, we enjoyed a number of traditional performances.
After dinner, Mal and I attended the PCC’s Hawaiian dance show, “Ha: The Breath of Life.” I wasn’t able to take photos during the performance, so the PCC shared a bunch of photos with me for this post.
“Ha” included over a 100 performers, who danced, drummed, sang, chanted, and played with fire. It was quite an impressive show with a really moving story:
Born just after his parents wash ashore, Mana begins a South Pacific odyssey that leads to becoming a warrior. In the process, he must prove his worthiness to wed the fair Lani by walking on fire. And, ultimately, he must battle to protect his new family from marauding invaders.
I really enjoyed my time at the Polynesia Cultural Center, and I definitely recommend visiting when you’re in Oahu. It’s truly an amazing place.