New Design, Exhibits and Interactive Experiences Showcase Ancient Hawaii Like Never Before
After more than six months of anticipation, the menehune have completed their rebuild of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s (PCC) Hawaii Village. Opening in October 2012, the village redesign is reflective of an ahupuaa — a land division used by ancient Hawaiians, usually extending from the uplands to the sea — and includes new activities, architecture and exhibits.
The Hale Ali’i (chief’s house) overlooks the ahupuaa, which cascades down a gentle slope towards the PCC’s lagoon. Throughout the village are various huts, each significant to a Hawaiian village, showcasing artifacts including weapons, tools and garments.
Two vital elements of Hawaiian life, lo’i kalo (irrigated terrace used to grow taro) and a loko i’a (fish pond), have also been included. A stream originating from a waterfall near the Hale Ali’i flows into several lo’i. While passing through the lo’i, the stream collects nutrients, depositing them in the loko i’a and providing a source of food for the fish.
“These additions highlight the Hawaiians’ mastery of water usage and demonstrate how early Hawaiians were one with the aina (land) and led a sustainable lifestyle,” said Raymond Mokaio, Hawaii Village Manager. “The Hawaiians understood that respect for the land and effective management of natural resources were vital to a thriving, long lasting society.”
For those interested in ancient navigational techniques, the Halau Wa’a (canoe house), which houses the 57-foot Iosepa voyaging canoe, Iosepa, is still an important part of the village and additional activities will be introduced to give guests an interactive voyaging experience.
Guests can also learn about the flora of Hawaii and how they were used as resources for medicine and daily living in the new Hale Hana (work hosue). PCC has also expanded the most popular sites of the old village. Guests can now sway their hips freely in the new hula area with more space to play the traditional games of Hawaii including ulu maika (similar to lawn bowling) and konane (Hawaiian checkers), among others. Additional seating for the Rainbows of Paradise, Hawaii’s only water-borne show, has also been added.
The Hawaii Village renovation is completed just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Polynesian Cultural Center in 2013. Other improvements underway at the PCC include a new interactive theater experience, renovations of the Hale Aloha — home of the world-famous Alii Luau, and a revitalized Samoa Village. The Cultural Center also has plans to expand its market place, allowing it to accommodate more shops and offer a wider variety goods from throughout Polynesia, including ukuleles, Polynesian handicrafts, fresh island fruits and vegetables, and other Polynesian cuisine.
The grand opening of the Hawaii Village will be held in correlation with the 23rd Annual Moanikeala Hula Festival on January 19, 2013. The longest running of PCC’s cultural festivals, the Moanikeala Hula Festival has evolved from its early roots as a keiki (child) hula contest to a hoike (festival) where all ages can celebrate hula and the Hawaiian culture. The event showcases and preserves hula traditions and honors the legacy of Aunty Sally Wood Naluai, perpetuating her over 60-year passion for teaching hula as PCC’s first Hawaiian Instructor.