Several thousand PCC alumni returned to Laie from September 1-8, 2013, to celebrate the Center’s 50th Anniversary. (PCC photo by alumnus Mike Foley)
Although the Polynesian Cultural Center has been celebrating its golden anniversary throughout 2013, it was actually 50 years ago this week that the PCC opened and began a new venture highlighting the peoples and cultures of Polynesia through entertainment, arts, education, and personal interaction:
- On October 12, 1963, President Hugh B. Brown, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the Center in front of a special audience of VIPs and invited guests.
- On October 14, 1963, the PCC welcomed its first regular guests.
- Today, more than 37 million guests later, the PCC continues to thrive on Oahu’s North Shore as the only cultural tourist attraction of its kind in the world.
Tuesday, September 4, 2013 — The fourth official day of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Golden Anniversary celebration started early, with a fun run/walk around the PCC grounds, followed by the “real-deal,” the PCC 50th Sports Festival.
Physical Facilities team — the “bluenatics”
As a side-note for those who can’t be here, several people reported they’ve been very happy with our live-stream event coverage; so, between that and these summary reports, we hope everyone — whether in Laie or not — can feel they’re part of the PCC’s Golden Jubilee.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013 — Similar to the return of the PCC/BYUH Alumni Brass Band, which marched for the first time since 1995 (see below), the Polynesian Cultural Center 50th Anniversary Golden Anniversary celebration also marches on.
One special Golden Anniversary program that only a few hundred people enjoyed was a special tribute to those who have volunteered their time at the PCC.
Monday, September 2, 2013 — The second official day of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 50th Anniversary celebration smiled on the many alumni and friends who could come to Laie with beautiful weather and refreshing trade winds.
PCC President Alfred Grace addresses alumni and special guests during the 50th Anniversary Alumni Reception in the Hawaiian Village
Maoris from the Polynesian Cultural Center and surrounding community welcomed a special group of visitors with a traditional powhiri welcoming ceremony on August 30, 2013 — just two days before the PCC begins its eight-day 50th Anniversary celebration from September 1-8:
The visitors included several surviving members of Tearohanui Maori Company, the group of approximately 150 New Zealanders who came to the Polynesian Cultural Center to help put finishing touches on the then brand-new visitor attraction, open the PCC’s Maori Village and “star” at the dedication ceremony and activities on October 12, 1963 — 50 years ago.
Tearohanui Maori Company and others wait to be traditionally invited
to enter the Polynesian Cultural Center Maori Village
Before returning to New Zealand, the group performed in California, on the nationally televised Danny Kaye Show, and in Utah.
Other visitors included kapa haka or traditional Maori arts performing groups from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Utah, some of them Polynesian Cultural Center alumni. All of the above plan to participate in the PCC’s Te Manahua Maori kapa haka festival on August 31, which was deliberately planned to begin the day before the Center’s Golden Jubilee alumni reunion so as many of them as possible could attend both events.
[Reprinted from the August 2013 issue of IMUA Polenisia, the Polynesian Cultural Center’s inhouse newsletter: At the time this was written, Sheena Fitzgerald Alaiasa (pictured at right) had been nominated for the national award; but during a special assembly at King Intermediate School in Kaneohe on August 29, 2013, it was announced that she has been named National Middle Level Principal of the Year by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Her award includes $5,000 in grants and a return trip to Washington, D.C., for a national learning institute event.]
Some people at PCC only know her as Sheena, a part-time Maori musician, but to 600-plus students as well as the 52 faculty members she oversees every week-day, she’s Mrs. Alaiasa, Principal of King Intermediate School in Kaneohe.
In fact, she’s so good at her full-time position that the Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators recently named her State Middle School Principal of the Year, based on her excellence in professional growth, collaborative leadership, advancements in curriculum, instruction and assessment, and personalization of learning.
The Polynesian Cultural Center will showcase kapa haka — the traditional music and dance of Aotearoa (New Zealand) — with the Te Manahua Maori Cultural Arts Festival on Saturday, Aug. 31. Participants from across the state and as far as New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Utah will participate.
“Te Manahua is a fun and entertaining event for both participants and spectators, especially the Haka Hard! competition,” said Seamus Fitzgerald, Aotearoa village manager. “We’re also excited to be able to live stream this year’s event on our Polynesia.com website to allow fans from around the world to enjoy the performances.”