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Beyond Tiki, Bilge, and Test / Beyond Tiki

Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu?

Pages: 1 43 replies

is it worth checking out?

are you better off just going for the sights or staying around for the performances, luau etc.?

would love to know what folks think about the place.


Chris, I enjoyed the PCC the last time I visited them about 5 years ago. The grounds are just beautiful - tikis, huts, etc everywhere. There's a boat parade, a few stage shows and a dinner/luau which is pretty enjoyable. I also got to watch The Living Sea in their IMAX theatre, which was incredible.

One thing -- it was an all day affair. Our bus left Waikiki in the morning and didn't return until around 10pm, so you'll have to plan accordingly.

And like other attractions here on the mainland (Universal Studios, Sea World, etc), once you've seen it, you're good for at least 5 years since it doesn't really change.

Its definitely worth a visit if you've never been.

If you post on TC, you are basically a Tiki Junkie,and, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a Tiki Dream. I can not imagine anyone who posts on this board not enjoying this one of a kind, Polynesian paradise. There are down sides, it is a costly, touristy all day affair. When visiting Oahu the case can be made it would be better to spend a day doing something (anything) else, than visiting the PCC. I think for a true Tiki Fiend the PCC is a must see, I very much enjoyed it.

The PCC is a Mormon run, Cultural showcase. It is setup something like Disneyland in that there are various areas. Instead of Fantasyland, Adventureland, etc, there are Fiji, the Marquesans, etc. Each Island chain is represented in art, dance, history, dress, etc. There are Tikis everywhere. There is more than enough activities to fill a day. I recommend the "big" show at the end of the day, but, if hula isn't your thing you could avoid it.

Fiji, each area has authentic structures and native islanders.

There is a river that has a native dance show. Each boat represents an Island and the dancers are dressed and dance in that Islands style.

The Marquesans

Mew Zealand


[ Edited by: Alnshely 2007-12-02 19:52 ]


Despite the connection with the Mormons (no offense to anyone I hope, but the whole history of the missionaries trying to convert the Polynesians made me wary of visiting this place), it's well worth the admission cost. The daytime shows in each island area were entertaining and in many cases the audience gets involved which can be fun. The boat parade was great - don't miss it. The luau was OK but there are better ones on Oahu. But the best part for me was the show at night. The backdrop was amazing with a huge volcano, large tikis, and tiki torches. The Samoan fire dancers perormance was incredible. The show is much more than simply Hula dancing so don't miss it!

It's a fairly long but pleasant drive from Oahu and it often is wet on that side of the island so expect afternoon showers (which are never unpleasant as it's always warm).

behold, there came 3 wise men from the west ...

THANKS for the input! Uh ... i think we'll go.

Alnshely - Great Pics!

Mrs. Hansell and I went there on our honeymoon about 6 years ago, we had a blast. Like anything on Oahu, you have your "expensive activities" and your "expensive for Oahu activities". I think this just falls into the expensive, but totally worth it catagory. We splurged and bought a personalized tiki from a carver there. Is it a one of a kind art treasure? No, but I still smile when I see it on the shelf and remember my beautiful bride and a bunch of other white girls trying to learn how to hula....

[ Edited by: mrhansell on 2003-12-25 15:15 ]

One more thing to remember...
Since the PCC is run by the Mormans, they don't serve anything with caffine or alcohol.
No cokes, coffee or Mai Tais.
Just so ya' know.

On 2003-12-24 13:57, thejab wrote:

... The luau was OK but there are better ones on Oahu.

what are the better luaus?

thank you,


On 2003-12-26 10:15, Tiki Chris wrote:
what are the better luaus?

Germaine's and Paradise Cove luaus are the 2 main ones on Oahu. Germaine's ($49,http://www.oahu-hawaii-luau.com/) is a smaller luau, while Paradise Cove ($60, http://www.paradisecove.com/) might have 500 or more people there any given night. Both include bus trasportation from Waikiki to the sites in the price. The differences between them and the one at the PCH are:

They are at oceanfront locations during sunset while the one at PCH is just in a large lawn area next to a building. I was disappointed with the luau setting at PCH.

Alcoholic beverages are not served at PCH and are at the other luaus (both include 3 Mai Tais or other alcholic drinks in the price).

The entertainment at the PCH luau was pretty basic (compared to the main show which was great), but the other luaus have a full show including fire dancers.

I have not been to the other luaus so I can't vouch for them and can't compare the food to the food at the PCH which was OK but nothing special. Actually, the best luau buffet food I've had was at the luau buffet in Las Vegas at the Fiesta casino on Monday nights. The Las Vegas newspaper had an article on it recently:

The menu is overseen by executive chef Harris Okashige, a native Hawaiian, who says the 20 or so dishes are replicas of the favorites he grew up with on the islands. The seafood includes ahi tuna, crab and moonfish, and is flown in Monday mornings. The casino also imports handmade lau lau, which is spinach wrapped with pork, butterfish and chicken.
Menu items also include lomi lomi (a cold salad with diced salmon, tomatoes and green onions) and taco poki (raw seafood such as squid, tuna or crab marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic, and served cold). There is also Portuguese bean soup, ono yams and shrimp onohui (fried battered shrimp with coconut). The pork, Okashige adds, is first wrapped in ti leaves before it's roasted, then shredded and mixed with cabbage, much the same way they prepare it on the islands.

According to several travel books the best luaus are the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui and the Kona Village luau on Hawaii but I have not tried these personally.

On 2003-12-26 12:45, thejab wrote:

According to several travel books the best luaus are the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui and the Kona Village luau on Hawaii but I have not tried these personally.

i went to the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui in '99. the setting and show were spectacular and devoid of cheeziness. the food was fair to good. the drinks were watery and left alot to be desired.


The Luau at the Royal Hawaiian is very nice. It's not as cheezy and touristy as the rest. The food is good and the you can't beat the Royal for a setting. Of course, you can watch the show and save a few $$ if you just get there early and grab a seat at the Mai Tai bar which is right next to the lawn where the luau is.
For tourist cheese and fun, the Paradise Cove Luau is the way to go!


*On 2003-12-26 12:51, Johnny Dollar wrote:*i went to the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui in '99. the setting and show were spectacular and devoid of cheeziness. the food was fair to good. the drinks were watery and left alot to be desired.

I'm not surprised. The Mai Tais in Hawaii were usually pretty bad, with the exception of the ones at the Banyan Tree bar at the New Otani Hotel and the House Without a Key bar, both in Waikiki.

i suppose we tiki lushes may tend to have higher standards for drinks than the average schmoe in the street...




Ben and I only had a few hours to spare, so we got the less expensive package for the PCC. It was fantastic. I love anthropolgy and folk arts, so this was a great place for me. The lay-out is Polynesia divided by country, so it's extremely interesting to see the variation within the group. thumbs up!
hey...it sound like you got a trip to Hawai'i coming up.

Kono posted on Fri, Dec 26, 2003 8:19 PM

On 2003-12-24 12:56, Alnshely wrote:
Mew Zealand

Hey! Where's that hand?

As said, the PCC is a must see. But don't make the mistake we made, make sure you get there at opening and spend the whole day. The daytime shows are timed so that you can catch everything if you spend one hour at each island themed area and that pretty much means you have to be there at opening time. You'll have a great time and actually learn quite a bit. The people who work at the PCC are very warm and friendly (as evidenced in the photo above!) and seem to have a genuine interest in teaching you about their culture. The main guy who performs in the Samoan fire dance (forgot his name) should be an international star. The guy is an awesome performer and in his day shows is funny as hell. I thought of him as a Samoan Jaimie Fox/Jackie Chan cross. Get him to show you the bottom of his feet after the fire dance. We skipped the luau and wandered the grounds in the dark with all the feral cats and giant toads and then used the luau money to upgrade our seats for the show which was well worth it.

If you want to look for some collectibles while on Oahu make sure you hit "The Hunter" antique store in Kailua. Great stuff at great prices.

Bring a flask of rum for the firedance show!!
It makes the evening at the PCC a bit more enjoyable.

GECKO posted on Sat, Dec 27, 2003 3:20 AM

Eh howzit Chris,

Go to da PCC, bring lotsa film and have a good time. Make sure you catch da Samoan show during the day, thats my favorite. Get there(Samoan show) a little early or you'll be baking in da sun.

The Tongan show would be my next best show. Dem braddahz gon pound da drums!! afta go to any show. Da souvenirs are expensive though.

shopping: yes da Hunter is a good wun. There are a few antique stores in da Waikiki area to.

Whale watching is going on right now also.

If I think of anything else I'll post it for you. You have my numba so, give me a ring wen you have a unplaned day.


Thanks for the great advice, everybody! The Hunter in Kailua sounds cool. I'm sure we'll check it out.

Yes, MANIC, we are going to Hawaii next week. We'll spend half our time on Oahu & half on Molokai. Really looking forward to it!

There's a wealth of info about Oahu on TC. So, I didn't see the need to start another "things to do on Oahu" thread, but I did want to know about the PPC.

QUESTION: Should we book in advance for the PPC or is it possible to just show up?

GECKO: I'll definitely call! Let me know what your schedule's like so we can hang at a time most convenient for you!

Mahalo & Happy New Year,


Bon Voyage!

have a beautiful time.

manic c

hey thanks everybody for the advice! we loved our day at pcc. the marquesan compound & the boat parade were highlights. i'd recommend this place to anybody too. however, both em & i felt that we could have foregone the luau & the evening show & still been satified (w/ more time to roam around too).

we had a lot of fun on this trip (5 nights on oahu - waimanalo bay & 5 nights on molokai). in addition to meeting gecko & his wahine, the best moment during the trip was probably when this happened (what seemed like) 15 ft away from us:

[ Edited by: Tiki Chris on 2004-01-20 15:01 ]

We've booked our trip and it includes 1 day at the PCC. Thanks for posting about this. I wouldn't have known otherwise.

Zeta posted on Mon, Apr 6, 2009 1:56 PM

1969 Postcard found in Mexico City

Samoan Village Chief Tapusoa demonstrates Samoan kitchen skills at Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, Oahu; Hawaii.
Photo by Larry Witt

I just saw photos of my parents visit in the 60s!

The Rapa Nui exhibit looks incredible:

Apparently, it was carved and recreated, in substantial part, by an authentic Rapa Nui carver (although upon reflection, those Moai were not carved in the lifetime of anyone still living).

Found these postcards today


Ahh, PCC. I used to work there in the early 80s. I was a VIP tour guide and head Spanish guide. Since I'm totally Caucasian looking I would always start my tour by saying my name and that I'm Chinese Hawaiian, but I look Scots and I speak Spanish. What a mixed up world I'm from. I would say this because I didn't want my group to feel cheated out of a non-native experience. Most employees at the Polynesian Cultural Center were students next door at the little BYU-Hawaii campus. The Center was built, yes by the "Mormon" church for two reasons; the first one was to give the poor students (90% of us) an opportunity to have part-time employment (it put me through school with literally pennies to spare) and the second reason was to share with the world the beautiful cultures of the Pacific along with teaching the world the difference between the island cultures. Because after many decades of modern Western media mixing the cultures as one. We see this in movies, TV and yes in tiki bars. The mixing is not a bad thing (because they all still come from the same place - Oceania) but it nice that john-Q public can know the difference. I notice the pure tikiphiles on TC know well the difference between tikis from Hawaii, the Marquesas or Aotearoa and I'm impressed.

Another important purpose of PCC, although indirect, was the teaching of the indigenous cultures of the Pacific to native islanders raised outside of the Pacific. I was raised in central Washington State and I only met one other Hawaiian there, I had Californian/Samoan, Utah & Missouri/Tongan and Hawaiian New Yorkers as classmates, for example and it was great to learn our roots. Perhaps this is where my love of tiki germinated. At BYU-Hawaii (which was set up by the church to teach Pacific Rim students) there where a lot of real island students who's first language was a Polynesian dialect and it was these students (from the islands) that I learned the most from at PCC and I hoped they learned from me at the University next door.

I'm not trying to sound preachy or anything but I'm proud as a Hawaiian/Mormon to know that when the 1st Mormon Missionaries arrived at Hawaii it was 70 years after the other Christian Missionaries arrived but within just a handful of years these few missionaries (plus early Hawaiian converts) converted more Hawaiians than all of the the other Christian Churches combined even with the 70 year head start. One reason is the church embraces other cultures, it does not change them to a western one. The early Mormon missionaries learned and taught in Hawaiian, they DID NOT try to teach English to the natives then preach to them in English (of course there were exceptions to the rule but it was the rule). Also I just read the new revision of the book "The Hula" a chronological volume on the history of Hula. I was almost shocked to know that in an crucial chapter in our hula history (turn of the last century when hula was oppressed by children of early missionaries in Hawaii) there were only about a dozen or two Hula practitioners left and they danced in secret behind closed doors. The book states that the majority of these now historical figures in Hawaiian history where Mormon women. Without these women authentic Hula would of been lost forever.

Lastly we had a running joke at PCC and some of you who toured the place may have had this experience; yes because PCC is sponsored by the "Mormon" (a nick name) church there is a dress code for all our guest, no beach attire, more specifically bikini tops or 2-piece clothes by women. Of course people visiting Hawaii with its year around warmth get a little preturbed by the rule but we tell these angry guest (and it never fails to cheer them up again) that; "It was the western Christain Missionaries that made our ancestors put on clothes, now it's our turn to make YOU wear clothes!" haha, now enjoy a couple screen savers of Elvis at PCC from PARADISE HAWAIIAN STYLE:

[ Edited by: creativenative 2013-03-12 13:32 ]

[ Edited by: creativenative 2013-03-12 13:37 ]

[ Edited by: creativenative 2013-03-12 13:39 ]

[ Edited by: creativenative 2013-03-12 23:02 ]

After writing the above post (with its many edits) I went to Laie home of the Polynesian Cultural Center for personal business and I took these picts on the way for my tiki tour of the east coast of O'ahu. Enjoy.

Tiki carvers house past Kaneohe:

Colored tourist masks along road

Still empty Rainbow Castle building from Roberts WAIKIKI TIKI

More tikis for sale right before Laie

We've arrived! The next 15 tikis are on the outside of PCC.

Can you imagine what's on the inside?

Creativenative thank you for your PCC post and the pictures! I'm sitting in Kailua now near the end of my Oahu vacation and may be heading to the PCC tomorrow. Every photo you posted of the sights I just took yesterday :) you should of got some shots of the Aframe next to the PCC--blew me away!

Hope I get over to the PCC before I head back to the mainland--so great to read your insight/tie in with the Mormon church.


Thanks so much for the first hand account of the PCC, creative native. I'm definitely going to visit the next time I'm on Oahu!

Thanks guys. For Ms Dee, sorry I thought the now McDonald's A-frame photo was already posted in page one of this thread but I was wrong. I saw it somewhere, anyway I did take a picture of it below. It's a Maori Polynesian Pop design, rare. Use to be a Polynesian (tiki) restaurant and when McDonald's bought it, they only renovated the kitchen & serving area and kept the rest intact. Should of took picts of the inside. Next time.

Found this today
No date in it
Center pages all about PCC


Beginning May 20, visitors to Oahu can enjoy the island’s newest luau and all the sights of the Polynesian Cultural Center for $74.95 (for adults) and $57.95 for kids 5-11.

That introductory price includes the center’s new Samoan-themed luau and admission to park attractions. Adult admission alone costs $49.95 or $39.95 for kids.

The center explores the cultures of seven Pacific island nations. The new luau, in the Samoa village, will feature traditional Samoan foods such as palusami (taro leaf with coconut milk) and oka ia (steamed fish with coconut milk and vegetables).

During the luau guests can participate in activities such as basket weaving and coconut shell dancing. The coconut tree is an important icon in Samoan culture.

The luau will begin at 5:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. The Polynesian Cultural Center, near the town of Laie, about an hour’s drive from Honolulu, is closed Sundays.

The introductory offer includes entry to all seven island villages; various “Go Native!” hands-on experiences; a screening of a new film, “Hawaiian Journey”; and reserved seating for the center’s live music-and-dance production, “Ha: Breath of Life.”

The center will continue to offer its alii luau at 5 daily. It’s available as part of various packages.

Tickets are available online or by calling (800) 367-7060.


They have a microsite for their 50th Anniversary with videos that they'll be adding to.
Don't miss the Te Arohanuui Maori Company on the Danny Kaye show, fresh from the opening of the PCC in 1963!

Nice find Pittsburgh Pauly! Great video for both Maori & Television history.

Found this postcard

"Pageant of the Long Canoes at the PCC"

Lil different version

Two more postcards today

I didn't read through this whole thread but I'm not sure why this is in "Beyond Tiki", PCC seems to be about as "Tiki" as they come?

True MadDog, I'd like to do some picts. of the surrounding small town of Laie, Should call It Polynesiaville :). First, the small university next door which was built during the Poly Pop heyday of the sixties.
Rebuilding one of the Women's dorms with a small outrigger that I didn't noticed before:


Simple outrigger on married Apt/Dorms - Single story building:

Two-story version:

the above buildings are original from the 60s, below is a more recent and a modern Polynesian architecture - the Library. No wonder I was happy when I went to that school.

Wide view of the replacement McDonalds (behind tiki) in Laie (still in construction). Not as cool as the former Maori style McDonalds but at least it is not the typical square box and it has a little Hawaiian roof. Behind it is the new Marriott Courtyard and behind to the right is part of the Polynesian Culture Center (PCC):

Front of the new Marriott Courtyard with a Hawaiian style porte cochere:

Tighter shot of the porte cochere with a Samoan hut roof on the left from the PCC.

[ Edited by: creativenative 2015-07-19 00:22 ]

I never knew they had a mug until the spousal unit found this

Nudder nice find Jon. Either one of you have a job?
David {:> )


Hamo posted on Wed, Mar 29, 2023 9:10 PM

Recently came across this incredible 1960s time capsule episode of Jack Douglas' America! It's structured as an "armchair vacation" look at all the center's island villages. A Tahitian carver is highlighted at about 4:50 and then some nice closeups of tikis. Maori carvings at about 10:20. A short bit about tapa cloth making starts about 12:05. Many dancers and musicians are also featured throughout.


Nice - Thanks, Hamo!

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