Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Exploring the pacific islands

While in Hawaii we took the kids to the Polynesian Culture center which is run by the Church of Latter day Saints and its goal is to educate people on the ways of the all the Pacific Islands.  This was my second time visiting and it was a wonderful way for the children to see how the natives would have lived and experience many hands on activities to better understand the polynesian culture.  This post has a lot of pictures and still there is more I could show...such a great learning center for getting a feel for the Polynesian islands!!

The highlight of the center is the River boat ceremony where each island is represented and people perform dances from their islands.  Each country had a unique way of dressing and dancing
Throughout our visit we kept hearing about the importance of the Taro plant to the native peoples, here at the center we saw what the plant look like and how it is turned into Poi

It is purple in cole

It is peeled and boiled until soft 

and then using a mortal and pestle it is beaten until it forms a thick paste.    I thought it tastes pretty bland, but my kids wouldn't try it today

There were lots of children island games that the kids could explore.  I can't remember the names of the all

even games for the adults to enjoy

These sticks were used during some of the dances in addition to being used as a game

Another great coordination game

We also got a few music lessons such as the ukulele  which is not a native instrument but the Hawaiians have made and given it a very unique sound
Learning to play some traditional drums
Learning how to craft some palm leaf toys
Throwing native spears which is much harder than it looks:)

Learning about cooking and tasting some yummy coconut bread

fishing the native way and no sooner than my husband said he didn't think there were any fish to be caught in the pond

Firedrake made the only catch out of the four of us:)

Every village had a different feel of it.  Every hut was decorated differently using the materials they had on the island.  This one used plant fiber and made it like paper and painted them elaborate designs 

Where other huts used palm leaves to weave woven mats to hang on the floor, and walls.
The more elaborately decorated the higher the status of the person or family that lived inside

Here we saw how the fibers of the plant were pounded into paper

IT was a long process of beating the fibers thinner and thinner and adding more fiber to make it wider and wider

the person making the fiber cloth determined the width of the cloth (or the person ordering it did)

Next seed husks were used as paintbrushes to paint designed which were usually brown or black in color

Watching a man use the palm leaves to make baskets, make rope and other items.  The resources of this plant for the island people is incredible

large baskets to store or carry items in

We saw many traditional dances performed

Including my favorite the Hakka from New Zealand

Exploring the vessels that made it to the islands, it was hard to imagine that some of these vessels made such long voyages
We spent the whole day here, getting there when it opened and closing it down 7 hours later.  We were all exhausted but what a fantastic place to learn all about the pacific islands.


  1. What a place! I wonder why the LDS run it? Is that something they do all over the world, preserving ancient cultures or is it just one place thing? Did your kids try the poi at the other dinner you went to? I have definitely heard mixed stories about poi, none of them particularly good. Is the texture like mashed potatoes?

  2. Hawaii looks fantastic, Poi not so much !!!

  3. I was hoping that you were able to go to the cultural center. We haven't ever been to the Islands; but here in Salt Lake area we have experienced some of their culture here. The Church has had that center there for years. It is on my wish list for places to visit.
    My son in law served a mission in New Zealand so he knows the Hakka dance. It is fun to go to BYU Hawaii and BYU foot ball games; they do a Hakka dance before the games starts. It's really fun to see all the football players doing it.
    Blessings and thanks for sharing all of this; I loved it.

  4. WOW! you do get around, that's so wonderful! Looks like you had a terrific time! Hawaii is on our wish-list of places to go. When we do go, we'll have to visit the Polynesian Culture Center! :-)