Today we once again headed North, this time to the Polynesian Cultural Center. The center offers a taste of the diverse cultures of Polynesia. You are invited to visit several different “islands” within the center, all connected by bridges that span the impressive waterways used to divide the areas. Starting with a canoe ride along the waterways, you are introduced to each area to help get your bearings.
In Aoteroa (New Zealand) we took part in a traditional village greeting ceremony and learned about their dances and singing. The Haka was undoubtedly one of the highlights; an intense war dance designed to energize the fighters and strike fear into the hearts of their enemies.
In Samoa we saw a demonstration by a man I creatively nick-named “Mr. Samoa” in which he started fire with two pieces of wood in mere seconds, cracked open a coconut, shaved out the inside and squeezed it into coconut milk in just under a minute, and educated us on the fact that in Samoa the men do the hunting, cooking, and cleaning. (Won’t be living in Samoa anytime soon then.) It was a superb show.
In the evening, after visiting five of the six island areas, we needed a bit of a break. It was getting close to time for our late afternoon luau. In addition to the great food we enjoyed a table-side show of hula dancing, a formal dinner ceremony, and performances from a range of different cultures. Fortunately as we had queued up early we also got two of the best seats in the house.
We had packed a lot into one day, but we weren’t done yet. Once the sun had set and the luau was packed away we took our seats in the auditorium for the evening show; Ha- Breath of Life. Bringing together all of the cultures that we had lightly experienced throughout the day, all of the performers from the center came together in a single show. There is little I can say that would do it justice. Check out this video for an idea of what to expect should you ever get the chance to witness it yourself. I recommend that you do.