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Polynesian Cultural Center

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55-370 Kamehameha Highway Laie HI 96762 USA


Educational & cultural museum


The polynesian cultural center (the center) and its next door neighbor, brigham young university hawaii(byuh), both were established and are wholly controlled by the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints (the church). The polynesian people have special significance in the church doctrine, and the church has been active in the polynesian islands since very soon after its establishment in the united states in the 1830s. It conducts many activities in polynesia intended to improve, both spiritually and economically, the lives of its members there, most of whom live in what are commonly termed "disadvantaged" communities and "underdeveloped" nations. (continued on schedule 0)one of the main thrusts of the church in polynesia is to educate its members to enable them and their communities to adapt to and be self-sufficient in the encroaching modern world and yet not to abandon or lose respect for their native cultures or themselves. In furtherance of this objective, the church has established byuh (initially known as church college of hawaii) and the center. Byuh was opened in 1955. Its primary purpose is to provide a college education for polynesian students who would not otherwise have that opportunity. Byuh and the church actively recruit polynesian high school students with college potential to attend byuh, obtain an education and then return to their home nations and communities and help improve them, economically and otherwise. The church substantially subsidizes byuh, which charges tuition far below that charged by most private colleges. Nevertheless, most of the students have no money to pay living expenses, transportation or tuition, however low. Most of the students lack job experience and skills and do not speak english fluently when they first enroll. The center was opened in 1963 as an integral part of the overall church program in polynesia and specifically as an adjunct to byuh. The center operates an authentic living museum of the native cultures of seven major polynesian islands samoa, fiji, new zealand (maori), tahiti, marquesas, tonga and hawaii. It provides continual opportunities for hundreds of byuh students from these islands to work in all aspects of the centers operations. This is intended to, and does, accomplish the following with respect to such students: teaching them the traditions of their native cultures which are threatened by modernization. Instilling in them pride and respect for their own cultures (and themselves) and respect for other cultures. Giving them a first job experience and on-the-job training. Giving them an experience in sustaining themselves in the modern western world. Enabling them to work their way through college. In addition, the broader cultural and educational functions performed by the center include the preservation and exhibition to the visiting public of important aspects of each of the polynesian cultures represented, including: authentic replicas of representative village structures in typical settings, daily living activities such as cooking, agriculture, artifacts, arts and crafts (both the objects themselves and the skills), costumes, traditions, and songs and dances (which have a far more significant role in polynesian cultures than in most western cultures). The center also conducts, directly and indirectly, scholarly research necessary to assure the authenticity of the centers activities and to foster the preservation and appreciation of polynesian cultures. The revenues listed in part viii are generated primarily by admissions paid by visitors to the village complex. In addition, since many visitors spend most of the day and evening at the center and the location of the center is somewhat remote, cafeteria-style dining facilities and snack bars are provided for the convenience of the center's visitors. Approximately 664,634 guests visited the center in 2014.

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