Native American Indians are not the only native population in the United States (it's more of an umbrella term than an actual group). The native Hawaiians are Polynesian people who are culturally similar to the Maoris of New Zealand and the Tahitians of French Polynesia. The culture and traditions of Hawaiians are totally different from anything on the mainland. Next time one is in Hawaii, one of the best places to learn about their culture (and that of Polynesians in general) is at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

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The Polynesian people descend from one of the greatest human expansions in history with mind-bending exploration across the Pacific (the Pacific is huge - a third of the entire world surface). They rapidly spread reaching as far as Hawaii, New Zealand, Easter Island, and South America.

What To Know About The Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is a cultural theme park and living museum owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons). It was dedicated back in 1963 and is a family-centered attraction. See here for other islands to visit that are not Oahu.

At the cultural center, one will find 6 simulated tropical villages. According to GoHawaii, it has been voted the #1 paid attraction in Hawaii. These Pacific Island villages and exhibits offer a glimpse into the traditional cultures and lives of Polynesian peoples. They also boast Hawaii's most authentic luau called the "Hā: Breath of Life.”

  • Open Hours: 12:45 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Closed: Sundays & Wednesdays
  • Address: 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy Laie, Hawaii 96762

Related: If You're Not Doing These Things In Tahiti On Your Honeymoon, You're Doing It Wrong

The Six Themed Villages

The six villages are themed on six of the main Polynesian groups in the Pacific. These are:

Island Of Hawaii

  • Cultural Presentation Times: 1 PM, 2 PM, 3 PM, 4 PM, 5 PM
  • See: Traditional Polynesian Life And How it Has Evolved On the Islands Of Hawaii

Island Of Aotearoa (New Zealand)

  • Cultural Presentation Times: 1:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:30 PM
  • See: Maori Tattoos, Watch the Famous Maori Warrior Dance Called The "Haka"
  • Name: Aotearoa Is The Maori Name For New Zealand

Note: New Zealand was The Last Major Landmass To Be Settled By Humans, With Maoris Only Arriving Around 700 Years Ago. New Zealand Is Both The Largest And (Perhaps) Youngest Of The Polynesian Nations

Island Of Fiji

  • Cultural Presentation Times: 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:30 PM
  • See: Traditional Polynesian Life In Fiji And Learn Why Their Warriors Are Mighty And Feared

Island Of Samoa

  • Cultural Presentation Times: 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00, PM 4:00 PM, 4:30 PM
  • See: Samoan Song And Dance, Watch Young Samoan Warriors Climb a 40 Foot Coconut Tree barefoot.

Note: During The Age of Imperialism, Samoa Was Caught Between Three Imperial Countries Seeking to Take Over The Country (Germany, Britain, and the United States). New Zealand Took Over German Samoa In WW1 and Today It Is Independent. Today American Samoa Remains A Territory of the United States.

Related: Samoa Vs American Samoa: Why Are They Worth It, And Which You Should Visit?

Island Of Tahiti (Part Of French Polynesia)

  • Cultural Presentation Times: 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3 PM, 4 PM
  • See: The Best Of Tahitian Dance And Love, See Why Everyone Loves Tahiti!

Tip: One Of The Strangest Stories In History Is The Mutiny On The Bounty, For Those Interested in History And A Very Odd Time In Tahitian History, Be Sure To Read up about it. See Here For How To Plan A Perfect Trip To Tahiti

Island of Tonga

  • Cultural Presentation Times: 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:30 PM, 5 PM
  • See: Traditional Polynesian Life In Tonga, Paddle A Canoe And see How The Village Is Filled With Joy

Packages for Visiting The Cultural Center

Visiting the cultural center is much more than just visiting a typical museum and the pricing and packages reflex that (don't expect it to be cheap). The packages include:

Exclusive Super Ambassador Luau Package:

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  • Time: 12:45 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Adult: $242.95
  • Child (4-11): $194.36

Note: Sold Out Until Dec 8, 2021 (Plan In Advance)

Offers: Private Guided tour Through 6 Island Villages, Alii Luau Buffet With Live Entertainment, Premium Seating At the "HA: Breath of Life" Evening Show, Reserved Canoe Ride

Exclusive Alii Luau Package:

  • Time: 12:45 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Adult: $169.95
  • Child: (4-11): $135.96

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Offers: Interact With Island Villages In The Authentic Village Settings, Alii Luau Buffet, Luau-Level Seating At The "HA: Breath of Life" Evening Show

Exclusive Gateway Buffet Package:

  • Time: 12:45 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Adult: $139.95
  • Child: (4-11): $111.96

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Offers: Self-Guided Tours Through 6 Island Villages, Gateway Buffet Dinner, General-Level Seating At The "HA: Breath of Life" Evening Show

Islands Of Polynesia

  • Time: 12:45 pm - 5:30 pm
  • Adult: $69.95
  • Child (4-11): $55.96

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Offers: Self-Guided Tour Through 6 Island Villages

For more information and booking the packages, see their website here.

Without a doubt, the Polynesian Cultural Center is one of the best places in the world to learn about this proud and unique collection of countries and cultures that dot the Pacific. Hawaii is much more than volcanoes and tropical beaches. They were the great explorers and navigators of the world before the days of Christopher Columbus and Captain Cook!

Next: Why Fiji Is A Safe Destination And How To Have The Best Vacation