Slideshow: President Uchtdorf’s visit to Laie

On August 29, 2015, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the new Hukilau Marketplace addition to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and then dedicated the new Laie Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which is makai (seaward) of the PCC’s Maori Village. The following slideshow depicts some of the events and people involved that morning — photos by Mike Foley:


Hukilau Marketplace

Hukilau Marketplace
Picture 1 of 38

The Uchtdorfs look on Gerald and Valerie Causse chat with Patricia Wilson, a Tahitian, in French. (Photo by Mike Foley)

President Uchtdorf dedicates addition to Polynesian Cultural Center

Hukilau Marketplace part of effort to upgrade facility



By Mike Foley
For the Church News
of September 6, 2015


President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated a major new addition to the Church-affiliated Polynesian Cultural Center here on Aug. 29, after which he dedicated the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Church-owned property adjacent to the center.

Speaking from the new Hukilau Marketplace at the PCC, President Uchtdorf recalled he and his wife, Harriet, who accompanied him, first visted the attraction in 1976, and have enjoyed it ever since. “Your friendship, your kindness, your openness, your spirit of aloha is really what makes the difference,” he said.

President Uchtdorf was also accompanied to Hawaii by President Kim B. Clark of the Seventy, who is Commissioner of the Church Educational Sysgtem, and his wife, Susan; and Bishop Gérald K. Caussé, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric and his wife, Valérie.

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Samoa Mission Eldares sing again

[Story and video by Mike Foley — whose own LDS mission in Samoa partially overlapped the Eldares, originally published in Kaleo, February 2008]

The Eldares, Mormon missionaries in Samoa in 1963
The Eldares, then (left-right): Elders Richard Nielson, Carl Fonoimoana,Wayne Willis, Randy Broadhead with Samoa Mission President John Phillip Hanks. When Elder Broadhead got sick in mid-tour, Elder George Murdock took over for him.

A quartet of former Latter-day Saint missionaries in Samoa — two with ties to Laie — who created and recorded one of the island chain’s most popular songs for many years, will put on a series of concerts on Oahu.

Signature songs of the group include their own famous Masi Samoa, Usi le Fa’afofoga, Fa’alogo Ia, Samoa Silasila and Koko Samoa, among others.

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Lanihuli luau an ono success

[Story and photo by Mike Foley: Originally published in KALEO, March 12, 1998]

Lanihuli Hawaiian Civic Club luauThe Lanihuli Hawaiian Civic Club (LHCC) scholarship luau on March 7 was described as “the best country luau you’ll ever find.”

“To me, it’s what the old-time country luau used to be,” said new LHCC president Sheree Evans, who added that about 500 people attended the annual event on a perfect afternoon at Pu’uhonua o Malaekahana.

The entertainment was outstanding, including:

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Duo marks 20 years in Laie preschool

[Story and photos by Mike Foley: Originally published in KALEO, November 29, 1997]

Gerry NihipaliGerry Nihipali [pictured at right] and Lilian Makaiau have been preparing children for school for 20 years in Laie. They teach preschool for four-year-olds and last year they had children of former students in their classes. Their students mainly come from Laie, but they have had students as far away as Kaneohe and Pupukea. Teaching the children is one of Nihipali and Makaiau’s greatest love and passions.

They got started teaching when the preschool teacher who was teaching their children moved to the mainland. The teacher wanted someone to carry on with the program she had worked so hard to establish. She wanted it to stay in Laie and approached Makaiau about taking the preschool. Nihipali had the space to set up the preschool, and so they told her they’d do it. The teacher gave them all the materials she had been using. They have since amassed a great wea lth of knowledge and materials over the years.

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Kupuna tales: Old Laie and the Hukilau

Ahi Logan[By Mike Foley: Originally published in KALEO, September 25, 1997]

Ahi Logan’s [pictured on left] family roots run deep in Hawaii. Names like Kuakaha, Kawaiopua, Kaleohano, Nainoa and Lokona Kalili have great meaning to him, his family and the community. These are names of just a few of his ancestors. Logan can trace his family line back several generations because of the importance family and traditions played in the Hawaiian culture.

They were just able to recently connect on their Nainoa side. A lady named Makaua Kang gave Wilma Fonoimoana, Logan’s cousin, a box containing family records about four years ago. She gave the box to Logan and he discovered missing information that enabled him to trace his genealogy from himself all the way to the first man on his Nainoa line through his mother, Keli’iwaewae’ole.

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Pacific Pioneer: Aivao Leota

[Originally published in KALEO on April 3, 1997]

Connections to Samoa, Tonga and Hawaii


By Ipolani Thompson

As a little child, even before starting school, I’ve always loved and appreciated journals and genealogy. Always!  My mother, Vaiolini Leota Niko, was an excellent example of this for she was truly a record keeper. Her journals are filled with so much love, humility and gratitude to be able to pass on these treasures to her posterity. She always writes in her journals, “I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will guide me in my recordings in my journals, that whatever I record will benefit and inspire my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, in our wonderful Gospel.” Well, Mom, we are so blessed and inspired by your works that I want to share it with others.

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Kahana family shares taro patch

Ron Johnson in his family’s lo’i kalo in Kahana

[Originally published in KALEO on October 31, 1996]

Almost 200 people turned out early Saturday morning, Nov. 2nd, before the sun climbed over the Ko’olau ridges of Kahana Valley to squish their toes in the mud and help Ron Johnson plant huli or taro tops in his family patch alongside Kamehameha Highway. It had been almost 20 years since the lo’i had been used to grow taro.

“We had families from the Big Island, Molokai, Waianae,” Johnson said. “Lie had a good representation along with the neighboring communities. It was a great experience. The kids had a ball.”

“Basically, it’s the restoration of an old family patch. I’m trying to share it with the kids, and I hope we have more people who know how, who’ve done it before, come out and give me a hand. We need all the help we can get.”

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What a ‘wero’!

Over the past 40-plus years I’ve seen Maori at the Polynesian Cultural Center welcome many visiting groups of their countrymen with traditional greeting ceremonies, but I think the wero or challenge-and-acceptance protocol the PCC and Maori from the surrounding communities put on for Te Panekiretanga O Te Reo Maori on July 27, 2010, was one of the most exciting ever…

…partially because members are carefully accepted into the Napier, New Zealand-based group to study and perfect Maori language and cultural skills: Where in past groups maybe one or two of the manuhiri or visitors would respond to the challenge and karanga chants, nearly all Te Panekiretanga O Te Reo Maori members joined these thrilling moments as they entered the Maori marae at the Polynesian Cultural Center:

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Cultural serendipity

I experienced a brief moment of cultural serendipity when a number of Fijian and Tongan women performed a Fijian coming-of-age ceremony for several young women before they performed in nearby Kahuku High’s “May Night” program. The young women came on stage wrapped in traditional masi or bark cloth, which their older relatives unwrapped, before the girls danced a Fijian meke with their classmates.

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