PCC celebrates 27th annual Moanikeala Hula Festival

Hula dancers from Japan

The Kamaluwehiokapalai halau hula from Japan

Story and photos by Mike Foley
[First published in the Polynesian Cultural Center blog, February 2017]

As it has for the past several years, the Polynesian Cultural Center hosted its annual Moanikeala Hula Festival on February 4, 2017, in a perfect setting — under the monkeypod tree in the Hawaiian Village. [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Senior missionary explains Book of Mormon “wordprint” analysis

PCC senior missionary Elder Gale Bryce
Elder Bryce

[Story and photo by Mike Foley, originally published to the BYU–Hawaii “electronic newsroom,” April 17, 2007]

Elder Gale Bryce, a volunteer service missionary at the Polynesian Cultural Center, explained in the heavily attended April 17 School of Computing InForm meeting how two former colleagues used “wordprint” statistical analyses to authenticate Book of Mormon authorship.

Elder Bryce — retired BYU Provo Associate Dean of the College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences and former chairman of its Statistics Department who now helps PCC with quality assurance analyses — explained wordprints are analagous to fingerprints: “They are based on the theory that an author develops subconscious habits over time in the way he or she writes.”

He added his colleagues, Wayne Larsen and Alvin Rencher, used statistical analysis software he partially developed to help us understand how the Book of Mormon was translated and who wrote it.

[Read more…]

Reflections of ‘We Are Samoa’

For the past 20 years the Polynesian Cultural Center has put on an annual “We Are Samoa” traditional arts and skills festival for high school students across Oahu. Here are some of my selected images from the May 11, 2013, festival:

Lua halau visits Nioi Heiau

[Story and photo by Mike Foley: Originally published in KALEO, March 26, 1998]

Nioi Heiau, LaiePa-Ku’i-a-Lua, a halau of Hawaiians studying the ancient martial art of lua, and family members visited the Nioi Heiau [pictured at right] and Hawai’i Reserves, Inc.’s new taro project in Laie on March 14 to gain additional exposure to Hawaiian culture.

Richard Paglinawan, a special assistant with The Queen Emma Foundation and one of the leaders of Pa-Ku’i-a-Lua, said the visit “was part of our orientation to ku’i sites. Many of them have not had this exposure,” he said. “In order to understand lua, they must also understand where they came from from a cultural perspective.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

BYUH students learn about service dogs

[Story and photos by Mike Foley: Published originally in the BYU-Hawaii online “Newsroom,” March 5, 2009]

Susan LuehrsBrigham Young University Hawaii Honors students learned in their colloquium on March 4 about a unique program in nearby Kahuku — one of only 40 in the world — fully accredited to train highly skilled service dogs to help disabled people, and how they differ from other assistance, therapeutic and “seeing eye” guide dogs as well as other service animals.

Susan Luehrs [pictured at right], Executive Director of Hawaii Fi-Do, which is based in the makai parking lot of Kahuku Medical Center, was a special education teacher at Kahuku High when she first got involved with training the unique dogs in 1999 as a way to help her students. She brought Ehu [pictured below: the name refers to its hair color], a year-old Labradoodle that is part of the program, who lay quietly near Luehrs for most of the presentation. Labradoodles are an evolving hybrid originally cross-bred in Australia between Labrador Retrievers and Poodles for their temperament and low-shedding hypoallergenic fur.

[Read more…]

Desperately needed products

[Story and photo by Mike Foley: Published originally in the BYU-Hawaii online “Newsroom,” January 20, 2004]

Humanitarian marketing: selling desperately needed
products for people who can’t afford to buy them

Will HartzwellThe co-founder and partner in a unique water pasteurization equipment company with widespread potential in developing countries faces the challenge of trying to market a desperately needed product to people who can’t afford to buy it.

Will Hartzwell [pictured at right], president of the Honolulu-based Safe Water Systems, told BYU-Hawaii business students in the Jan. 20 Entrepreneurship Lecture Series that he and his partner formed their company about nine years ago with the “very powerful humanitarian mission…to significantly improve the health quality of life worldwide” through clean water.

“Our philosophy is the more we make, the more we can help people…and benefit the entire world,” he said.

Hartzwell shared some startling statistics: [Read more…]

The ‘big payday most entrepreneurs dream of’

[Story and photo by Mike Foley: Published originally in the BYU-Hawaii online “Newsroom,” September 12, 2006]

A Honolulu attorney advises business students on exit strategies

In the first entrepreneurship lecture of Fall Semester 2006, Honolulu attorney Larry Gilbert provided BYU-Hawaii School of Business students with “some real world lessons” on the “big payday most entrepreneurs dream of” — the exit, or selling off a start-up company.

“I will tell you what they never taught me about [exits] in school or law practice,” said Gilbert, of counsel with Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing Lawyers and an expert in providing legal and management assistance to technology growth companies who has been personally involved in three exits.

Speaking in the McKay Auditorium on September 12, Gilbert said exits typically fall into three categories: IPOs — initial public offerings of stock, acquisitions or mergers, and organic or cost-effective growth from within.

[Read more…]

Effective habits of entrepreneurship

[Story and photo by Mike Foley: Published originally in the BYU-Hawaii online “Newsroom,” September 11, 2007]

Stephen GibsonStephen W. Gibson [pictured on the right], the new Entrepreneur-in-Residence in the BYU-Hawaii Mark and Laura Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship shared seven highly effective habits with School of Business students during the first lecture in the CIE’s 2007-08 series.

Gibson, who sold his multi-state medical oxygen business in 1993 and then became an entrepreneurship professor at BYU in Provo, is perhaps better known here at this point for participating in the CIE’s annual business plan competitions. In 1999 he and his wife, Bette, founded the Academy for Creative Enterprise (ACE) in Cebu, Philippines; and he was named the BYU-Hawaii Executive of the Year in 2002. He also recently started the Utah Angels, a venture capital group that helps aspiring entrepreneurs.

[Read more…]

Shakespeare scholar explains value of Bard’s first folios

[Story and photo by Mike Foley: Published originally in the BYU-Hawaii online “Newsroom,” February 13, 2009]

Prof. Neil Freeman

A prominent Shakespeare scholar who is on campus co-directing the Brigham Young University Hawaii Fine Arts production of Twelth Night, detailed to students in the February 12 Honors Program colloquium in McKay 101 how 18th century-through-modern editors of Shakespeare’s plays have removed or altered many intrinsic directions found in the Bard’s first folio printings.

Professor Neil Freeman [pictured at left] — originally from Southport, England, and a weekly stock actor, author, lecturer, director, John Gielgud Scholar at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, current professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and Shakespeare consultant at numerous other universities, theaters and festivals — is an authority on using Shakespeare’s original scripts. He has also been associated with BYU Provo and BYU-Hawaii for 20-plus years.

The white-bearded Freeman, whose presentation was filled with dramatic flair and interaction, recalled when he first started looking at “what we call the old scripts, the stuff that was given to the first actors, it was like a light bulb going off in my head… I promise you, if you gave a modern edition of Shakespeare into the original actors’ hands, they wouldn’t understand a thing, because of the way things have been set down on paper and totally revamped. They’re totally different now than what they were before.”

[Read more…]

History missionary traces close PCC/BYU-Hawaii ties

[Story and photo by Mike Foley: Published originally in the online  BYU-Hawaii “Newsroom,” September 26, 2003]

Elder BritschElder R. Lanier Britsch [pictured at left], a service missionary working on writing the 40-year history of the Polynesian Cultural Center, traced the close ties between BYU-Hawaii and the popular visitor attraction during the University’s Sept. 25 devotional address.

“The history of the Polynesian Cultural Center is closely bound to BYU-Hawaii,” said Elder Britsch, the former BYUH Vice President of Academics and author of several history books on the growth of the Church in Asia and the Pacific. He is collaborating with the Center’s first employee and long-time executive, T. David Hannemann, on the PCC history book.

[Read more…]

Elder Ballard speaks on BYUH, PCC impact

[Story by Mike Foley: Published originally in the BYU-Hawaii online “Newsroom,” June 11, 2008]

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the TwelveElder M. Russell Ballard [pictured at left] of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, emphasized the importance of the generosity of members of the BYU-Hawaii and Polynesian Cultural Center President’s Leadership Council (PLC) at their April 7, 2008, meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, by underscoring the role the Lord would have the sister institutions accomplish, especially in Asia.

[Read more…]

One glorious, golden morning…

[Blog entry by Mike Foley: Originally published May 24, 2009]

SunburstAfter a church meeting today, a friend who has been teaching early-morning Laie North Stake Seminary told me how he still got up early this past week, even though class is over for the school year, and went for a walk on Hukilau Beach — one of the great treasures of our community. He said it was very beautiful and peaceful as the sun came up . . . which reminded me of an experience I had several years ago on the same beach one glorious, golden morning: [Read more…]

PCC World Fireknife preliminaries: May 14, 2009

[Story and photos by Mike Foley, originally published May 15, 2009]

PCC World Fireknife competition, May 2009The senior men’s preliminary round in the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 17th annual World Fireknife Championship on May 14, 2009 saw a smaller field of entrants, but a tougher level of competition as the skilled “warriors” once again put their skills with the flaming knives in front of a panel of judges and an wildly appreciative audience.

After all the flames were all extinguished and the drums silenced, the judges selected nine of the senior men (age 18-and-up) to advance to the semifinals. They are:

Jeurell Lavata’i, American Samoa
Dana Teai, Tahiti
Pati Levasa, Samoa (via Hong Kong)
Brandon “Fue” Maneafaiga, Waianae
Joseph Cadousteau, Tahiti
Mikaele Oloa, Waialua, Oahu
Lopeti Tu’ua, Lahaina, Maui
Viavia “VJ” Tiumalu Jr., Orlando, Florida
Chesrveigh “Jessie” Usiel, Guam

See a sampling of my pictures that will be posted on the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Samoan World Fireknife Championship web site, http://www.polynesia.com/fireknife/fire.html . . . and at http://www.polynesia.com/blog [Read more…]