Tribute to the late “Uncle Bill”

After “Uncle Bill” — William Kauaiwiulaokalani Wallace III — passed away on March 2, 2009, I started digging through some of my old photos to put together a pictorial tribute, along with a few comments. Most of these photos center around the BYU-Hawaii sailing canoe, Iosepa, and either have never previously been published or haven’t been seen for some time:

Here’s the back-story: [Read more…]

Sharing old photos

I’m slowly going through some of my old back-up files (in preparation for donating copies to the BYU-Hawai Archives), and picked a few shots taken primarily for the Kaleo community newspaper or the Polynesian Cultural Center that I thought you might enjoy seeing. Some of these have previously been published, while others have only been seen by me before now.

Beach baptisms in Laie and…

…throughout Hawaii. At the outset, let me say I sustain my Latter-day Saint Church leaders, and will follow their directions, one of the most recent of which I just heard this evening — February 15, 2009, when our Laie Hawaii North Stake President Finau Hafoka announced… [Read more…]

Samoan vs. Hawaiian names

In my last entry, I went on-and-on about the Samoan language, and made a few comparisons with other Polynesian languages, which reminded me of a brief incident years ago that demonstrates the difference between many Samoan and Hawaiian names: [Read more…]

E hoa: Congratulations, Alfred

al_grace2-09
Grace

It is with great pleasure that I congratulate my young friend and former colleague, Puataata (if you ever wondered what the P. stands for) Alfred Grace, who was recently named as the first-ever Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Polynesian Cultural Center. I can honestly say I knew Al back when.

I first met Al when he  recently returned from serving a Latter-day Saint mission in his native New Zealand (actually he’s from that thriving blink-stop town of Turangi in the North Island) and was working as a sales guide in the Polynesian Cultural Center Reservations Department — along with fellow Kiwi and Turangi mate Varen Berryman, as well as Francis Ho Ching.

They were terrific sales people, and I think that Kiwi accent helped Al and Varen close more than a few VIP sales. For his part, Al has always been quick to recognize the late Fia Moea’i (Mau) Sataraka, PCC’s long-time Reservations manager who helped train those young men, and many others…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As I recall the story… [Read more…]

A bamboo cannon: New Year’s 2009

First, Happy New Year 2009, or as we say in Hawaii: Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Those of you who know New Year’s Eves in Hawaii will smile, while those of you who haven’t ever had the pleasure can’t imagine the noise and smoke of the fireworks, plus the enjoyment of the grindz — the food — and fun as families or even whole streets, especially in places like Laie, put picnic tables under easy-up awnings and go at the excitement of burning off thousands of dollars of fireworks. Some Laie families are well-known for their annual New Year’s Eve street parties.

Again, for those not familiar with Oahu, firecrackers up to a certain modest length and quantity are legal (with a permit, from licensed vendors), while almost every store sells the usual fireworks — sparklers, cones, spinners, pop-pops, etc., etc. But the legal limits have never stopped illegal pyrotechnics that also invade the community every year, including window-shaking aerial bombs, bursts and various rockets.

Amid all of this for the first time last night I noticed another noisemaker I hadn’t seen for many years: A Samoan fana ‘ofe or bamboo cannon. [Read more…]

Some help with the Aborigines

In the early 1990s the management team at the Polynesian Cultural Center was trying to develop a series of “special events” to help overcome one of the periodic downturns in the visitor industry: The idea being to offer something new or different that would encourage people to visit, including some of those who have been before. Interestingly, the PCC’s Haunted Lagoon spooky canoe ride in October 2008 and the current A Gift for Sadie Christmas canoe ride are recent examples.

But I’m thinking of our earlier efforts, some of which are still going strong — the Samoan World Fire Knife Dance competition being the best example. Others were one-time hits… [Read more…]

Not just a writer

I’ve done tons of writing over the past 35 years, and have been a relatively successful freelance writer for the past eight years (prior to that I usually wrote as part of my regular job assignments)…but I’m actually interested in all the digital media: web building, still and motion imagery, web movies, etc.

Check out one of my latest web videos on the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Christmas canoe ride.