Polynesian Culture Center

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Deanna Ward

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Jun 29, 1993, 2:39:38 PM6/29/93
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I have noticed that there are lots of opinions for and against advising friends
and tourists to visit the Polynesian Culture Center. I can see that locals
feel this is a "tourist trap" attraction, but for someone who is unfamiliar
with the differences in island cultures (Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, etc.)
and the "old ways" of doing things, what's so bad about going to this place?

If everyone went to Hawaii to see the island's beauty and to enjoy the water
and weather and nothing more, then they shouldn't go to the Culture Center.
But if they want to learn some of the (old) ways of the island people, where
else can they go to learn this. OK, the Bishop Museum is great, but how
about the dances? And besides, tourists LIKE to be entertained.

I think visiting the Culture Center ONCE is OK. I just wonder why several
subscribers to this newsgroup would not recommend it at all?

Dee
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Deanna Ward INGRES, a Division of the ASK GROUP
1080 Marina Parkway Village
dea...@ingres.com Alameda, Ca.

Karen Lofstrom

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Jun 29, 1993, 4:51:21 PM6/29/93
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Deanna Ward (dea...@Ingres.COM) wrote:

: I think visiting the Culture Center ONCE is OK. I just wonder why several


: subscribers to this newsgroup would not recommend it at all?

Because it's smarmy. Because you have to travel in groups and say "Aloha"
in unison. Because it's often anthropologically inaccurate. Because the
guides may be competent members of modern Polynesian cultures, but don't
necessarily know a darn thing about precontact cultures. (The time I
went, the Tahiti guide was telling people that Taitian quilting had been
invented before the Europeans came, which is utterly false.) Because the
Mormons have their own strange version of Polynesian prehistory
(Polynesians are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel) and the
stageshow that I saw, depicting the settling of Polynesia, was artfully
designed to avoid mentioning anything that would contradict the Mormon view.

If you're LDS from the Midwest, the Polynesian Cultural Center may be just
the thing. For me, it wasn't.

--
--- Karen Lofstrom lofs...@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.edu
K.Lofstrom on GEnie

Kennan Ferguson

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Jun 29, 1993, 5:47:15 PM6/29/93
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Karen Lofstrom (lofs...@uhunix3.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu) wrote:
: Deanna Ward (dea...@Ingres.COM) wrote:

: : I think visiting the Culture Center ONCE is OK. I just wonder why several
: : subscribers to this newsgroup would not recommend it at all?

<Many excellent reasons deleted>

Additionally, there are those of us who are opposed to faux luaus for the
tourists, feeling that a people's history and culture ought not
be Disneyfied for sale as mere entertainment. This goes beyond Ms. Lofstrom's
reasons in implying that there is *no* correct way to run a PCC.

Remy Hiramoto

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Jun 29, 1993, 11:14:57 PM6/29/93
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It seems a lot of people have been debating on whether a trip to the
Polynesian Culture Center is a worthwhile trip for someone who may
not be from Hawaii and is there for a vacation. I happen to think
it is a good idea. Years ago I had a girlfriend who worked there as
a dancer. Yeah, there were a few people who worked there as guides
and yeah sometimes there were some inaccuracies. But all in all it
was a fun place to visit. There first thing about Hawaii that I think
of is that there is so many different "Hawaii's". And the P.C.C. is just
one slice of Hawaii. I lived on Oahu for 18 years and I never went to
a Kodak Luau, but I don't tell people not to go to one. If that is what
they want out of a trip to Hawaii so be it. I just hope that people are
able to see as much of Hawaii as possible. Personally, my idea of a luau
when I was growing up was going to my uncle's place in Waimanalo where the
luau took place in the garage and front yard. The food included lau lau,
poi, pipikaula and all that good stuff as well as Kal Bi, poke, macaroni
salad. Uncle would be sitting on a chair that was much too small for his
frame playing the ukulele singing his best falsetto. There is so much to
Hawaii. To all those planning a visit there, see as much as you can, and
talk to people. It's the people that make Hawaii what it is, without them
it's just another tropical island with beautiful beachs, clean water, fresh
air, and mean grinds (hey, that's not that bad!).
remy

BRANDAUER CARL M

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Jun 30, 1993, 11:45:29 AM6/30/93
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lofs...@uhunix3.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu (Karen Lofstrom) writes:

>Deanna Ward (dea...@Ingres.COM) wrote:

Anyone who has ever visited any part of Polynesia outside of Hawaii
knows that Karen is absolutely correct - the Polynesian Cultural Center is
what the LDS would like you to believe the islands are all about. Also,
remember that until a few years ago, brown/black people could not become
members of the LDS. This changed whem the church discovered that the
Seventh Day Adventists were making bundles in Polynesia and they, the LDS,
wanted in on the act.

Karen Lofstrom

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Jul 1, 1993, 12:04:02 AM7/1/93
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BRANDAUER CARL M (bra...@rintintin.Colorado.EDU) wrote:

: remember that until a few years ago, brown/black people could not become


: members of the LDS. This changed whem the church discovered that the
: Seventh Day Adventists were making bundles in Polynesia and they, the LDS,
: wanted in on the act.

Um ... a few inaccuracies here. The Mormons would admit African-Americans,
but they wouldn't allow them in the priesthood. Of course, every other
adult male Mormon was expected to become become a priest, so the
discrmination was blatant. The LDS have _always_ been eager to convert
Native Americans and Polynesians. The first missions to the South Pacific
were over a hundred years ago, I believe. Neither the LDS nor the Seventh
Day Adventists make any money from their Polynesian missions. The Mormons
in particular are pouring millions of dollars into building temples,
churches, and schools, and providing housing and education for their
converts -- who are motivated, in many cases, by the many _material_
benefits of church membership.

I hope you don't feel sandbagged, Carl. I'm an anthropologist
specializing in contemporary Tongan religions. No reason you should have
known any of this.

Jim Freeze

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Jul 1, 1993, 2:02:56 PM7/1/93
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bra...@rintintin.Colorado.EDU (BRANDAUER CARL M) writes

>lofs...@uhunix3.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu (Karen Lofstrom) writes:

>>Deanna Ward (dea...@Ingres.COM) wrote:

>>: I think visiting the Culture Center ONCE is OK. I just wonder why several
>>: subscribers to this newsgroup would not recommend it at all?

>>Because it's smarmy. Because you have to travel in groups and say "Aloha"

What is smarmy???? FALSE, you don't have to
travel in groups!

>>in unison. Because it's often anthropologically inaccurate. Because the
>>guides may be competent members of modern Polynesian cultures, but don't
>>necessarily know a darn thing about precontact cultures. (The time I
>>went, the Tahiti guide was telling people that Taitian quilting had been>invented before the Europeans came, which is utterly false.) Because the
>>Mormons have their own strange version of Polynesian prehistory
>>(Polynesians are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel) and the

FALSE again! The lost tribes are still lost.
Where are you receiving your misinformation?

>>stageshow that I saw, depicting the settling of Polynesia, was artfully
>>designed to avoid mentioning anything that would contradict the Mormon view.

>>If you're LDS from the Midwest, the Polynesian Cultural Center may be just
>>the thing. For me, it wasn't.
>>--
>>--- Karen Lofstrom lofs...@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.edu
>> K.Lofstrom on GEnie

>Anyone who has ever visited any part of Polynesia outside of Hawaii
>knows that Karen is absolutely correct - the Polynesian Cultural Center is
>what the LDS would like you to believe the islands are all about. Also,
>remember that until a few years ago, brown/black people could not become

FALSE again!! Brown/black people have NEVER been excluded
from membership in the LDS church!

>members of the LDS. This changed whem the church discovered that the
>Seventh Day Adventists were making bundles in Polynesia and they, the LDS,
>wanted in on the act.

Yea, like the LDS church needs the money.

I realize that you may be unintentially misinformed, but
please try to refrain from spreading something that you
are not very well informed in on.

Thank you.

Garison E Piatt

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Jul 2, 1993, 7:04:21 AM7/2/93
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I find a lot of inconsistancies here, with locals suggesting that
tourists avoid the PCC. A frequent arguement is that it's just a
way for the LDS to make a truckload of money. That may be true,
but so what? The nightly show at the Royal is just a way for the
Brothers Cazimero to make a truckload of money, but most people
agree that it's a good take. What's the difference? In either
case, the tourists are being *entertained*. It keeps them off the
streets, and reduces the traffic problems. :-)

Having been to the PCC, I would recommend it heartily to any first
or second time tourist. It is good entertainment, even if it is
not historically accurate (and people who think "Mahalo" means
"garbage" do not care about historical accuracy). You don't have to
travel in groups or shout "aloha" in unison, and the luau show is
fun, even though it is not "traditional". And for many tourists,
it provides their *only* sampling of Hawaiian foods.

I've never been one for complaining -- I prefer *doing*. If the
historical inaccuracies and untraditional luau at PCC are that much
of an annoyance, then *do* something about it: petition the PCC to
update their shows (for they are, after all, just shows) with accur-
ate information. Otherwise, just let the lambs -- uh, *tourists* --
enjoy themselves.

-garison


--

----------------------------------------------------------------------
garison ellsworth piatt gar...@world.std.com or pi...@gdc.com
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Deanna Ward

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Jul 2, 1993, 2:52:59 PM7/2/93
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Garison -

Are you the only sensible person on this newsgroup?? This is the only
sensible retort to my original question about advising friends and tourists
to visiting the Culture Center.

Taylor Hutt

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Jul 2, 1993, 4:51:47 PM7/2/93
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Being sensible in a response to the PCC takes a lot of thought. When I
was living in Hawaii, I avoided that area like the plague. Now that I
have been away, I think differently. For entertainment, it is no worse
than Hawaii 5-O or Raven.

If you want realistic entertainment, stay home. Hawaii, for the worker,
for the teenager, and everyone else living on the islands, is just another
city in America. (Ok, it has better scenery and better weather, but it is
just a city).

Hawaii also has the problem that they attract the wrong type of American
tourist. They should be attracting the Centrum crowd, but they instead
continue to cater to the 'moped trash' that sleep 8 to a single hotel
room. If the legislature would get off their collective butt and make it
attractive to the older crowd, it would be better.

It is a simple matter of economics, older people have much more money to
spend than moped tourists.

Taylor Hutt

Hilarie Orman

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Jul 2, 1993, 8:25:57 PM7/2/93
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In article <212753$b...@access.digex.net>, th...@access.digex.net (Taylor Hutt) writes:
|>
|> If you want realistic entertainment, stay home. Hawaii, for the worker,
|> for the teenager, and everyone else living on the islands, is just another
|> city in America.
|> ...

|> Hawaii also has the problem that they attract the wrong type of American
|> tourist. They should be attracting the Centrum crowd, but they instead
|> continue to cater to the 'moped trash' that sleep 8 to a single hotel
|> room. If the legislature would get off their collective butt and make it
|> attractive to the older crowd, it would be better.

I hope you mean that Honolulu is just another city? Or that people living
in Hawaii never stop to think about it as a special place?

Hawaii is extremely attractive to "the older crowd." Whatever is it that you
tnink should be done? Add casinos and Disneyworld?

Taylor Hutt

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Jul 2, 1993, 9:35:51 PM7/2/93
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>I hope you mean that Honolulu is just another city? Or that people living
>in Hawaii never stop to think about it as a special place?
>
Yeah, that is what I meant. I am at 2400bps, and I should be working on
my compiler, not wasting bandwidth... :-)

>Hawaii is extremely attractive to "the older crowd." Whatever is it that you
>tnink should be done? Add casinos and Disneyworld?

First, make it less attractive to the younger crowd. They can do this by
making it more expensive to stay in a hotel for groups of people.

Secondly, HVB should be catering their commercials to the older crowd.
Offering group discounts as if multi-colored matching shirts were going
out of style.

A hotel tax should also be added (this does not affect which person is
touring, but it is a great revenue boost. Another thing they could do is
like Europe: Charge for public restroom use).

When in my economics class in Hawaii, a set of figures was quoted:
$300/day for Japanese tourists, $100/day for retired American tourists,
much less for the moped tourists.

If you wanted the coffers to grow, to whom would you cater?

Taylor

Hilarie Orman

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Jul 2, 1993, 11:00:32 PM7/2/93
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In article <212npn$g...@access.digex.net>, th...@access.digex.net (Taylor Hutt) writes:
|>
|> When in my economics class in Hawaii, a set of figures was quoted:
|> $300/day for Japanese tourists, $100/day for retired American tourists,
|> much less for the moped tourists.
|>
|> If you wanted the coffers to grow, to whom would you cater?
|>

Obviously, to Japanese tourists. I think the retired American tourist
market is tapped to da max. Probably ditto for the yuppie American
tourist, as much because of image as cost.

In New Zealand, the government is completely distressed over the
large numbers of retired tourists who were just not spending at the
levels NZ would like to become accustomed to.

Lawrence Akutagawa

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Jul 4, 1993, 11:53:44 AM7/4/93
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In article <212sog$n...@optima.cs.arizona.edu> h...@cs.arizona.edu (Hilarie Orman) writes:
>In article <212npn$g...@access.digex.net>, th...@access.digex.net (Taylor Hutt) writes:
>|>
>|> When in my economics class in Hawaii, a set of figures was quoted:
>|> $300/day for Japanese tourists, $100/day for retired American tourists,
>|> much less for the moped tourists.
>|> If you wanted the coffers to grow, to whom would you cater?
>
>Obviously, to Japanese tourists.

Back in the '70s, concern was expressed that altho the Japanese tourists spent
more, most - if not - all of their spendings went back to Japan rather than
to the island economy. They tended to come to the islands in Japanese owned
tour groups rather than come over as individuals as most mainland folks do.
As a result, they tended to come to Hawaii in Japanese owned airlines,
to stay in Japanese owned hotels, eat in Japanese owned places, toured in
Japanese owned buses, bought souvenirs/gifts in Japanese owned shops, etc.,
etc., etc. The only money that went back to the island economy for the most
part was for wages and supplies.

The point back then was that altho the mainland tourists spent less per day
per person, more of the dollars they spent went back into the island
economy than did the dollars the Japanese tourists spent.

Is this still an active concern in the islands? Anyone have any numbers on
how much ($ or %) of that $300/day and $100/day goes to the island economy?

Karen Lofstrom

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Jul 7, 1993, 4:31:04 AM7/7/93
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I was just going to let this thread die, but I'm having a hard time
ignoring the hate mail I'm getting from Mormons. Some people are
extremely upset at my negative review of the Polynesian Cultural
Center (PCC), and have attacked my accuracy and my motives.

Yes, I did make a mistake in saying that Mormons believe that
Polynesians are the lost tribes of Israel. The LDS _do_ believe
that the Americas were populated by Jews who arrived by boat from
Palestine. Native Americans are identified as Lamanites,
rebellious Jews who used to be "white, and exceedingly fair and
delightsome", but were cursed with dark skins for their sins. The
LDS believed that they had a special responsiblity to convert the
Lamanites, and were very active in setting up Indian missions. As
I recall -- and I don't have any sources here at home -- Mormons
believed that Polynesians were an offshoot of the Jewish settlers
in the Americas, and sent missionaries to the Pacific quite soon
after the founding of the LDS. (Garrett, a mission historian,
mentions Mormon missionaries in the Tuamotus in 1844.)

LDS beliefs about the peopling of the Americas (and Polynesia, if
my memory is correct) are completely antithetical to accepted
opinion in physical anthropology, historical linguistics, and
archaeology. Most Mormons must be aware of this. Hence what I saw
as a calculated evasion at the PCC: nothing of any substance is
said about the settlement of the various island groups.

Lacking any scientific underpinning, the presentation of "culture"
at the PCC is superficial. The various island cultures are
depicted as cute, quaint stereotypes, completely divorced from
history. As another poster said, it's the Disneyfication of island
cultures.

This won't matter to many visitors. My mother LOVED the PCC.
She's a conservative old lady with blue-rinsed hair who reads The
Reader's Digest. If your relatives read The Reader's Digest, send
them to the PCC. If they are a member of "the cultural elite" that
Dan Quayle hated, tell them to skip it. Since the elitists are a
minority by definition, PCC revenues shouldn't suffer.

As to travelling in groups -- I visited the PCC over ten years ago,
and I have been wrong in saying that people have to tour in groups.
I DO definitely remember one moment of horror -- being trapped in
a boat with a load of elderly tourists who were crooning ALO-O-O-O-
HA at the urging of the tour guide. If the PCC doesn't do this any
longer, great.

I'm not saying all this out of any desire to persecute Mormons. I
DO want to prevent people who would hate the PCC from wasting their
money.

Jim Freeze

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Jul 7, 1993, 10:25:05 AM7/7/93
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Thank you Karen for your post clarifying why you did not
like the PCC and that you were not just attacking the LDS
people as it seemed at first.

I thought the PCC was a good experience, though long, and
I don't think I would go again. But I would suggest it
to someone else for the experience. I am not an anthropologist
so I was not aware of the inaccuracies, but I dont think that
an exact scientific experience is what the intention of the
PCC is, otherwise it would be a muesem. Besides, you probably
didn't see the Samoan guy, a real comic and quite funny.

I would caution people of the price, (I had my ticket
paid for since I went on my honeymoon and it was a gift.).


Thanks again for your honest post.

Jim

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