President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated a new expansion at the Church-owned Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in Hawaii, Saturday, August 29, 2015. The PCC’s Hukilau Marketplace is open in the small town of Laie on the island of Oahu, home to the Laie Hawaii Temple, Brigham Young University–Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center, located 35 miles north of Honolulu.
The Polynesian Cultural Center’s Hukilau Marketplace takes guests back to the 1950s with its vintage design, offering native music and dancing daily, traditional Polynesian eateries and shopping. “Here in Laie we have a wonderful moment where the Polynesian Center has been expanded, refreshed and renewed,” said President Uchtdorf.
The marketplace will employ many students from BYU–Hawaii, much like the Polynesian Cultural Center, where the students have shared their Pacific islands heritage with visitors for more than 50 years. The attraction helps hundreds of students fund their education every semester. Currently, 2,700 students are enrolled at the university representing 75 countries.
The dedication was attended by many long-time residents of the area and other Church leaders including Elder Kim B. Clark of the Seventy and his wife, Susan; Bishop Gérald Caussé, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and his wife, Valérie; and John S. Tanner, president of BYU–Hawaii, and his wife, Susan.
“The university [BYU-H] and PCC are bound together in a lot of pragmatic and practical ways,” said President Tanner, “But we’re bound together not only at the hip but at the heart.”
The enterprise includes a new 144-room hotel that offers employment opportunities for local residents as well as internship and work-study opportunities for students in BYU–Hawaii’s top-ranked Hospitality and Tourism Management program.
Bedi Racule is one of 150 students participating in the program. “It’s such a good opportunity to be a part of this grand opening, ever since I started I’ve learned so much,” said Racule. The program is the only one of its kind in the Church Educational System.
The new Marriott Courtyard Oahu North Shore also fills a need for additional accommodations on the North Shore of the island. Before its construction, the closest lodging was several miles away at Turtle Bay to the north or Kaneohe Bay farther to the south of Laie.
The hotel is built on property owned by the Church for the last 150 years where older and smaller accommodations were once located.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.