Cultural collaboration great news

Friday June 10, 2016 Written by Published in Church Talk
Performances at the Polynesian Cultural Centre feature the talents of people from all over the Pacific. 16060915 Performances at the Polynesian Cultural Centre feature the talents of people from all over the Pacific. 16060915

THE announcement by the Minister Teariki Heather of the collaboration of the Cook Islands Ministry of Culture and the Polynesian Cultural Centre is truly a blessing for all Cook Islanders.


It brings the realisation of a dream for many LDS Saints and former students of BYU Hawaii that our identity and culture will be part of the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Hawaii.

His recent visit to Hawaii and meetings with the president of both the Polynesian Cultural Centre and the Brigham Young University Hawaii will now allow more Cook Islanders to study and share their Cook Islands culture at the PCC.

Brigham Young University–Hawaii, founded by prophets and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, exists to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life and in their efforts to influence the establishment of peace internationally.  We seek to accomplish this by:

Educating the minds and spirits of students within an intercultural, gospel-cantered environment and curriculum that increases faith in God and the restored gospel, is intellectually enlarging, is character building, and leads to a life of learning and service.

Preparing men and women with the intercultural and leadership skills necessary to promote world peace and international brotherhood, to address world problems, and to be a righteous influence in families, professions, civic responsibilities, social affiliations, and in the Church.

Extending the blessings of learning to members of the church, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.

Developing friends for the university and the church.

Maintaining a commitment to operational efficiency and continuous improvement.

Perhaps unique in all the world, BYU–Hawaii shares an unusual educational/business symbiotic relationship with the adjoining Polynesian Cultural Centre, Hawaii’s most successful paid-admission visitor attraction over 1 million visitors per year. The following figures and facts demonstrate the most outstanding aspects of this relationship:

Every year over 700 BYU–Hawaii students supplement their educational expenses by working at the PCC.

Two-thirds, or more than 500 of them participate in the unique BYUH/PCC International Work Opportunity Return-ability Kuleana (i-WORK) programme for selected students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to gain a tertiary education. Since the centre opened in October 1963, nearly 17,000 BYU–Hawaii students have worked there.

The centre gives students a wide variety of work assignments that strengthen their educational objectives and hone their English language skills by interacting with thousands of visitors each working day.

Their genuine aloha spirit, talent, youthful appeal and vitality has attracted more than 35 million visitors to the small community of Laie, Hawaii.

Over the years the centre has provided nearly $178 million in total financial support to BYU–Hawaii and its students.

Both the Polynesian Cultural Centre and Brigham Young University - Hawaii were founded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In its earliest years of operation before success was obvious, the PCC was sometimes described as an “aloha experiment.”

Since then the experiment has proved itself millions of times over, prompting BYU–Hawaii president Eric B Shumway to recently say of the two institutions: “We are not joined at the hip; we are joined at the heart.”

Historically known as a place of refuge, the quiet community of Laie lies at the edge of the ocean, against a backdrop of green mountains and misty valleys. The town basks in abundant sun, while cooling trade winds and the gentle sound of lapping tides complete an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

Residents are warm and welcoming, always vigilant for one another’s well-being. Many have close ties to the University; students and professors will often find each other in the aisles of the local supermarket or at the beach.  Local amenities within walking distance of campus include a shopping centre, restaurants, a movie theatre, and easy access to Hukilau and Pounders beaches. Laie is also within convenient proximity to the world-famous beaches of the North Shore, including Sunset Beach, Shark’s Cove, Waimea Bay, and Ehukai Beach, home of the “Banzai Pipeline.”

The community includes several other LDS Church-affiliated entities including the Laie Hawaii Temple, located adjacently northwest of the campus, the Polynesian Cultural Centre, Hawaii’s top paid-admission visitor attraction which was founded in 1963 to support BYU–Hawaii students while they receive their education. The Cultural Centre is also adjacent to the east-side of the campus, along Kamehameha Highway. Then there is Hawaii Reserves Inc., which manages many of the physical resources in Laie, including the Laie Shopping Centre.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii exists to provide an education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That atmosphere is created and preserved through commitment to conduct that reflects those ideals and principles. Members of the faculty, administration, staff, and student body at BYUH are selected and retained from among individuals who voluntarily live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Observance of such is a specific condition of employment and admission.

Those individuals who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also expected to maintain the same standards of conduct, except church attendance. All who represent BYUH are to maintain the highest standards of honour, integrity, morality, and consideration of others in personal behaviour.

Minister Heather’s invitation to encourage more Cook Islanders to share in this wonderful spirit is a blessing for all.

We welcome those who are interested and if you would like to know more, to contact Piltz Napa.         Kia Manuia,

            Piltz Napa

            District President, Cook Islands.

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