Josephine Moea’i: ‘Guided by divine power’

Introduction: Memories of the late Josephine Moea’i (photo from the Photo Polynesia, Inc. archives, courtesy of Spencer Kamauoha). When she wrote this in October 1988, she had been working at the Center for 22 years and served as secretary for five general managers.]

JOSEPHINE MOEA’I recalled …when the Center was under construction, the people were eager and excited. I remember my mom reminiscing about those days when they used to come to the Hawaiian Village and weave mats and other things to get the village ready. It was like a picnic, as they would bring food, and after a day’s work, sit in the area and have lunch.

But there were also murmurings about the Center. The people murmured about having to pay to enter the grounds after it was completed and that they would be forgotten for the many hours they donated to build this place.

At first, community people were not all eager to see such an establishment arise. It was an invasion of their privacy and to their culture.

But as the years went by the people understood the purpose of the Center and the job opportunities it provided for the students to work their way through school and for their community.

I came to PCC in August 1966 and my fist interview was with F. Wayne Glaus, who at the time was the acting General Manager. He hired me and I and started working here on the 22nd of August.

A very busy operations office: We were located in the building which [housed] the Village Operation Office [for many years]. Besides the general manager, that building at the time also included the controller, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, reservations, purchasing, personnel, the switchboard operator, and the maintenance manager.

The controller was Roberta Anderson, payroll and accounts

payable were handled by Sandy Pukahi, accounts receivable by Gertrude Dana, reservations by Verdetta Kekuaokalani, switchboard by Vaiolini Niko, and Roger Keep was the maintenance manager.

I did the general manager’s office work as well as handled purchase order requisitions and sometimes even placed the orders. I also handled applications for job openings.

After applicants filled their applications out, I would send them to the departments with positions to be filled. I also had the responsibility of assisting the clerk in the accounts payable to balance the daily receipts before taking them to the bank.

I worked with Wayne Glaus for a little over a year and I liked working with him.

About the time I started out, theater performers were about ready to make their tour of the western states. They had a performance at the Hollywood Bowl, which Mike Grilikhes (of the Board of Directors) had arranged. The group also put on several shows in Salt Lake City.

Being new on the job, I remember all the long-distance phone calls from the mainland for purchase orders on flowers and leis to be shipped. It was a big deal and because of the group being away, we did not have the night show here for two weeks.

With Mike Grilikhes on the board, there were a lot of movie stars who visited the Center and it was wonderful to see these actors and actresses up close.

David Hannemann… was the assistant general manager to Wayne Glaus and his office was located below the stairway at the old theater.

After Wayne Glaus left the Center during the summer of 1967, David remained as the Assistant.

He was the one who had such creative ideas for the programs in the villages. He was the dreamer, the planner, and the initiator, and if the program did not go well, he would toss it out and get to another idea.

Programs that took place at that time and tossed out were the

Josephine Moea'i, who started at the Center in 1966, worked as secretary to five general managers.
Josephine Moea’i started at the Center in 1966.

roving musicians through the villages, the dressed pig ceremony through the villages just before dinnertime, the flag-raising ceremony, and the fashion show during the lunch hour.There was also the Hauoli Sunset and the villagers performing on Coconut Island which, I think, is how the canoe pageant got its start.

You know, I really love the Center. I keep thinking, though, during the early days when we were very humble in our own way and the closeness we felt from employee to employee. We knew almost everybody who worked here. I just can’t seem to express the kinds of feelings felt at that time compared to now.

Good times and struggle: We had good times. To struggle, I think it was the enjoyable part. Earnings were not very high: I think it was $1.25 an hour and $2.50 a section in the night show. There were little murmurings about their low pay, but they still enjoyed what they were doing.

I really think that this place is being guided by a divine power. To have us survive the many years we already have, I would call it a miracle.

Without the help of the Lord this could not have happened. We have had men managing the Center who honored their priesthood and always acknowledged the Lord in all that has happened to the Center.

These men were able to budget well, to cut down expenses and employment when needed, to sell the Center and work with the many travel agents to make this come about.

I am really so proud of the men I worked for and to see the growth of the Center.