Kūpuna celebrate opening of Hukilau Store

When the PCC opened its then-new Hukilau Store on October 23, 1999, it was pono that Laie kūpuna who were there back in the day when the Latter-day Saint Hukilau “down in old Laie Bay” — as the song goes — were on hand to help with the celebrations.

For example, the Nani Laie Serenaders — including Aunty Vickie Kekuaokalani, Aunty Tino Koahou, Wylie SwappKeawe Enos, Aunty Martha Kalama, Miki Kuhia, Aunty Millie EnosLana Si’ufanua Burgess, and Aunty Ipo Thompson [most of them “no longer with us”] provided music…

…while the irrepressible Tauamō Malufau, a retired PCC lady, and Vaita’i Reed [just had to share a siva or two.

For the uninitiated, in 1948

members of the only Latter-day Saint ward back then started putting on a hukilau event where the laulau was the kaukau at the big luau.

Local Saints staged the hukilau to raise funds for various church building and budget projects — for example, erecting the “back chapel,’ which Elder Matthew Cowley dedicated in 1951, that played a part in the original Church College of Hawaii’s temporary campus.

The Hukilau continued for more than 20 years . . . and is cited as the precursor of the Polynesian Cultural Center.

In short, it was a lot of work for the faithful members in Laie, but it was also good fun enjoyed by thousands and thousands of visitors.

BTW, the Hukilau Store got a re-make as part of the latest plans

The late Vaita'i Reed and Tauamo Malufau . . . at the opening of the Polynesian Cultural Center's Hukilau Store, in 1999.
The late Vaita’i Reed and Tauamo Malufau . . . at the opening of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Hukilau Store, in 1999.

Aunties Vaita’i Reed and Tauamō Malufau (pictured at upper-right) were among the first to get up and siva to the music.

that turned the building into the renamed Hawaiian Journey Theater — with a “volcano” motif on the outside, the new ‘Ulu Store inside, and a fantastic new digital film experience on the large screen — Hawaiian Journey — all as part of the PCC’s 50th anniversary.