Ottley Wright: ‘PCC, like a family’

Ottley Wright, who is from Lotopā, Samoa, came to the Center in 1984 and graduated from BYU–Hawaii in 1992 in physical education.

He was a professor at Chadron State College in western Nebraska at the time of the 50th anniversary. He met his wife, Tracey, in Laie; they have four children.

First job at PCC: My first job here was as a canoe guide, and I also danced in the night show during the summer when the F1 [full-time student visa] students could work extra hours. I also drove the tram to the Temple.

I remember when I first started as

a canoe guide, I saw the older guys push the canoe out first, and then pole vault onto the canoe from the landing. When I tried that for the first time, I landed in the water and splashed some of the tourists. Of course, Kanani Manoa, who at the time was the supervisor, did not approve, and let me know.

Just being back here with the people, it’s like a family. PCC taught me how to be a family person, because everybody here cares for each other. That’s one of the things I learned here; that, and making long-term associations with the other employees.

Even at this point where I haven’t been here for over 20 years, I still connected with people I originally met at the Center.

I know the Center shaped me in a lot of ways — as an individual, and in being loyal to long-term friends.

Ottley Wright, former Polynesian Cultural Center tour guide
Ottley Wright, former PCC canoe and Laie Tour guide, at the 50th-anniversary reunion in 2013. (Photo by Mike Foley)

Working here also strengthened my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As a tour guide, I was able to share that with people on the Tram Tour to the Temple. Those are the things that I remember the most about the Center.