Pōuli Magalei Sr.: From town runner to tram driver

Pouli Magalei sr. started in 1964, when he came from American Samoa. He worked for two years as a tour guide, usher, and town runner. He left for a while, and came back to work in Security from 1971-72. He returned again about four years ago as the Laie Tram Tour driver.

Meeting neighbors and guests: I really liked how at the luau in the 1960s, people had dishes from each of the islands. I also remember people would call the PCC and ask us to come pick up donations — coconut leaves, things like that, and I would go pick them up.

Nowadays, driving the tram, I really like meeting all the different people and listening to their feelings about how the Church ties into everything in Laie.

Some of their understanding about the Church is completely different after they take the tour. They never expected that this is how the Church operates here.

I like how some of the people from South America — and I don’t know if they are members or not — understand they are Lamanites after the tour; and Indonesians, who are exposed to Moslems and Hindus, come to understand that we are Christians.

I like working with the young missionaries: It’s really good. I enjoy listening to the Oriental

sisters as they struggle with English, but as I listen to their testimonies, that makes a difference. Everyone can really feel it.

After almost 50 years, I can say the purpose of the PCC is really good. I especially appreciate how some of the students come from

Pōuli Magalei Sr. worked intermittently at the Center since 1964. He most recently drove the Laie Tour tram.
Pōuli Magalei Sr. most recently drove the Laie Tour tram for the Polynesian Cultural Center.

the islands not knowing their own cultures, but they learn it here and gain experience they never had before.

When I grew up in Samoa, we learned these things, but the new generation doesn’t.

All four of my kids have worked here, and three of them still do. The fourth one is in New Zealand.

[Pōuli passed away in November 2022.]