Tui Hunt Ikihega: A PCC “baby”

Some background: Tui Kaye Hunt Ikihega was a PCC “baby,” born in 1965 when both her parents — Pātū Tupuola Tevaseu George Hunt and Beth McKinnon Hunt — were working at the Center.

After the family moved to Samoa, in 1970, she came back and worked at the PCC off-and-on from 1983–’88.

She and her family now live in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, where her mother is originally from, and she operates her own cookie bakery business from home.

She and her husband, a Niuean (who didn’t work at the PCC), have five children.

Tui’s early-and-later days at the Center: I first came to the PCC soon after I was born. I was one of the “rug-rats” that scuttled around in a costume and played in the lagoon when I was a little girl.

We left for Samoa in 1970, and

the things that I remember from when I was a kid were so different than when my sister, Tania Hunt, and I came back to attend BYU–Hawaii.

I started in the night show, and later picked up a job in the Maori Village. Thanks to Logo Apelu, I also floated around all of the villages.

The 50th-anniversary reunion is the first time I’ve been back since 1988.

One of the first things I noticed was the lagoon. I have a fondness for it: I’ve been in it, both voluntarily and involuntarily. I remember fishing a sea turtle out of it when I was a little kid and my shoes when I was a little bigger.

One of the strangest things that ever happened to me here was when I fell off Hauula mountain in the night show. While he was carrying me out, and even though I was bleeding, Chris Budo decided to stop and pose for a tourist photo on the way to the First Aid Office.

On a more tender note, meeting Aunty Vai Fa’amaligi, who recognized me as George and

Tui Kay Hunt was just a baby when she first started "working" at the Center.
Tui Kay Hunt Ikihega was just a baby when she first started “working” at the Center.

Beth Hunt’s daughter really touched me. She took me around to see all of the old people who remembered me as a kid, and knowing that they were all still here from the beginning until that time was very special to me.

Now, another 25 years later, a lot of them are still here, but of course, Aunty Vai’s gone. That’s probably the most precious memory I’m going to take back after the reunion. I am awesomely happy to be here.

(On a sadder note, Tui’s father, Pātū George Hunt, passed away in Samoa in February 2022.)