President Uchtdorf Dedicates Major Addition to Polynesian Cultural Center
Contributed By Mike Foley, Church News contributor
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated a major new addition to the Church-affiliated Polynesian Cultural Center here on August 29, 2015, as well as the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which is adjacent to the center.
In praising the new Hukilau Marketplace at the PCC, President Uchtdorf recalled that he and his wife, Harriet, who accompanied him, first visited the center in 1976 and have enjoyed it ever since.
“Your friendship, your kindness, your openness, your spirit of aloha is really what makes the difference,” he said.
PCC president Alfred Grace explained that the new marketplace is named after the Laie Hukilau, which Polynesian members of the old Laie Ward successfully put on from 1948 to 1971.
“The Hukilau ‘down in old Laie Bay’ was the forerunner of the Polynesian Cultural Center, so it’s not by chance that this new marketplace stands at the forefront of the center,” he said.
Before offering the dedicatory prayer, President Uchtdorf also said, “I want to tell you how grateful I am for each and every one of you, and how much the First Presidency appreciates everything you do. In this vast mass of water, you’re a wonder of spiritual power, of joy, of friendship, of love for your neighbors, and you have a radiance of goodness about you that is truly a marvelous example of what the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ can do to us.”
Dedication events in Laie, Hawaii, on August 29. Photo by Mike Foley.
Fraser Bullock, chairman of the PCC board of directors, conducted the dedication program, which took place in the Hukilau Marketplace under beautiful tropical skies. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for teaching me about aloha, ohana, and love,” he said in his remarks. “I am deeply grateful for the service you render each day, no matter where you work in the PCC, and I’m grateful for how you treat our guests from all over the world.”
The program also included a Hawaiian welcoming chant by Terry Naauao Panee of the PCC’s Hawaiian Village and later a song and hula by the villagers.
Left: “Uncle” Joe Ah Quin, who played Moki in the Latter-day Saint movie Johnny Lingo years ago, sings “Behold Laie.”
Middle: Cy Bridges performs a Hawaiian welcoming chant.
Right: Kela Miller performs the hula during dedication events. Photos by Mike Foley.
Performers do a “welcoming hula” for visitors attending dedicatory events at the PCC in Laie, Hawaii, on August 29. Photo by Mike Foley.
President Uchtdorf was accompanied to Hawaii by President Kim B. Clark of the Seventy, who is also Commissioner of the Church Educational System, and his wife, Sue; and Gérald Caussé, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and his wife, Valérie.
From left: Sister Sue Clark, Elder Kim B. Clark of the Seventy, Sister Valérie Caussé, Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency sit together during a dedication event in Laie, Hawaii, on August 29, 2015. Photo by Mike Foley.
Other dignitaries included new BYU–Hawaii President John F. Tanner and his wife, Susan; Elder Aley Auna of the Seventy and his wife, Danelle; Fraser Bullock, chairman of PCC board of directors, and his wife, Jennifer; John Monahan, a member of the PCC board; Richard Marriott, a former chairman of the PCC board of directors; and PCC president Alfred Grace and his wife, Valerie.
The group attended the center’s evening show, Hā: Breath of Life, after which President Uchtdorf briefly addressed the approximately 100 members of the cast on stage.
Following the dedication program at the PCC, President Uchtdorf and his delegation moved quickly to the new Laie Courtyard by Marriott hotel, where another crowd was waiting under tents near the pool.
That program included Hawaiian hula by members of Halau Hula O Kekela and a Hawaiian welcoming chant by Cy Bridges. It also later included music by the Laie Hawaiian kūpuna choir and “Uncle” Joe Ah Quin, who played Moki in the Latter-day Saint movie Johnny Lingo years ago, singing “Behold Laie,” with an impromptu hula by Kela Miller, who also leads the hula group.
Representatives of the owners, the Marriott organization, and President Uchtdorf spoke before he offered a dedicatory prayer for the new property.
He explained, when asked why a General Authority dedicates a private business, it’s sometimes done for “owners and investors who we can trust.” He also pointed out that a Church-affiliated company also owns the property.
“This place has a future,” he said, pointing out that the PCC and those associated with the hotel have “an obligation … to protect this beautiful kind of community we have here … to make sure that it is keeping in line with the spirit of the Church.”