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Hawaii: Learn Polynesian crafts, cooking and more in new program

Special to the Los Angeles Times

If you’ve wondered whether life would be simpler if you carried a spear instead of a cellphone, set sail for Go Native at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

When guests begged to put foot to bark after watching locals demonstrate coconut tree climbing with bare hands and feet, the center's operators decided they should get a chance to do it. Besides tree-climbing Samoan style, seven other native activities are being introduced this year in the center's Hawaiian, Tahitian and Samoan village areas:

* Learn how to cook Polynesian cuisine or stage a backyard luau;

* Try cooking taro, palusami (young taro leaves in seasoned coconut cream) and other native dishes on an umu, a traditional Samoan above-ground oven in which food is cooked on stones placed on an open fire;

* Take a Hawaiian quilting lesson;

* Learn how to custom-dye a Tahitian pareu (sarong);

* Get hitched in a traditional wedding ceremony in the Tahitian Village (beginning in June);

* Paddle a four-person outrigger canoe with an experienced paddler and guide (starting in July); and...

* Try throwing a spear to snatch a coconut off the top of a 6-foot pole in the Tahitian Village (beginning in August).

"Go Native" activities are free with any Polynesian Cultural Center ticket package that includes the seven villages or with general admission, which is $49.95 for adults, $35.95 for children (5-11) and  free for kids under 5.

Info: Polynesian Cultural Center, 55-370 Kamehameha Highway in Laie, Oahu, (800) 367-7060.


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