The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is a Polynesian-themed theme park and living museum located in Laie, on the northern shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and dedicated on October 12, 1963, the PCC occupies 42 acres owned by nearby Brigham Young University–Hawaii.
Within eight simulated tropical villages, performers demonstrate various arts and crafts from throughout Polynesia. Visitors may also take a free shuttle tour of the university and see the Laie Hawaii Temple and its associated visitors' center of the LDS Church.
Seventy percent of the center's approximately 1,300 employees are students at BYU-Hawaii. Although it is largely a commercial venture, PCC profits fund various scholarship programs at BYU–Hawaii. Students may work up to 20 hours per week during school terms and 40 hours during breaks.
Samoa, formerly Western Samoa, is in the South Pacific Ocean about 2,200 miles south of Hawaii. The larger islands in the Samoan chain, Upolu and Savai'i, are mountainous and of volcanic origin. There is little level land except in the coastal areas, where most cultivation takes place. Polynesians, possibly from Tonga, first settled in the Samoan islands about 1000 B.C. Samoa was explored by Dutch and French traders in the 18th century. Toward the end of the 19th century, conflicting interests of the U.S., Britain, and Germany resulted in an 1899 treaty that recognized the paramount interests of the U.S. in those islands west of 171°W (American Samoa) and Germany's interests in the other islands (Western Samoa).
New Zealand seized Western Samoa from Germany in 1914, and in 1946 it became a UN trust territory administered by New Zealand. A resistance movement to both German and New Zealand rule, known as the Mau (“strongly held view”) movement, helped to edge the islands toward independence on Jan. 1, 1962. A constitutional monarchy, Samoa has a legislative assembly whose members are from the matai, or titled class.
Barraged regularly by cyclones that have wreaked havoc on the country's primarily agrarian economy, Samoa has begun stepping up its tourism industry—not such a difficult undertaking in this archetypal South Pacific paradise.
A referendum in 1990 gave women the right to vote for the first time. In 1997, a new constitutional amendment changed the country's name to Samoa.