The Polynesian Cultural Center invited community members to enjoy a showing of Disney’s “Moana” Friday at the Hukilau Marketplace on Friday, April 7.
Tatiana Nematbakhsh, the assistant marketing coordinator for the Hukilau Marketplace who organized the event, said, “I drove down the Northshore and to K’a’a Awa and stopped by all the elementary schools and placed announcements in their weekly bulletins, and I handed out fliers in some of the classes inviting them to come to the Marketplace to watch the movie.
“It’s something we like to put on for the community. We like to show people how nice the Marketplace is and what a pretty shopping center it is. We want them to feel the aloha and the good vibes that people feel at the PCC.”
The PCC hosts the monthly movie night on the first Friday of every month, but the Polynesian characters and themes in “Moana” made the center an ideal place for the event, according to Nematbakhsh.
“We’ve been planning the ‘Moana’ movie showing for a while. We decided since we would be playing Moana and it’s the PCC, we could make it bigger than our other monthly movie events and add some events.”
The additional events included a selfie station with a canoe and Moana character cut out, a lei craft station, dancing by local groups, and a meet-and-greet book signing with Dani Hickman, author of “Pono, the Garden Guardian.”
Hickman said, “I love that my book is part of this event. I am from Hawaii. I grew up in Hawaii so Hawaiian culture is a big part of my life.”
“Pono” is Hawaiian themed, said Hickman. The young character Pono has some friends who are having a bad influence. She summarized, “He’s looking to be a better person. Something happens because he’s not on the correct path, and he’s trying to change that.”
The event involved children from the PCC who dance in the luau, night show and other shows. The PCC Night Show’s Creative Performance Manager Jon Mariteragi choreographed the performance to the tune of Moana’s “The Fire Within.”
Mariteragi said, “In every Polynesian dance you want to have a message and the message we wanted to give was one of fun and enjoyment. This was kokua for the center.” Kokua is a Hawaiian word meaning to extend loving, sacrificial help to others for their benefit and not for personal gain.
Mariteragi emphasized, “The fun part was had by the kids, but the lesson learned was giving service and doing it with something that they are already good at.” He said the children are do these activities, so he wanted to have them perform at the event as a service opportunity.
While the children’s dance and other events before the presentation of “Moana” were part of the Polynesian-themed activities, different owners of the Marketplace stores and shops said the event’s other purpose was to attracting visitors to their services.
“We love the events in the Marketplace. The marketing team does a great job at getting a lot of people there in front of our business,” said Kalin Uluave, owner of the So’Da Bomb food truck. “We love being able to do promotions and outreach to be able to create more customers within the community.”
Uluave added, “The PCC does a fantastic job at working with the individual vendors and helping them to grow their business.”