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Hukilau Marketplace Grand Opening

hukilau_marketplace punders hula web.jpg

Students, locals, and tourists alike gathered at the Polynesian Cultural Center for the grand opening of the Hukilau Marketplace last Friday, Feb. 20. to participate in several activities, as well as try out the new shops and food options. Before the festivities began, a brief opening ceremony was held at the entrance. PCC President and CEO Alfred Grace took the stand, addressing the public about the exciting new opportunities and experiences the marketplace provides. “How do you make this marketplace different from any other marketplace?” Grace asked rhetorically. “You tell a story.” He explained the Hukilau Marketplace is symbolic of the values and traditions that have been part of Hawaiian culture for years. According to Pres. Grace, the first Hukilau was held on Jan. 31, 1948 as a fundraiser to rebuild the chapel in Laie. Hukilau means to “pull the leaves,” and Laie residents worked together to catch fish using woven nets. Residents used the extra fish from their catch to create a luau to raise funds. Although profit from tourism in Hawaii was not as prominent as it is today, the community pulled together and created a long lasting tradition eventually leading to the creation of the PCC. Along with a hula performance and lei untying, the public was invited to peruse the shops and events. Everyone in attendance was provided a free dinner of rice, beef stew, and manapua, with a sweet pake cake for desert. VIP guests were invited to an exclusive dinner at Pounders restaurant before its official opening. A statue of legendary Hamana Kalili was unveiled to commermorate Kalili as the originator of the shaka. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, Kalili lost his three middle fivngers in sugar mill accident; he then became a security guard on the sugar train and his waving pinky finger and thumb become known as the shaka sign as he waved to tourists. The Kalili statue represents this and preserves his memory and story. Kahuku High School also did a series of performances, including the haka. “It’s really family oriented,” said Jordan Wilder, an undeclared freshman from Idaho, when asked her opinion on the new marketplace.The event was filled with students and friends who checked out the shops and food. Seven Brothers opened their new Seven Brothers Surf location in the Marketplace, as did Tita’s Grill. Seven Brothers Surf manager Shez Hannemann said, “[Hukilau Marketplace] promotes the locals to come out more.”Uploaded Feb. 26, 2015
Writer: Ali Apgood