Polynesian Cultural Center dedicates Poly football Hall of Fame exhibit
Laie, Hawaii – The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) on Oahu’s North Shore dedicated its new Polynesian Football Hall of Fame exhibit gallery on January 24 at a ceremony honoring the six inductees for the class of 2015.
Special guests of honor included four of the six Hall of Fame inductees – Jesse Sapolu, Luther Elliss, Ray Schoenke, and Russ Francis – and 2014 Heisman Winner Marcus Mariota, the inaugural Polynesian College Football Player of the Year. The other two inductees, the late Mosi Tatupu and Mark Tuinei, were represented by friends and family.
“The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame has done a tremendous job of shining a spotlight on the outstanding accomplishments of these football players who have been an inspiration to Polynesian athletes,” said Eric Workman, PCC’s Executive Vice President. “We’re very proud about the unveiling of this new Hall of Fame exhibit and having people come from around the world to see and learn about the feats of these football players from Polynesia.”
Honorees, their friends, family and guests were treated to a showcase of the diverse cultural traditions presented at the PCC, including an oli (Hawaiian chant), a hula kahiko (ancient style of hula) performance, and a haka (New Zealand war dance). In addition, the warriors of the PCC’s six island villages – Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and Fiji – watched the cultural festivities unfold.
Dedicated to honoring Polynesia’s greatest football players, coaches and contributors, the new Polynesian Football Hall of Fame exhibit showcases the achievements of the 13 inductees from the first two Hall of Fame classes with plaques, photos, mementos, an interactive display and wall of honor.
The six Polynesian Football Hall of Fame inductees for 2015 join the inaugural class of inductees from 2014, Kurt Gouveia, Olin Kreutz, Kevin Mawae, Jack Thompson, Junior Seau, Herman Wedemeyer, and Ken Niumatalolo.
Norm Harris, Principal of TBU International and a Tonga native, donated his services as lead designer for the Hall of Fame exhibit. In keeping with the honorees’ cultural heritage, the Hall of Fame exhibit gallery features design elements of ancient Polynesian architecture, including lava stones, tropical plants, natural woods like ohia and koa, and accents of lauhala mats and other native textures and fabrics.
The Hall of Fame exhibit, located in PCC’s new guest orientation center adjacent to the Hukilau Marketplace, is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.