Native and Culturally significant Plants a Focus at the Center
We have enjoyed at the Center a significant strength of the beauty of our grounds. Many guests compliment the Center on how beautiful the grounds are; a stark difference from the windswept landscape prior to the Church’s influence in Lāʻie. Even between the pictures of when we opened in 1963 to today, the legacy of effort has not just been in planting seeds of cultural importance and aloha between the cultures of the world, but also in planting seeds to beautify our grounds.
One significant change the Center is making as we align with the mandate to simplify operations is to also look more to our mission statement. In our handbook, we read, “The Polynesian Cultural Center is a unique treasure created to support education by sharing with the world the cultures, diversity, and spirit of the nations of Polynesia.”
It is with this rally cry for me personally that we make a minor adjustment in our grounds and landscaping operations.
The 2020 adjustment to grounds and landscaping is simply this; the Polynesian Cultural Center grounds and landscaping crew will where feasible, also focus on “sharing with the world the cultures[and] diversity… of the nations of Polynesia.” What this means is that although many common and non-native plants are currently used in the Center, where feasible, the Center will seek to replace those plants with native alternatives from Polynesia. The propagating of plants in the nursery, for example, will shift from what’s pretty, functional, and hearty, to what’s pretty, functional, hearty, and native or culturally significant where feasible. Along with native plants, if a plant has any other sort of connection culturally, we intend to see if we can associate those plants with the Center.
This has been happening beautifully with the initiatives with Lono Logan, and the native varieties of Kalo in the ground at the Center today. This continues in many of the villages of the Center, as has been a decades-long focus but continues to be strengthened. Our grounds crew has had very little involvement with this. However, in general areas, we look to apply a greater level of detail to native and culturally significant plants.
Of course, non-native or non-cultural plants will continue to be used in the Center. Of course, this, just as has been the case with our current grounds landscape, will take a very long time to adjust to. However, if done correctly, we will be able to enhance the mission of the Center is smaller yet noticeable ways, separate from the larger village experiences, meals, and shows that the Center is world-famous.
We have a great list of plants that are native that we expect to further propagate but would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any information you may have on native or culturally significant plants from anywhere in Polynesia. With all of our collective help, we will be able to make this another of the many enhancements for our guests in the future.