POLYNESIAN FOOTBALL LEGENDS INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME AT POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER
JANUARY 21, 2017, Lā‘ie, Hawai‘i – The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) honored the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF) class of 2017 inductees with a cultural-based Enshrinement Ceremony before family, friends and fans.
The Enshrinement Ceremony festivities featured a presentation of diverse cultural traditions including the sound of the pū (triton conch shell), a hula kahiko (ancient style of hula) performance, and haka (New Zealand war dance). In addition, the warriors representing the PCC’s six island villages – Hawai‘i, Samoa, Aotearoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and Fiji – welcomed today’s honorees and guests.
Neil Everett, sports anchor of ESPN, served as the master of ceremony for today’s Enshrinement Ceremony.
Christopher Kealoha Naeole (Hawaiian Ancestry)
Naeole was an All-American offensive lineman for the University of Colorado and played 11 seasons in the National Football League.
Junior Ah You (Samoan Ancestry)
Ah You played for 13 seasons in the Canadian Football League, being named an All-Star in two seasons and winning two CFL championships.
Ma‘a Tanuvasa (Samoan Ancestry)
A two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Denver Broncos, Tanuvasa played eight seasons in the NFL.
Riki Morgan Ellison (Maori Ancestry)
A 10-year veteran and three-time Super Bowl champion, Ellison was the first player of Maori ancestry to earn both of these distinctions.
John Manumaleuna (Samoan Ancestry)
The late Manumaleuna was a champion of sports for Polynesian youth, founding Samoan Athletes in Action.
2016 Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year
Marcus Mariota (Samoan Ancestry)
Mariota, as starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, led the team to a 9-7 record in 2016, tying for first in the AFC South Division.
2016 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year
Sefo Liufau (Samoan Ancestry)
Liufau was the starting quarterback for the University of Colorado in 2016 and led the team to a turnaround season and bowl game.
“The Polynesian Cultural Center is honored to be the home of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame,” said Alfred Grace, President of the Polynesian Cultural Center, “These are not just talented players, but they are wonderful, caring citizens, who through their passion and commitment to the sport and community set an outstanding example for our Polynesian youth to emulate.”
“We are proud to honor a distinguished new class of football players of Polynesian ancestry. They have invested tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to earn this lifelong accomplishment,” said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder of Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, “These players have become a huge inspiration and each of them showcase the great pride of Polynesia.”
As a tribute to Polynesia’s greatest football players, coaches and contributors, the PFHOF exhibit now showcases the achievements of the four classes and 23 inductees with plaques, photos, mementos, interactive displays and more.
A collaboration of the PCC and the PFHOF, the exhibit serves as a permanent resource to preserve and promote Polynesian Football history. As a non-profit organization, the PFHOF also provides college scholarships designated for student-athletes of Polynesian ancestry to be awarded to the alma mater of each PFHOF Inductee.
Educational programs focusing on character and teamwork for youth within the Polynesian community and other initiatives positively benefiting Polynesian culture and heritage are also provided as part of the program.
The Hall of Fame exhibit is located in PCC’s guest orientation center adjacent to the Hukilau Marketplace. Admission is free and open to the public during regular operational hours.
For more information about the PCC, visit Polynesia.com or call (808) 293-3333. For more information about the PHFOF, visit PolynesianFootballHOF.org.
ABOUT POLYNESIAN FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors. It also serves as a resource for Polynesian football history, provides academic scholarships and supports educational programs for Polynesian youth. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center (Lā‘ie on O’ahu’s North Shore) and was established in 2013 by Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa. Other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe. For more information,
ABOUT POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER
Located on Oahu’s beautiful North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is the only cultural tourist attraction of its kind in the world and a favorite of all visitors to Hawaii. An engaging, interactive celebration showcasing the people, culture, arts and crafts of Polynesia, the PCC has entertained millions of visitors from around the world since opening in 1963. A non-profit organization, 100 percent of PCC’s revenue goes to daily operations and to support the education of its student-employees from neighboring Brigham Young University-Hawaii. For more information, visit www.Polynesia.com.