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Weekly Update for December 1, 2021

Introducing – Terry Panee

Submitted by: Sister Kristine Saunders, Archives 

terry panee

The Polynesian Cultural Center is lucky to have Terry Panee on our team!

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a place where island cultures are honored, portrayed, preserved, and shared. For 35 years Terry Panee has worked in the Hawaii Village, first as a young man eager to learn the Hawaiian language, then becoming the teacher who enjoys being able to pass on knowledge to the younger generations. Meet the Manager of the Hawaii Village, Terry Panee.  

Terry, whose Hawaiian name is Naauao, was born in Honolulu, raised in Kaneohe, and attended Kamehameha Schools for all 12 grades. According to Hawaiian culture, a child is given a name at birth with the hope that as the child grows, they will develop the characteristic embodied in the name. Naauao means knowledge and wisdom. The hope of the ancestors has come true with Terry Panee. 

While still in high school, Terry was a DJ. A classmate’s father was in the music business and had a mobile DJ unit. Terry and his friend would run the sound for high school dances, parties and even “spun” some at local nightclubs. Terry was only 16 at this time. However, the legal age to enter clubs was 18. Because he was the man with the music, he was allowed into the club. The work was lots of fun and he worked all summer until the weekend before school started. 

When first coming to BYU-Hawaii Terry worked at the Center as a Canoe Guide and transitioned to a multipurpose guide conducting VIP tours. Then he served a two-year mission. During his mission interview, the bishop asked where he would like to go if he had a choice. Terry answered, “Tahiti.” The bishop asked, “Because of the pretty girls?” Terry answered, “No, but pretty girls help. I want to go to Tahiti because of the language. In Tahiti, I would be able to learn both French and Tahitian. The Tahitian language is close to the Hawaiian language which I want to learn.” Instead, he was sent to the desert to work with the Native Americans in the Arizona, Holbrook mission. There were lots of beaches but no water. 

After his mission, Terry returned to BYU-Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center. At the Center, he continued working with the guides. After his marriage to fellow guide and native Tahitian, Heitiare, Terry became the supervisor for the VIP Guides. He soon transitioned to the Hawaii Village as a musician.  

While attending BYU-Hawaii Terry studied and learned the Hawaiian language. He was fortunate because his first Hawaiian language teacher, Kamoa`e Lehua Walk, was also his coworker in the Hawaii Village. It was good to learn the language in class but better to practice the language in the Village. 

After graduating from BYU-Hawaii, Terry went to the University of Hawaii to finish a Hawaiian languages and Hawaiian studies program. He briefly pursued a Master’s degree in Pacific Islands studies but was more interested in learning about culture than economics. He returned to BYU-Hawaii and joined the faculty and began teaching the Hawaiian language. He said, “I never thought I’d be a teacher, but I really enjoy being able to pass on knowledge to the younger generation. I have been blessed to learn from those that were here before.” 

Terry’s first job in the Hawaii Village was as a musician. His next job was as Cultural Lead in knowledge and language. Then he became an artisan where he learned weaving and carving from great teachers. Following that he was the Assistant Manager of the village, and a few years ago he was promoted to Manager. He is now finding that many of the students who apply to work in the village are children of students who worked here before. They always say, “yeah, my parents said to say hi.” Many who have been raised on the mainland haven’t learned much about their culture and heritage. “It is a pleasure to see them gain knowledge and make ancestral connections. That’s the best part of my job.” His life has been blessed. He got his Tahitian girl and has now traveled to Tahiti many times, and he has a strong understanding and deep love for his Hawaiian language. 


Changes to our Cultural Beliefs

Submitted by: P. Alfred Grace, President & CEO 


The Center has modified its cultural beliefs to better serve our Ohana and guests

Aloha my PCC Ohana! 

In 2006, the PCC Senior Management Team participated in a 2-day workshop that resulted in the creation of our Cultural Beliefs. Over the past 15 years, these cultural beliefs have proven invaluable in aligning our daily actions to our core values and key results. 

As we move into the post-COVID era, we thought it would be good to review our cultural beliefs and determine if changes needed to be made to better reflect what we are focusing on now and in the foreseeable future. So just last week, the PCC Senior Management Team once again participated in a 2-day workshop to review our cultural beliefs and adjust as necessary. 

Here are our new cultural beliefs (REWATCH): 

  • Radiate the Spirit – I live to radiate the spirit of God, every day, in every way 
  • Embrace Learning – I take every opportunity to learn and grow from my experiences at the PCC! 
  • Wow Customers – I constantly ask “What more can I do to exceed customer expectations?”
  • Achieve Results – I communicate thoroughly and align my daily actions to achieve our desired results
  • Take Charge – I take accountability to See It, Own It, Solve It and then Do It with excellence 
  • Cultivate Trust – I extend trust and am responsible to be worthy of yours 
  • Honor Our Legacy – I nurture, cultivate, and magnify “Our PCC Legacy” with passion and commitment 

You should know any and all changes to our cultural beliefs only happened after extensive discussion by the PCC Senior Management Team. We do believe these changes will help us to more readily achieve our desired results and fulfill our mission to a greater extent. So, I sincerely hope you will join me and all of our Senior Management Team in embracing these new cultural beliefs so they are clearly evident in everything we do here at the PCC.  

Our cultural beliefs are most effective in helping us to achieve our desired results when we keep them “top of mind”. A training program to accomplish this is currently under development. Modifications to the PCC Handbook will also be made to better integrate our cultural beliefs into everything we do. I look forward to sharing these developments with you in the very near future. 


P. Alfred Grace, President & CEO 


Request for Pictures of Peter Lakatani

Submitted by: Sister Kristine Saunders, Archives 

peter lakatani

Peter Lakatani

Do you know Peter Lakatani? We are looking for some pictures from his past to go along with an article we are preparing for release next month. The Lakatanis do not currently have access to their old picture albums. If anyone has anything they can share, please send them to Sister Kristine Saunders at saunderk@polynesia.com 

Can’t wait to share his history with you in December. 


safety corner sign

covid dec 1

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Bloodborne Pathogens 

Submitted by: Lau Niumatalolo 

This safety training tip topic is bloodborne pathogens (BBP) are viruses and bacteria found in human blood or body fluids. BBP can cause diseases, most notably HIV and the Hepatitis B virus. 

BBP training should include protective measures. 

Here are some steps to help protect against exposure and contamination to bloodborne diseases: 

 1. Treat All Fluids as Infectious

The first rule in handling human blood and body fluids is to always handle it as if it is infectious. Even if you believe the fluid is disease-free, treating it as hazardous provides you with protection that you may be very thankful for later. 

2. Use Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, is extremely important in preventing contact with blood. Common forms of PPE that decrease the likelihood of contracting a disease through blood and other body fluids are gloves, gowns, and face protection. 

Latex gloves and vinyl aprons or gowns protect your skin from coming in contact with infectious fluids. Face protection, such as face shields and eye goggles, prevent blood from entering mucous membranes via the eyes, nose, or mouth. latex-gloves-and-mask.jpg, medical-goggles.jpg. 

 3. Protect Yourself First

When administering first aid, protect yourself first before treating the victim. Immediately put on the proper PPE for the situation. This may be hard when a co-worker is hurt, but you are putting your own health at risk when you don’t use protective equipment. 

4. Clean Up the Right Way

Using protective measures when cleaning up after an accident is just as important as using PPE while treating the injury itself. When cleaning up broken glass that has been exposed to blood or body fluids, never use your hands, even if you are wearing gloves. Get rid of contaminated broken glass with tongs, or a brush and dustpan. 

If you get blood or body fluids on your clothing, carefully turn the garment inside out as you remove it to prevent spreading the contaminants. After removing personal protective equipment and dirty clothing, wash all affected body parts to remove potentially infectious contamination. 

 5. Use Safe Disposal Practice

Get rid of materials that have come in contact with blood and body fluids. Handle all trash as if it contains sharps or infectious items. Place all potentially infectious materials and contaminated items in labeled, sealable containers. Make sure containers are color-coded or marked with a biohazard label. 

We hope you gained a safety training skills today. Until next time, stay positive and stay safe.