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Weekly Update for January 25, 2022

Sending love and concern to our friends in Tonga

Submitted by: Nina S. Jones, Blog Writer

tonga village

The Tonga village at the Polynesian Cultural Center

“The Polynesian Cultural Center has experienced many wonderful years in fellowship and cooperation with the people of Tonga. We have been praying for Tonga since becoming aware of last week’s eruption and subsequent tsunamis. We send our aloha and continued heartfelt prayers to the entire Kingdom of Tonga as they recover from these experiences. The people of Tonga are not only our friends, they are also our family. We especially reach out to His Majesty King Tupou VI of Tonga and his wife, Queen Nanasipau’u , who have honored us by visiting the Center in 2016, as they work towards addressing the needs of their people.”

Alfred Grace, President and CEO
Polynesian Cultural Center

pres. grace and king of tonga

President P. Alfred Grace escorts His Majesty King Tupou VI of Tonga to the grand opening of the newly renovated Tonga Village in June 2016

It’s in moments such as these when faced with devastation and calamity, the Tongan heart can be described as god-fearing and immovable. Such a description is captured in the Tongan proverb “Tonga mo’unga ki he loto” (Tonga’s mountain is its heart). Ceaseless stories of bravery and valor have been shared, such as the 16-year-old who ran towards the oncoming tsunamis to save his grandmother and miraculously carried her to safety. As communication is being restored, pictures portray that despite the ash-laden land, uprooted trees, and broken homes, hope and love can still be seen in the smiling faces of people reaching out to one another through acts of service. Well before any talks and arrival of foreign aid, church leaders, community, government, and even the royal family were reported seen assist families in the heavily damaged villages the very next day.

I am truly grateful to be ever part of a nation that is steadfast in its faith in God and love for family. People are so resilient that even a 10-megaton volcanic explosion can’t keep them down. If you have ever wondered what it means to be Tongan; this is what it means to be Tongan. It is no wonder that a geographically flat island nation would claim that its mountains can be found in the hearts of its people. A heart that is steadfast and immovable in its devotion to God and country. “‘Otua mo Tonga ko hoku tofi’a – God and Tonga are my inheritance”.

May Heavenly Father continue to pour out his blessings upon you and provide you safety and refuge through this most difficult time. Our love and prayers are with you continuously.

Tevita Taumoepeau, Cultural Ambassador
Tonga Village, Polynesian Cultural Center

tonga ha

Polynesian performers at the Polynesian Cultural Center

For the many people who have expressed interest in helping Tonga, we provide the following links for your consideration:

The Australian Red Cross is coordinating worldwide relief efforts and donations for the country of Tonga. Australian Red Cross provides funding and training to Tonga Red Cross, to help them prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, just like the volcanic eruption and tsunamis we are seeing now, all year round. This vital funding helps ensure Tonga Red Cross can cover their core operating costs, train their emergency response teams, help communities prepare for future disasters, during and after a disaster, and are able to provide essential relief items to people in need. For more information, or to make a donation to Tonga, please visit Red Cross International Disaster Fund – Tonga – GlobalGiving

red cross

Tonga’s Red Cross delivers aid supplies on Ha’apai, Tonga. Photo courtesy of ABC News/Australia

We also recommend the Humanitarian Aid Program which is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, one of the leading philanthropic efforts in the world today. Specific relief efforts in Tonga focus on providing clean drinking water, satellite phones, and other necessary supplies scheduled for air cargo shipment as soon as conditions at the airport in Tonga allow. 100% of every dollar donated is used to help those in need—without regard to race, religion, or ethnic origin. *Please note, donations are placed directly into the Humanitarian Aid efforts fund.  After meeting all assistance goals to the Humanitarian Aid program in Tonga, any excess funds may be used for other efforts in similarly affected countries around the world.

humanitarian aid

Boxes of supplies are always kept on hand awaiting humanitarian shipment to places in need around the world. Photo courtesy of Deseret News.

In honor of the resilience and dedication of the Tongan people, we would like to share the first of 6 in the series of blogs reviewing the 6 Acts of HA: Breath of Life. This post describes some of the cultural and societal aspects of the beautiful culture of Tonga.

Click here to read Act I: Tonga VillageHA: Breath of Life

tapa presentation

ACT 1 of HA: Breath of Life illustrates the generosity and dedication to family practiced in the Tongan culture


Farewell to Elder and Sister Davis

Submitted by: Delsa Moe, VP of Cultural Presentations

david and wife

Elder and Sister Davis at their farewell

Mahalo to Elder and Sister Davis who are ending their mission next week. They both arrived when the Polynesian Cultural Center was already shut down for COVID-19 and were very instrumental in helping us reopen to the public again.

Sister Davis served in the Wardrobe and Seamstress departments, making and repairing costumes and uniforms. She also helped makeover 700 blue cloth masks that were distributed to employees. She was described as someone who always radiated the Spirit and never complained about anything. She’s learned to hula and has really embraced the Polynesian cultures.

Elder Davis reported directly to President Grace as the Safety Officer. He was very instrumental in guiding the Center through the dynamic COVID procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and employees. He became an expert contract tracer and was very diligent in other safety matters. This includes walking through all guest areas every single day to make sure that safety hazards and practices were being addressed appropriately.

The Lord truly watches over the Center and knows our needs. That was obvious when Elder and Sister Davis was called to serve here at this specific time of uncertainty which required lots of flexibility and faith. The Davises were answers to our prayers.

davis family

Elder and Sister Davis with their daughter and her family


safety corner sign

Types of Masks and Respirators

Submitted by: Lau Niumatalolo

Wearing a mask that fits well, is most protective, and that you will wear consistently is a critical public health tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Some masks and respirators offer higher levels of protection than others, and some may be harder to tolerate or wear consistently than others. It is most important to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator correctly that is comfortable for you and that provides good protection.

Properly fitted respirators provide the highest level of protection and maybe most important for certain higher-risk situations, or by some people at increased risk for severe disease.

CDC’s mask recommendations provide information that people can use to improve how well their masks protect them.

masked couple