What's new: Book celebrates history of Polynesian Cultural Center

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

"Miracle in the Pacific," a new book by Laura F. Willes, celebrates the history and mission of the Polynesian Cultural Center as the village commemorates its 50th anniversary.

Deseret Book

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"MIRACLE IN THE PACIFIC: The Polynesian Cultural Center," by Laura F. Willes, Deseret Book, $29.99, 184 pages (nf)

If you have ever been to Hawaii, it's possible you've heard of or visited the Polynesian Cultural Center.

It's the 42-acre museum village amid the tropical foliage and flowers, freshwater lagoons, dancers with twirling knives of fire, coconut trees, and steamed pork from the luau.

As the PCC celebrates its 50th anniversary, a new book, "Miracle in the Pacific" by Laura F. Willes, has been written to commemorate the center's history and mission to preserve the culture of the Pacific Islands.

Starting with humble beginnings in 1963, the PCC has grown to be one of the top paid attractions in the islands today. What visitors to the PCC may not realize is that the PCC is the realization of a vision that LDS Church President David O. McKay saw in 1921 when he attended a flag-raising ceremony at a small primary school in Laie, Hawaii. It took more than 40 years of dedication and hard work on the part of thousands to make President McKay's vision a reality.

Included with the book is a bonus DVD, "Rainbows of Paradise," which features the PCC's colorful canoe pageant.

Willes, a Salt Lake City native, holds a degree in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She has published three previous books. She and her husband, Mark, were associated with the PCC for 13 years while he served on the board of directors.

For more information on "Miracle in the Pacific," visit www.deseretbook.com.

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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