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Experience Polynesia

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Soak in the music and culture of the Pacific Islands with ukulele lessons, live Polynesian drumming, Hawaiian and Tahitian dance performances, and an ‘uli‘uli instrument-making craft.

Sponsored by APS
Supported by Arizona Aloha Festival and Lau Kanaka No Hawai’i Arizona Hawaiian Civic Club

Gifts Available for Purchase
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Shop the Museum Store for a wonderful selection of Polynesian CDs, books, gifts, and instruments, including everyone’s favorite—the ukulele.

Instrument Spotlight: ‘Uli‘Uli and Ipu Heke
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Try your hand at two traditional Polynesian percussion instruments: the ‘uli‘uli (feathered gourd rattle) and ipu heke (double gourd). Both instruments are used to accompany Hawaiian hula dancing, providing a steady beat and continuous rhythm. Come create your own unique beats and then head to the Oceania Gallery to see more examples of these ancient instruments.

Photo Booth
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Have your picture taken with fun musical props at MIM’s custom photo booth, and instantly get your own copy to take home.

‘Uli‘Uli Craft
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Take a creative trip to the islands by making an ‘uli‘uli, a rattle used in Hawaiian dance. Bring your ‘uli‘uli to follow along during the day’s traditional Polynesian music and dance performances!

Polynesian Dance Performance
10:30–11:15 a.m. (Saturday)
Enjoy the spirit of Polynesian dance with local group Tamali’i Polynesian Entertainment. Tamali’i began in 1996 with Totoe Moea’i, of Samoan descent, and his wife, Aimee, an Arizona native. This group specializes in various styles of dance, including Tongan, Samoan, Tahitian, and Hawaiian. Each year they travel around the southwestern United States to share their talents and encourage the celebration of Polynesian culture and dance. Join them for an exciting performance as they bring their traditional dances to the MIM stage.

Hawaiian Music Performance
10:30–11:15 a.m. (Sunday)
Lively Arizona group the Sandwich Isle Ukulele Band, sponsored by the Lau Kanaka No Hawai’i cultural organization, truly brings music of the Hawaiian Islands to the desert. Fresh off the success of the Arizona Aloha Festival, Michael Deterding and his band perform the mesmerizing songs of Hawaiian artist Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, known worldwide as Iz. Featuring music sung in both English and Hawaiian, the Sandwich Isle Ukulele Band is sure to have you singing along in no time!

Polynesian Mini-Tours
11:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:45 p.m.
Join MIMkids Junior Museum Guides (6th–12th graders) on a short, family-friendly tour of the Asia and Oceania Galleries, with a special focus on Polynesia. Mini-tours will take place four times throughout the day—be sure to drop in on one of these fun activities.

Ukulele Lessons
11:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:45 p.m.
Dive into the fun of learning to play the ukulele as MIMkids Junior Museum Guides lead you through the chords of a song from New Zealand. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, drop by and learn a new tune. Ukuleles for this workshop are generously provided by the Arizona Aloha Festival.

Polynesian-Inspired Lunch Menu Available for Purchase
11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Stop by Café Allegro and enjoy a special menu featuring Polynesian favorites, such as Tahitian fish soup, vegan Hawaiian vegetable and soba noodle soup, and Pacific Island baked mahi mahi, plus a delicious Polynesian banana bread pudding for dessert.

Polynesian Drumming Performance
12:45–1:30 p.m.
Award-winning Polynesian drummer Sefa Pumphrey and his ensemble, Tuoro a te Pahu, join us from Los Angeles to share their skill and passion for the rhythms of Polynesia in this must-see performance! A craftsman as well as a musician, Sefa shares his story and love of Polynesian music through his work as a custom drum builder, Polynesian drumming instructor, and recording artist. See for yourself how Tuoro a te Pahu captures the beats of the Polynesian islands and brings them to a worldwide audience.

Curator Talk: Polynesian Instruments
2:00–2:45 p.m.
Join Colin Pearson, MIM’s curator for Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East, for a discussion of instruments and music from the museum’s Oceania Gallery. Be prepared to go on a musical journey across the islands that highlights ukuleles, slit drums, nose flutes, didgeridoos, and more!

Hawaiian and Tahitian Dance Performance
3:15–4:00 p.m.
Kumu Kaimi Matthews-Valdez, founder and director of Kaimikahu Hale O Hula, brings the beauty of Tahitian and Hawaiian dance to MIM. With an incredible background in hula dance, Kaimi has been spreading her passion, talent, and knowledge of Polynesian dance across Arizona for over twenty years. Enjoy as she and her students share the history, both old and new, of Hawaii and Tahiti through this dance performance.

Café Allegro Lunch Menu Highlights

Tahitian Fish Soup
Fennel, Onions, White Fish, and Tomatoes

Creamy Hawaiian Vegetable and Soba Noodle Soup
With Coconut Milk, Ginger, and Vegetables

Pacific Island Baked Mahi Mahi
With Yams and Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian-Inspired Pork Char Siu Bao Bun
With Pineapple and Cabbage Slaw and Coconut Rice

Polynesian Banana Bread Pudding