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Three themes - Everyday life in Ancient Hawai`i, the Hawaiian Kingdom and Contemporary Hawai'i-- are prevalent in the Kumu Cultural Center (Kumu is Hawaiian for source of learning). In addition, the center will have three separate meeting rooms - the Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop Room, the Princess Ke`elikolani Room and the Queen Emma Naea Room - and a business center.
The Pride of Aloha design team worked closely with Mary Philpotts, a well-respected designer from Hawai`i whose vision was instrumental in the recent remodeling of the ship, to create the center. Philpotts enlisted the efforts of a team of local historians, photographers, artisans and resource people to present this multi-faceted view of life in Hawai'i. More than 40 Hawaiian artists and artisans provided the art, crafts, carvings, quilts, memorabilia and reproductions of artifacts that the center displays.
"The Kumu Cultural Center represents a major undertaking by Mary and her colleagues who have created a truly unique place of history and culture," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL America. "A place that we hope not only our guests will enjoy but that will be meaningful to the Hawai`i community as well."
According to Philpotts, many of the pieces displayed are associated with individuals, many of whom are Native Hawaiian, who have a willingness to share Hawaiian cultural knowledge and history with Pride of Aloha passengers.
"We want to bring a viable experience to Hawai`i's visitors by utilizing and embracing the artistry and legacy of the Hawaiian people," Philpotts said. "Our artists and artisans have used their expertise to make this center a source of knowledge, a tool for an exchange of learning.
"I am extremely proud of this effort and of the artists and artisans from all the islands."
In The 'Everyday Life in Ancient Hawai`i' area, guests will learn about the first Polynesians who settled Hawai'i 1,500 years before Captain Cook came to the Islands. A reproduction of daily life includes kapa beaters, poi pounders, games, food vessels, fishing hooks and hula implements. Extraordinary canoe models, as well as historic photographs and informative text, describe the experience of ka po'e kahiko, the people of old.
In the Hawaiian Kingdom segment, guests will learn about the Islands' rich history through text and images of the reigning Hawaiian monarchs, or ali'i. Also included, are reproductions of hand kahili--a feather decorated staff that acknowledged the presence of royalty, and a lei niho palaua- hair necklace worn only by ali'i giving them authority to speak for their people. Four ki'i-wooden carvings representing the four principal Hawaiian gods, are also on display.
The 30s and 40s, the time period that created the worldview of an exotic and romantic Hawai'i, is represented in Contemporary Hawai`i. This area describes the Waikiki culture and the steamship era when visitors came by sea from the mainland.
Waikiki, previously the playground for royalty, became everyone's home, including visitors who would sometimes spend a month with the "locals." Display cases showcase the romance of the period with original "hapa-haole" sheet music (a mixing of musical cultures with Hawaiian music and English words); etched glass; jewelry; hula dolls; post cards; and photographs.
"With the Kumu Cultural Center we took a fresh, real approach," Philpotts said. "We produced exhibits that represent the history and culture of Hawai`i, and involved Hawaiians and local people in the telling of their story. The Hawaiian culture is alive and well today-we have so much to learn from each other, this center helps make this kind of exchange possible."
NCL America's Pride of Aloha is the first modern U.S.-flag cruise ship in almost 50 years. Beginning July 4, 2004, the ship will sail seven-day, round-trip Hawai'i itineraries, visiting all four main islands and giving passengers up to 96 hours in port. Ports of call include: Honolulu, O`ahu; an overnight in Nawiliwili, Kaua`i; Hilo, Hawai`i; Kona, Hawai`i; and an overnight in Kahului, Maui.