“Hā” Celebrates First Birthday

The “Breath of Life” blew out a big candle last night.

One year ago, the Polynesian Cultural Center unveiled its new evening show, “Hā: Breath of Life.” The ambitious, 90-minute production took three years and $3 million to prepare. And by all accounts, it was worth it.

The show staged its first anniversary performance this weekend, closing the program with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” and triumphant chants and cheers that echoed through the Pacific Theater. Producer Delsa Moe announced to the crowd that “Hā: Breath of Life” had set a new record for the center, entertaining over half a million people in its first year.

The show replaced “Horizons: Where the Sea Meets The Sky,” which saw over 4,500 performances in its 14 year run.

My family and I were fortunate to be invited to attend the anniversary performance, along with several other notable geeks, including L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine, John Garcia (and his fiancee Melanie Wong), and Bruce and Yaling Fisher. Our trip out to La‘ie was an anniversary celebration in itself, as my wife and I were among the many great folks who participated in the center’s “Social Media Night” last August.

I did a much better job documenting the experience back then, with several photos and an eight-minute video.

I’m happy to say that “Hā” is still a spectacle to behold — a great mix of breathtaking action and stirring emotion. With all the Polynesian cultures represented, the “circle of life” is a universal story that requires no subtitles. My kids, seeing it for the first time, absolutely loved it. And they’re immensely curious about everything else the center has to offer.

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