The Pacific Islanders Organization hosted its annual Lu’au on Saturday, April 5 in Felix Event Center to treat more than 700 attendees to a traditional Hawaiian dinner at 6 p.m. and full show at 7 p.m. The theme for this year’s Lu’au was “You will be with me in Paradise,” inspired by Luke 23:43.
The $15-$17 dinner tickets for PIO’s biggest annual fundraiser sold out, while $8 show-only tickets did not.
After attendees with dinner tickets enjoyed a traditional meal of salad, chicken long rice, and Kalua pork, the show began. The performance followed the story of an APU student struggling between returning home to Hawaii or staying at Azusa.
“I absolutely loved how there was a storyline and scriptures this year to tie all the dances together,” said sophomore Christian ministries major Rachel Preston, who performed in last year’s Lu’au but came as just an attendee this year. “God used this year’s Lu’au to open my eyes and heart to his purpose for everyone revealing their identity and purpose in him.”
One hundred students performed in the show, giving 25 dances from all around the world, including Hawaii, New Zealand and Fiji.
Sophomore English major Kiki Roman has helped PIO prepare for the Lu’au for the past two years. She said this year, she danced to several Hawaiian as well as non-Hawaiian songs.
“I got to learn about another Polynesian culture that wasn’t mine,” Roman said. “Not only does the audience learn about the cultures, but so do the dancers.”
The fundraiser is a way to showcase some of the many different cultures that are a part of the APU community. PIO’s more than 180 members work to share Polynesian culture on campus and to the local community.
“Everyone should be a part of Lu’au if they ever have the chance. Being in Luau or being a part of PIO is not reserved for [just] Polynesian students,” said senior communication studies major Megan Rogers, who performed in the Lu’au. “It’s not about being Polynesian – it’s about showing respect and appreciation for island culture, and creating a way for those who are interested to learn more about it.”