Picture of a doubled hulled canoe at The Polynesian Cultural Center

Guests ride in a double hulled canoe at The Polynesian Cultural Center

Who is that?

As you carefully board our canoe for your water-based tour of the Polynesian Cultural Center, you may ask yourself “Who is that pushing my canoe?”

Most of our “Canoe Pushers” are actually full time students next door at Brigham Young University – Hawaii. Many of our pushers are from other countries, but no matter where they’re from, they are trained to provide you with a wonderful experience on our beautiful lagoon.

First off, you will notice that they don’t paddle. We call them ‘pushers’, because they literally push their canoes through the water with a pole.  This is possible because the lagoon’s average depth is from 3 – 4 feet.

Picture of canoe pusher at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Canoe pushers not only guide the boat, they share stories!

The sign of excellence

Do you know the best way to tell if a one of our staff is an experienced canoe pusher? Look at their feet! A canoe pusher’s legs will be covered in bumps and bruises. Canoe pushing is not for light weights. Not only are you pushing up to 33 people and a solid fiberglass canoe through the water, but you are maneuvering past other canoes and islands, gliding gently into and away from the landings, all the while, delivering fun information to our guests.  And our pushers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Picture of canoe pusher feet at the Polynesian Cultural Center

The sign of a good, hardworking canoe pusher – it’s all about the feet!

Cream of the crop

Canoe pushing is considered one of the elite positions at PCC, and why wouldn’t it be? You get to meet thousands of people from all over the world, sharing our special brand of aloha. Life for them really is just another day in paradise! We’ve had many dignitaries ride in our canoes, the King and Queen of Tonga and their family have graced us with many visits; Elvis Presley sang a song while riding one of our canoes in his movie “Paradise Hawaiian Style” and we have had movie, television and recording artists galore. So look around, you never know who may join you!

Picture of the King of Tonga with President Grace of the Polynesian Cultural Center

The King of Tonga visits the Polynesian Cultural Center, June 2016

Nina S Jones

Nina S Jones



Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 40+ years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of this amazing world.