My wife, Hiromi, as a Japanese Guide at the PCC demonstrating how tapa is made.


One of my favorite activities to see at the Polynesian Cultural Center is the tapa making demonstration in Tongan. It’s not only fun to watch but very educational at the same time. I just think it’s amazing that cloth can be made out of the bark of a tree. As I Japanese guide I had the opportunity of introducing this special art of making tapa to people that come from around the world.



Tapa making is one of the most common heard sounds in Tonga, and a big part of Tongan culture. Its rhythmic sounds of women making Tapa is heard from morning till night, throughout the villages. It is a traditional art form whereby the inner bark of certain trees is softened and pounded into sheets of cloth, then bound together using natural starches such as root crop.

Tapa cloth is used in both functional and ceremonial purposes. The cloth has played important roles in weddings, funerals and events associated with royalty. It is also used for clothes, blankets, and dancing costumes and so much more. Click on the video below and watch these Tonga women work their magic.
















Read more cultural stories of Tonga:

“Chief” of PCC’s Tongan Village Presented with Ta’ovala

Tongan Wedding and Funeral Ceremonies: Strength and Honor Through Family Unity




PCC blogger, Bobby Akoi.  Originally from Keaukaha on the Big Island of Hawai’I,  his path took an unexpected turn to the little town of La’ie as student at Church College of Hawai’i.  Never in his wildest dreams did he think he’d be working at the #1 paid tourist attraction in the State of Hawaii.   Today he is the Director of Protocol & Community Relations for the Polynesian Cultural Center.  He is married to Hiromi and has 4 children.