"These are not just talented players, but also wonderful, caring citizens who, through their passion and commitment to the sport and community, set an outstanding example for our Polynesian youth to emulate." Alfred Grace, president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Laie, Hawaii (PRWEB) January 21, 2018
The Polynesian Cultural Center today honored inductees of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF) Class of 2018 with a cultural-based Enshrinement Ceremony attended by family, friends and fans.
Festivities at the Enshrinement Ceremony featured the presentation of a diversity of Polynesian cultural traditions, including the sounding of a pu (triton conch shell), a hula kahiko (ancient-style hula) performance and a haka (New Zealand war dance). Warriors representing the Polynesian Cultural Center's six island villages - Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa, Tahiti, Tonga and Fiji - were also in attendance to welcome inductees and guests.
The PFHOF's Class of 2018 inductees are:
o Herman "Buddy" Piikea Clark (Hawaiian ancestry)
o The late Clark was an All Pac-10 Conference honoree and was also selected for inclusion in the NFL's Half-Century Team. As chairman of the Aloha Stadium Authority, he was instrumental in bringing the NFL Pro Bowl to Hawaii. His son, Herman Clark Jr. accepted the award on his behalf.
o Maake Kemoeatu (Tongan ancestry)
o A Kahuku High School graduate, Kemoeatu played on the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens, as well as the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins. Kemoeatu accepted his Polynesian Football Hall of Fame class ring humbly sitting on a traditional woven Tongan lauhala mat.
o Manu Tuiasosopo (Samoan ancestry)
o Tuiasosopo was a three-time All Pac-10 Conference honoree and two-time All-American who played for the Super Bowl XIX champion San Francisco 49ers and with the Seattle Seahawks. Accompanied by his family, Tuiasosopo thanked the community that gave him the opportunity to play for the people of Polynesia.
o Kimo von Oelhoffen (Hawaiian ancestry)
o A Molokai High School graduate who played on the Super Bowl XL championship team of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Von Oelhoffen's NFL career also included stints with the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles.
o Bob Apisa (Samoan ancestry)
o Apisa was the first college football player of Samoan ancestry to be named an All-American and was a two-time National Championship team member of the Michigan State Spartans. His achievements in the game helped pave the way for future Polynesian players.
2017 Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year
o JuJu Smith-Schuster (Samoan ancestry)
o A receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Smith-Schuster helped lead the team to a 13-3 record in 2017 regular season play. He is the youngest player in NFL history to amass 1,000-plus all-purpose yards in a single season, and set a franchise record for most receiving yards by a rookie player.
2017 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year
o Hercules Mataafa (Samoan ancestry)
o As a junior at Washington State University in 2017, Mataafa was named Associated Press Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was also included on the Walter Camp, Sports Illustrated, TheAthletic.com, Football Writers Association of America, and Associated Press All-American teams.
"The Polynesian Cultural Center is honored to be the home of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame," said Alfred Grace, president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center, "These are not just talented players, but also wonderful, caring citizens who, through their passion and commitment to the sport and community, set an outstanding example for our Polynesian youth to emulate."
"We are proud to honor a distinguished new class of football players of Polynesian ancestry. They have invested a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to earn this lifelong accomplishment," said Jesse Sapolu, chairman and co-founder of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. "These players have become a huge inspiration, and each showcase the great pride of Polynesia."
As a tribute to Polynesia's greatest football players, coaches and contributors, the PFHOF exhibit now showcases the achievements of the hall's five classes and 28 inductees with plaques, photos, mementos, interactive displays and more. The Polynesian College Football Player of the Year and Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year are also honored in the exhibit.
A collaboration between the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, the exhibit serves as a permanent resource preserving and promoting Polynesian Football history. As a nonprofit organization, the PFHOF also provides college scholarships to student athletes of Polynesian ancestry, which are awarded to the alma mater of each hall of fame inductee; educational programs focusing on character and teamwork for youth within the Polynesian community; and other initiatives positively benefiting Polynesian culture and heritage. To support these efforts, the PFHOF also donated 100 tickets to this year's Enshrinement Ceremony to local high school football teams.
The Hall of Fame exhibit is located in the Polynesian Cultural Center's guest orientation center adjacent to the Hukilau Marketplace. Admission is free and open to the public during regular operational hours.
For more information about the Polynesian Cultural Center, visit Polynesia.com, or call (808) 293-3333. For more information about the PFHOF, visit PolynesianFootballHOF.org.
B-Roll Footage can be downloaded: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1kFDYoM3WlX0zhuT6vy-98A9GTnkNycmp
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ABOUT POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER
Located on Oahu's beautiful North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center is the only cultural tourist attraction of its kind in the world and a favorite of many visitors to Hawaii. An engaging, interactive celebration showcasing the people, culture, arts and crafts of Polynesia, the center has entertained millions of visitors from around the world since its opening in 1963. A nonprofit organization, the Polynesian Cultural Center commits 100 percent of its revenue to the center's daily operations and supporting the education of its student-employees from neighboring Brigham Young University-Hawaii. For more information, visit http://www.Polynesia.com.
ABOUT POLYNESIAN FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia's greatest players, coaches and contributors. It also serves as a resource for Polynesian football history, provides academic scholarships and supports educational programs for Polynesian youth. Its permanent home is on the grounds of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie on Oahu's North Shore. The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame was established in 2013 by Super Bowl champions Jesse Sapolu and Maa Tanuvasa. Other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe. For more information, visit http://www.PolynesianFootballHOF.org.