The largest per capita share of Pacific Islanders in the Continental United States is in Utah, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.
The first arrived in the state with a returning Mormon missionary in 1924. The second didn’t come until 1936. But today Utah is behind only Hawaii and Alaska for its share of people with family ties to Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii, Tahiti, Guam, Fiji and to Maori peoples of New Zealand.
“Watching the local football teams, there are Polynesian names all over the place,’’ said Ben Au, 61, chairman of the Salt Lake City-based Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce. “Instead of just Hunter High School, Granger and Kearns, these days it’s Brighton, Skyline, Bingham, up north, all over Utah County.’’
Tongans and Samoans make up two-thirds of the Polynesians in Utah.