Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 3 Next>>

Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial to be torn down

The battle over the fate of the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial—the 82-year old saltwater swimming pool and war monument—has seemingly reached an end.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann this weekend decided that the natatorium’s pool and bleachers be demolished. What will replace the natatorium in the prime Waikiki oceanfront acreage it now occupies? Beach. About 100 meters (328 feet) of white sand beach, to be exact. The natatorium’s distinct beaux-arts entrance arch will be relocated further inland, serving as an entryway to the new stretch of coastline.
As we reported last month, a city-appointed task force recommended that the natatorium be torn down and the beach extended. Mayor Hannemann was left to make the final call. His decision to stick with the task force’s plan was not surprising to many—Hannemann had expressed his desire to raze the natatorium in the past.

Built in 1927, the natatorium war memorial honors the 101 Hawaii residents who died in World War I. Several world-class athletes swam in the natatorium’s pool in its early years, including legendary Hawaii surfer Duke Kahanamoku (who was the first to take a swim in the pool when it opened on Aug. 24, 1927) and fellow Olympians Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weismuller.

The state closed the natatorium’s pool to the public in 1979 and deemed it a health hazard a year later. In 1995, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included the natatorium on its list of the 11 most endangered historic sites in the U.S. The memorial’s facade was partially refurbished in 2000, but pressing health concerns over the condition of the saltwater pool kept the project from completion.

Despite today’s announcement, the natatorium won’t be torn down anytime soon. Demolition requires an environmental impact statement, permits, extensive planning and design and, of course, funding—about $15.1 million, according to the city.

“The entire process could take eight years or so, and there will be plenty of time for citizen input into the process,” said Hannemann.

We’ll keep you posted on HawaiiMagazine.com as news breaks on the future of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. As always, you can sound off on the Natatorium’s fate here, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Photos: (top & bottom) artist renderings of Natatorium site after demolition, City & County of Honolulu; (middle) Waikiki Natatorium at twilight, as it looks today, Natatorium.org

Breathtaking Maui view to be forever green


Good news for those who love Maui. 

Looking inland from the south Maui coast, the view is of rolling green ranch country.

It will stay that way forever.

When you look up from Kihei, Wailea and Makena toward the leeward slopes of Haleakala, what you see mainly are the 18,000 acres of Ulupalaka Ranch.  

The Erdman family has owned the ranch since 1963. In the largest ever voluntary easement in Hawaii, the family has agreed with the Maui Coastal Land Trust to permanently protect 12,000 of those acres.  They will continue as a working ranch and a wildlife habitat, for generations to come.

No residential subdivisions will dot those hillsides.  Instead, they will be used for agricultural purposes and renewable energy projects.  A previously announced wind energy farm will be erected in Auwahi, but will not be visible from Kihei-Makena.

The protected area already includes the Auwehi Habitat Restoration Project and is part of the Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership.

Says ranch owner Pardee Erdman: “Fifty years ago I was surveying the island for development sights when I ended up in Wailea and had the chance to look up to see the marvelous green hills of Ulupalakua. Little did I know I’d be saving them someday.”

Photo: Maui Land Trust

Honolulu lights up Christmas season in Hawaii

Honolulu_City_Lights_Christmas_2009Honolulu City Lights—the city’s annual evening display of holiday tidings—is back!

Those on Oahu next Saturday, Dec 5 will want to swing by the grounds of Honolulu Hale—our city hall. You’ll find food booths, live entertainment, an electric light parade, larger-than-life Christmas statutes, Christmas trees and gingerbread houses and plenty of lights strung along Honolulu’s Downtown office buildings. And, oh yeah, there’s Honolulu’s official 50-foot city Christmas tree, waiting to be lit up.

The holiday displays extend through the Chinatown, Downtown and the Capitol Districts, but much of the action happens at Honolulu Hale and the nearby Civic Center grounds. Thousands are expected to attend this year’s Honolulu City Lights—the 25th anniversary of the festivities.

You’ll find me taking pictures with “Shaka Santa,” a 21-foot-tall Santa effigy, who sits cooling his well-traveled toes in the Honolulu Hale fountain. Other massive holiday figures include Shaka Santa’s doting wife “Tutu Mele,” attired in a traditional Hawaiian muumuu, and the “Snow Family”—a clan of vacation snowmen who, despite being in our tropical climes, won’t melt. They’re made of foam.

Historic Kawaihao Church will host a Christmas concert. Later that evening, a more contemporary holiday program—with Hawaiian musicians Maunalua, Amy Hanaialii and others—will take place under Isamu Noguchi’s Sky Gate sculpture.  But first Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman will officially light the city’s 50-foot Norfolk Pine.

For the complete schedule of the evening’s events, click here.

Not in Honolulu that weekend? Concerts and other activities are scheduled on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas—Dec. 12 and Dec. 19. The light displays and sculptures can be viewed at Honolulu Hale and around downtown Honolulu until January 1.

Honolulu is not the only place in Hawaii having some holiday fun. Click to the next page for a listing of holiday kickoff celebrations statewide.

Happy holidays!


tsunami_Hilo_Big_Island_HawaiiHAWAII magazine reader Edd Kogan wrote us with a question about the city of Hilo's history with tsunamis:

When were the last three tsunamis that damaged Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii?

You ask, we answer.

Tsunamis—large sea waves generated by earthquakes, underwater landslides and other disturbances—aren’t common occurrences in Hawaii. However, when they do happen, Hilo Bay on the Big Island has often been subject to the worst of their devastating effects. The funnel-like underwater shape of Hilo's bayfront amplifies the incoming waves creating larger heights, stronger inland surges. Case in point, Hilo Bay (pictured below) received wave heights reaching 35 feet during a May 1960 tsunami that struck the Islands, while other areas of Hawaii reported wave heights of 3 to 17 feet.

Hawaii experienced at least one damaging tsunami every 12 years between 1837 and 1975—but none causing any significant damage in the last 35 years.

tsunami_Hilo_Big_Island_HawaiiThough rare in Hawaii, tsunamis have taken more lives here than all other local disasters combined. The Pacific Tsunami Museum was established in Hilo in 1994 to commemorate the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis, but has since expanded to include public education and a broad archive of tsunami photos, video, history and oral histories. It now serves as a monument to all those who lost their lives in past tsunamis. For more information on the museum click here.

According to the Pacific Disaster Center, the last three tsunamis that caused significant damage in Hilo occurred in 1946, 1960 and 1975.

Click on the pages ahead for a look at the tsunamis and their effect on Hilo and the Big Island.


Hawaii’s first 4-D theater debuts on the Big Island

First_4D_theater_on_big_islandOn the Big Island with the family and want an interactive entertainment experience everyone will enjoy? Or are you just looking to kill a few hours? We've got you covered.

“The Great 4-D Movie Ride,” Hawaii’s first 4-D movie theater, recently opened in The Shops at Mauna Lani on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast. The 24-seat theater is more intimate in size than your average multiplex. But with a 19-foot widescreen, high-definition picture quality and surround sound system, the movie-going experience is anything but small.

The 4-D part? That comes from some pretty impressive in-theater effects, including pressurized air jets, water sprayers and moving seats, which are synched with the action onscreen. Don’t worry; you won’t be deluged with water during your movie, just a light misting. Theater officials insist the effects aren’t intense, but should create a “multi-sensory experience” for the audience.

The theater is currently screening five films. Showtimes are tentative, but during the day expect more kid-friendly fare like SpongeBob Squarepants: The 4-D Ride and Time Riders. Other films include science-fiction romp Stargate SG-3000, Alien Safari and National Geographic: Sea Monsters 4D–A Prehistoric Adventure.

Now if the Great 4-D Movie Ride could get some Hawaii-filmed or -themed 4-D flicks for the new theater, too, all would be perfect in our world. As soon as it does, we'll let you know.

Tickets are $5 for shows between noon and 5 p.m. Shows after 5 p.m. are $7.

For more information or movie showtimes call (786) 320-8884. We realize 786 is not a Hawaii area code, but trust us, the number will connect you directly to the theater.

See you at the movies!


Renewing wedding vows on Oahu? What you need to know.

HAWAII Magazine reader Ida Gordon-Williams of Olathe, Kansas, asks us a two-part question:

On New Year's Eve 2010, my husband and I will have been married 25 years.  We would like to renew our vows in Hawaii (Honolulu, I think).  Four couples are traveling with us for the ceremony.  Could you suggest two exceptionally beautiful spots for the ceremony and some inns or bed and breakfasts that would work for my guests?  I don't want a big hotel. I want to be close to the island’s beauty.

You ask. We answer.

Hawaii is a prime wedding destination—hundreds of couples tie the knot here each year. The Islands are just as popular for those looking to recommit their marriage. On Oahu, there’s no place more famous for these ceremonies than Waikiki Beach.

Many Waikiki hotels offer vow renewal ceremonies to their guests for a reasonable price.
At the Outrigger Reef on the Beach or Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach resorts, the vow renewal ceremonies are free.  Outrigger’s Hoi Hou Ke Aloha—which translates to “fall in love all over again”— ceremonies are held every Tuesday and Friday morning in front of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. A kahu (priest) leads couples down to the water’s edge to exchange vows. The ceremony concludes with hula and a live performance of the Hawaiian Wedding Song.

For more information, or to sign up for Outrigger’s vow renewal ceremony, click here, call (808) 923-3111 or email orf.concierge@outrigger.com.

If you’d like a more private ceremony, Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park, Waialae Beach in the posh Kahala neighborhood and Kakaako Waterfront Park are all popular—and beautiful—locations for renewal ceremonies.

Outside of Honolulu, Oahu’s North Shore offers beautiful scenery, but during the winter season, high surf conditions limit beachside access. On the Windward Side of the island there are Waimanalo Beach, Kualoa Ranch and nearby Kualoa Beach. In Kailua town, there are Kailua and Lanikai Beaches, often considered among the best beaches in the state.

Many Oahu-based wedding companies perform vow renewal ceremonies on the beaches, often at similar rates as their wedding packages. But costs can easily surpass $1,000.

You’ll also need a permit. Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources requires a right-of-entry permit for all weddings and renewal ceremonies occurring on state beaches and unencumbered lands. The state implemented the new permit system to protect Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources from harm and overuse. For a copy of the permit application forms, click here.


Facebook_ohana_poll_results_favorite_Hawaii_beachThe results are in from our latest HAWAII Magazine Facebook Ohana poll question!

Earlier this month, we asked our HAWAII Magazine Facebook fans to answer the very tough question: "What’s your favorite Hawaii beach?"

As expected, they impressed us with their far-ranging best beach selections—which spanned all the Islands from remote Polihale Beach Park bordering Kauai’s Napali Coast to equally remote Papakolea Green Sand Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii’s southernmost point. In between were multiple votes for popular beaches on Oahu’s North Shore (Sunset, Waimea Bay, Haleiwa), beaches only accessible by hiking over lava rock (Makalawena on the Big Island’s South Kohala Coast) and even Lanai’s serene white sand beaches Polihua (pictured above) and Hulupoe.

There were surprises. Papohaku Beach—a gorgeous three-mile expanse of white sand—on Molokai’s little-visited west coast made a strong showing in the poll, topping even Oahu’s world-famous Hanauma Bay and Kauai’s Hanalei Bay in votes. Our Facebook fans cast so many votes, perennially popular spots like Makena Big Beach on Maui and Poipu on Kauai missed our best beach Top 5.

You’ll find the Top 5 countdown of our Facebook ohana's favorite Hawaii beaches in the pages ahead.

If you’d like to join and vote along with our growing Facebook fan page ohana, click here. You’ll get our “Hawaii favorite” poll questions as soon as we post them, and also get instant updates on your Facebook wall when we post all of our daily HawaiiMagazine.com stories and features.

Check out our HAWAII Magazine Facebook fan page now for our brand new poll question: What's your favorite filmed-in-Hawaii movie?

Then click ahead to reveal our Facebook ohana’s Top 5 Favorite Hawaii beaches. Here's #5:



Kaanapali Beach, Maui

This white-sand beach on Maui’s west side is hardly remote—the hotels and condominiums of the Kaanapali Resort claim much of its mile-long expanse, keeping it filled with sunbathers and swimmers on most days. Still, with some of the best waters for snorkeling on Maui, the always entertaining pastime of watching divers leap into the ocean from 40-foot-high Black Rock and gorgeous evening sunsets, Kaanapali remains one of the state’s most stunning beaches.


How to buy an ukulele from Hawaii

ukulele_hawaii_how_to_buyA HAWAII magazine reader asked us for some tips on buying one of Hawaii’s most iconic instruments:

Where can we find ukuleles and banjo ukuleles (new & used) being produced or sold in Kauai?

You ask, we answer. And we answered the question for all the Islands, not just Kaua‘i.

Standard ukuleles are far easier to find than “banjo ukuleles.” A banjo ukulele, or banjolele, has the small scale, tuning, and playing style of a ukulele but, not surprisingly given the name, is constructed like a banjo. Banjo ukes are not commonly used in Hawaiian music, so most music stores here would have to special order one.

We found one Hawaii crafter who builds both banjo ukuleles and standard ukuleles. Bonus? He’s on Kauai—Thomas Owen of Kapaa, Kauai-based Wailua Instruments. Click here for his contact info.   

Unlike the banjo uke, the standard ukulele is synonymous with Hawaiian music and culture. You’ll find the instruments for sale on all of the major Hawaiian Islands, not just Kaua‘i, in places ranging from music stores to department stores to Waikiki convenience stores.

As with most musical instruments, you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for an inexpensive music-making memento of your Hawaii trip, for less than $20, you can find ukuleles at most local flea markets and retailers specializing in Hawaii souvenirs. 

Most music stores in Hawaii carry quality new and used ukuleles from reputable crafters. Things can get a bit trickier for consumers hoping to buy an authentic “made in Hawaii” instrument, though.
The price of a quality Hawaii-made ukulele is usually based on the type of wood. An ukulele made of Hawaii koa—a highly prized wood endemic to the Islands—will cost you upwards of $650. A Hawaii-crafted ukulele made of mahogany, on the other hand, can cost between $50 to $80.


What's the best way to learn how to surf in Hawaii?

Hawaii_Oahu_surf_lessons_how_toHAWAII magazine reader Brookelynn Morris wrote us with a question about surf lessons:

I’m heading to Honolulu for vacation soon, and I want to learn how to surf. Can you tell me the best way to learn?

You ask, we answer.

Oahu’s shores—as with all of the other Hawaiian Islands—offer wave action for a variety of skill levels, from professionals to beginners.

For beginning surfers, we recommend sticking to the south shore of Oahu—specifically, the beaches of Waikiki. Wave heights on the south shore are consistently smaller making it the easiest and safest surf to learn on. Another plus to learning in Waikiki? The large amount of surf schools offering short term and long-term lessons.

Why lessons? Because simply renting a board and winging it anywhere in Hawaii isn’t a good idea even with the most innocuous-looking surf. There’s more to surfing than just learning to paddle into a wave, stand on a board and ride. A qualified instructor will also tell you about surfer protocol, how to read ocean and wave conditions, and equipment you must have, among other things.

Most surf schools offer private, semi-private, and group instruction. Call in advance and make sure that your instructor has their “blue card”—also known as their surf instructor license. Licenses are issued by the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources. A license assures that an instructor has passed a series of qualification tests to teach, and is certified to administer both first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).


hawaii_style_barbecue_teriyaki_sauce_recipeBarbecue sauce in Hawaii is not the same as barbecue sauce in the Mainland U.S.

Order a barbecue mixed-plate lunch at a casual Hawaii eatery and it’s doubtful you’ll get a heaping helping of smoked chicken or ribs slathered with sweet-and-tangy reddish-brown sauce. And don’t expect corn on the cob, coleslaw, baked beans or rolls on the side either.

What you will get, probably piled on a bed of white rice and accompanied by a scoop of macaroni salad or tossed salad, is a large platter of grilled meat or chicken, sweet-and-tangy from a marinade of shoyu (soy sauce), sugar, and fresh garlic and ginger. It’s often called Hawaiian barbecue sauce—or teriyaki sauce—on the Mainland.

Done right, neither sauce is a cut above the other. But the thick, smoky-spicy-tangy variety isn’t the kind of barbecue sauce a number of HAWAII Magazine readers have begged us to find them a great recipe for.

We’ve finally got one—straight out of a new book called Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands. “Kau kau” is the go-to Hawaii pidgin word for food, likely derived from the Chinese phrase “chow chow.” Kau Kau, the book, is all about Hawaii food. In particular, the astounding mix of foods first brought to the Islands by multi-ethnic immigrant sugar and pineapple plantation laborers more than a century ago that are still popular Hawaii comfort foods today.

The book, by Hawaii writer Arnold Hiura, covers a good deal of the history and stories of favorite Hawaii foods (from entrees to snacks to desserts). Hiura speaks with chefs, foodies and farmers about local cuisine and includes lots of great photos of the Islands’ most beloved foods.

hawaii_style_barbecue_teriyaki_sauce_recipeKau Kau, the book, also shares some of the best family recipes for favorites like adobo, chop steak, fried rice, saimin (fried and in broth), beef stew, manapua, shrimp curry, laulau, local-style soybeans, Portuguese bean soup.

Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands won’t be in bookstores or online retailers until January. But you can order a copy direct from the publisher, HAWAII Magazine sister company Watermark Publishing, here. Regularly priced at $32.95, Watermark is offering a special pre-order price of $30 and express holiday shipping until December 15.

On the following pages you’ll find an excerpt from Kau Kau about Hawaiian-style barbecue (teriyaki) sauce, followed by a terrific family recipe for the marinade that you can make at home.

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