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


Lei made from tiny, colorful shells carried by surf onto the beaches of the island of Niihau are among the most prized in the world.

A master artisan may take years to craft a multi-strand Niihau shell lei like the ones pictured here, with much of that time spent combing beaches for the desired colors and sizes. Add to that equation the fact that the shells wash up on shore infrequently and access to the privately owned island is extremely limited, and its no surprise that authentic Niihau shell lei often sell for thousands of dollars.

An exhibit opening this week at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum on Oahu, offers a rare glimpse of a private collection of the rare lei and the manufacturing history and craftsmanship involved in making these intricate Hawaiian lei.

The exhibit, "Niihau Shell Lei: Ocean Origins, Living Traditions," is a showcase of more than 60 pristine lei made from shells traditionally gathered from Niihau's beaches over the last two decades. The lei are from the Rick and Chuna Niihau Shell Collection, loaned from private collectors. In addition to the opportunity to see the detail of finished lei up close, microphotography exhibits will help gallery visitors see how tiny mollusks—most commonly, Leptothyra verruca, Euplica varians and the intriguingly named Graphicosa margarita—build the shells that serve as their miniature homes on the ocean floor and—after their demise—the beautiful shells treasured by lei makers.

Leptothyra verruca

There are three different shells commonly used to make Niihau shell lei: kahelelani, momi and laiki. A fourth, kamoa, is frequently used to add contrasting color. The color of the shells range from bright pink to pale yellow, and can have various types of markings on them.

The term “Niihau shell lei” has been protected by Hawaii state law since 2004. Sellers are not allowed to use the term to describe a lei unless 100 percent of the shells used to craft it were collected from the island of Niihau and the lei was crafted entirely in Hawaii. (You can check out the exact terms of the law here.)


The exhibit will be open to the public through Jan. 27, 2014.

Niihau Shell Lei: Ocean Origins, Living Traditions

At Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, Oahu • (808) 847-3511 • For more information about the exhibit, click here.

Photos: Dave Franzen (top, bottom); Keoki Stender (middle)

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The long-established, world-renowned coffee-growing region of Kona is home to dozens of coffee farms, many of them family-owned and –operated. For more than 185 years, this area, rooted on the slopes of the Big Island’s Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes, has served up some of the best specialty coffee in the world.

And for the past 42 years, it has celebrated that heritage and tradition with an annual tribute to its much beloved caffeinated beans, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. The 43rd annual fest, which begins this Fri., Nov. 1, will again play host to the celebration's usual multitude of java-related activities and events—from farm and mill tours, art shows and a cupping competition to a multicultural hoolaulea (celebration), talent show, coffee recipe contest and a Miss Kona Coffee scholarship pageant. If you get a buzz just thinking about a downing a warm cup of Kona-grown coffee, the fest is definitely for you.

The festival happens from Nov. 1 to 10 at various locations throughout Kona. It all kicks off this Friday at 6:30 p.m. with the Sugai Kona Coffee Talent Night at Konawaena Elementary School, followed by the Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 2. On Sun., Nov. 3, the UCC Ueshima Coffee Co. Coffee-Picking Contest, in the upslope coffee town of Holualoa,kicks off the morning, followed by the KTA Super Stores Kona Coffee Recipe Contest from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa.

The festival’s signature event—at least the one area coffee farmers get most excited about—the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, kicks off first-round judging at 9 a.m. Wed, Nov. 6 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa. An international panel of professional cupping judges will conduct side-by-side tastings from more than 50 area farms to appraise the differences of each Kona coffee entry. Among the coffee characteristics judged will be fragrance, aroma, taste, aftertaste and body. A lot of slurping and spitting is involved. Everyone is welcome to watch.

A final round of judging, slated for 9 a.m., Thurs., Nov. 7, also at the Sheraton Kona Resort, decides the farm with the fest’s best roast. Winners will be announced later that evening at the Kona Coffee Council Dinner & Benefit Auction, which starts at 7 p.m. at the hotel. The dinner is open to the public. You just have to buy a ticket.

One of the favorite fest events of residents and visitors, the Kamehameha Schools Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Hoolaulea, happens from 10 am. to 8 p.m., Sat., Nov. 9. The celebration will take over the Keauhou Shopping Center parking lot, with hands-on cultural workshops, an ethnic food market, live entertainment, kid activities, an interactive global village and a very-late-in-the-season, but still very festive, bon dance.

Click here for a full schedule of Kona Coffee Cultural Festival events.

43rd annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
Nov. 1-10, various locations throughout Kona on the Big Island • For more information about the festival and a schedule of festival events, click here.

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Kirk Lee Aeder

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Hapa-haole was a Hawaii-born music genre that found great popularity with residents and visitors from the 1920s through the 1950s. Born at at time when songs with Hawaiian language lyrics were largely frowned upon, hapa-haole songs—with their English lyrics and, at times, outright made-up Hawaiian words—found an audience drawn to their romanticized descriptions of the scenery, nature and ethos of the Hawaiian Islands.

Accompanied by lilting tropical musical arrangements, the lyrics of many hapa-haole songs referenced the more idyllic pre-statehood aspects of Hawaii, the Hawaiian culture and life in the Islands, leaving out realities that didn’t fit the genre’s themes of escapism. Lyrics of some hapa-haole songs even perpetuated incorrect stereotypes about the Islands and its resident population. Still, a number of the genre's songs eventually wound up transcending the era of their largest popularity, becoming Hawaiian music classics in the decades that followed statehood.

hawaii_music_hapa_haole_music_concert_competition_OahuSongs of the genre such as “Lovely Hula Hands,” “Waikiki” and “My Yellow Ginger Lei” are still played live and on Hawaiian music radio, while tunes like “My Waikiki Mermaid,” “My Honolulu Hula Girl” and “Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula” have been largely forgotten to time.

For the past 11 years, the Pai Foundation, an Oahu-based nonprofit aiming to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian cultural traditions, has put on a festival celebrating the hapa-haole genre of Hawaiian music. This year’s Pai Foundation Hapa Haole Hula Competition & Music Festival happens, Sun., Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. at the Hawaii Theatre in downtown Honolulu.

The festival is both a concert and a competition, with performers and competitors showcasing the music and dance of the era through hula and song. The fest’s emcee is Harry B. Soria Jr. who, for 35 years, has hosted the weekly radio program, Territorial Airwaves, featuring vintage Hawaiian music dating back to the Islands' pre-statehood territorial era. (Soria plays 78, 33 1/3 and 45 RPM disc recordings on the show, which is broadcast online on his website.)

The evening’s program will include live music and hula performances by Marlene Sai, Robert Cazimero, Halau Na Kamalei, the Royal Dance Company, Michael Pili Pang, Halau Hula Na Noeau, Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, past competition winners and more.

hawaii_music_hapa_haole_music_concert_competition_OahuThere will be six halau (groups) competing in group and solo categories, with a total of 95 dancers, and four solo competitors.

"I know it's a throwback. But it seems like it still resonates with listeners," says fest organizer Vicky Holt Takamine, about the hapa-haole music genre. "Since the Hawaiian renaissance period of the 1970s, the loss of many of the venues that perpetuated this style of Hawaiian music in Waikiki, and the passing of some of the old-time musicians, hapa-haole has seen a decline in popularity.

“But there are a few who were involved in the Hawaiian Renaissance like Robert Cazimero, and kumu (teachers), some of whom are in the competition, who were part of that period when hapa-haole music was popular."

If you’re a fan of hapa-haole music, it should be a great evening.

Hapa Haole Hula Competition & Music Festival

4 p.m., Sun., Oct. 27 • Hawaii Theatre Center, 1130 Bethel St., Honolulu, Oahu • Click here for more information and tickets.

Photos: Pai Foundation

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The wait for the winds officially begins tomorrow.

That’s when the 14-day holding period begins for the American Windsurfing Tour’s and Professional Windsurfers Association Tour’s JP Aloha Classic in waters off Hookipa Beach Park on the island’s north shore. The competition is one of the sport’s most prestigious, annually attracting elite windsurfers from around the world to Hookipa.

The Hookipa area is considered one of the best windsurfing spots in the world, with large, well-shaped wave breaks and consistently strong winds when conditions for the sport are at their peak. (The word hookipa is Hawaiian for “hospitality.”) Competition at the JP Aloha Classic is open to professional and amateur riders, and annually attracts a full roster of both. Competition is limited to 100 entrants.

For spectators angling to catch all of the action, Hookipa Beach Park offers multiple shoreline vantage points to check out JP Aloha Classic competitors on the waves. The main disadvantage? Parking is at a minimum and area vehicular traffic at a maximum whenever the surf at Hookipa is kicking.


The contest window for this year’s JP Aloha Classic is Oct. 24 through Nov. 6. Competition is held on up to 11 days throughout this two-week holding period, with daily contests dependent on appropriate weather and wave conditions. If you’re on Maui during the holding period and want to know if the competition is on before heading out to Hookipa, the American Windsurfing Tour will update schedules and forecasts throughout the competition on the JP Aloha Classic website.

If weather conditions meet with the approval of Aloha Classic organizers, daily competition begins as early as 10 a.m.

Can’t be on Maui? You can also watch daily competition live online on the JP Aloha Classic website.

Photos: JP Aloha Classic

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A bridge on the Pearl Harbor Bike Path.

Never mind asking where it starts and ends, ask even longtime Oahu residents about the existence of the Pearl Harbor Bike Path and you might get some quizzical looks. And that’s OK.

Most don’t realize there’s a great bike path that runs from the Aiea Bay State Recreation Area, just a few hundred yards north of the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center parking lot, to the town of Waipahu, much of it along Pearl Harbor shoreline.

But it’s there, and definitely an Oahu hidden gem for biking, jogging or walking enthusiasts.

I had first heard about the Pearl Harbor Bike Path as a reporter covering the area for a major Oahu daily newspaper. In 2001, community groups and the City & County of Honolulu drew up a master plan for a multi-use Pearl Harbor Historic Trail shoreline path that would run 18.6 miles from Halawa Landing, near the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, to the town of Nanakuli on Oahu’s leeward coast.

The goal was to reinvigorate communities along the route, upgrade the existing shoreline path, enhance and preserve the area environment, and create economic opportunities for area businesses. It was even hoped that the revitalization would lead to the reopening of the Oahu Railway & Land Co.’s right-of-way, offering visitors train rides along the Ewa and Leeward Oahu coastline, stopping at various shops and eateries that would spring up along the route.

The shoreline bike path opens in several spots to panoramic views of Pearl Harbor.

It was a great goal. But it was also expensive and never a high-priority project for the City and County of Honolulu. All that became of the plan was, basically, an improvement of the existing 10-mile paved shoreline bike path from Halawa Landing to Waipahu, which now comprises the Pearl Harbor Bike Path

Recently, I decided to finally check out the path for myself on bikes. We decided to start our ride at Neal S. Blaisdell Park, a couple of miles west of Aiea Bay State Recreation Area. The shoreline park, with a lovely view of Pearl Harbor, has ample parking and restrooms and seemed the best place to start pedaling toward Waipahu.

Story continues on next page



As of this morning, all of Hawaii's National Park Service parks, monuments, trails and historic sites are again open for visitors following the temporary resumption of funding for federal government services on Wednesday.

The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor on Oahu opened at 7 a.m. this morning, resuming tours of the USS Arizona Memorial, its visitor center and other harbor historic sites.

Two of Hawaii's other major NPS sites, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and Haleakala National Park on Maui, reopened on Thursday morning.

The three NPS Hawaii parks and sites above are the most popular in the Islands, each welcoming several thousand visitors daily.

Prior to yesterday, all 401 National Park Service sites throughout the U.S. had been closed for 16 days following the federal government shutdown on Oct. 1

In Hawaii, the closures encompassed the complete shutdowns of all Hawaii NPS sites to all visitor and automobile traffic and affected campgrounds, trails, roads, visitor centers, programs, special events and, in the case of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, hotel lodging such as the Volcano House hotel. Websites for all parks throughout the National Park Service system nationwide were also shuttered for the duration of the shutdown.

Headed to the parks? Here are the daily hours of operation for Hawaii's most-visited National Park Service sites:


• Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

-Open 24 hours a day year-round
-Kilauea Visitor Center open daily from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
-Jaggar Museum open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

• Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park
- Open from 7 a.m. to sunset daily
- Visitor Center open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site
- Open from 7:45 to 4:45 p.m. daily

• Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Hale Hookipa Visitor Center open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


• Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
- Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Closed on major federal holidays.


• Haleaklala National Park
- Open 24 hours a day year-round
- Park Headquarters Visitor Center open daily from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
- Haleakala Visitor Center open from sunrise to 3 p.m.
- Kipahulu Visitor Center open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.



• World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor
- Pearl Harbor Visitor Center open daily from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day
Arizona Memorial program and boat tours begin at 8 a.m. and run through 3 p.m. daily.

Photos: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson (top), Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Joe Solem

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Girls Who Surf instructors guide a beginners surfing class at Kalaeloa Beach Park, on Oahu's southwest side, before hitting the water.

It’s 10 a.m. on a sunny Saturday at Kalaeloa Beach Park. Early in the day for resident beachgoers who, on most afternoons, flock to this lovely, hidden stretch of white sand in the backyard of one of Oahu’s largest industrial parks. Not so early for overnight campers already firing up small barbecue grills and popping ice-cold Heinekens.

Beyond the campground, over a sandy hill and past a grove of ironwood trees is Kalaeloa Beach, rolling waves crashing on its still-empty dunes. Here, a couple of dozen miles west of Waikiki’s crowded beaches, is the spot that instructors of full-service Oahu surf school Girls Who Surf believe is as perfect as it gets for beginning surfers catching their first waves.

On this particular morning, the class emptying out of the Girls Who Surf van is mostly made up of men—15 of them, dressed in board shorts, bodies slathered with sunscreen, each anxious to slink into Kalaeloa’s friendly azure surf. Most admit to never surfing before today. For some, it’s their first trip to Hawaii. Everyone, however, seems to desire photographic proof for friends and family back home of riding a wave in the Islands where surfing was born.

“If you’re going to come all the way to Hawaii, I feel like you have to try surfing,” says Allison Paul, 30, of Boston. “I want to say I surfed in Hawaii.”

Despite its XX-chromosomed moniker, Girls Who Surf is actually an equal-opportunity surf instruction school for women and men. The school was founded in 2005 by Cherry Fu, a Harvard economics graduate who found herself hooked on the sport after taking a first surfing lesson. When she discovered that male instructors operated most of the surf schools here, Fu started Girls Who Surf to focus on teaching wave riding females and families. Still, the school has never limited its classes or even its pool of instructors to women.

To counter the confusion, Girls Who Surf also does business as Surf Honolulu. (Fu is still its owner, but lives in San Francisco.) Since opening, it has become one of Oahu’s top surf instruction schools for beginners, expanding its curriculum to include stand-up paddleboarding and bodyboarding. The company estimates that it guided more than 7,500 customers on the art of catching waves last year.


Halawa Valley, Molokai

Not to brag, but Hawaii has some of the most beautiful valleys in the world.

Sure we’re a bit biased. But put yourself in our slippahs. Just about every Hawaiian Island can claim a breathtaking valley. We have valleys of all shapes, sizes and terrains—populated and pristine, remote and easily accessible, lush and rugged. We’ve even got an island nicknamed the Valley Isle.

So when we asked our HAWAII Magazine Facebook ohana to tell us what their favorite Hawaii valley was, we knew we’d get a variety of answers.

As it turned out, there were hundreds of answers from all of you, name-checking every valley from the Big Island’s very remote and way lush Waimanu Valley to the perfect example of the Hawaiian ahupuaa mountain-to-sea land division system that is Limahuli Valley on Kauai’s north shore, and everything in between. After counting ‘em all up, we’re ready to present your Top 5 Favorite Hawaii valleys here and on the pages ahead.

If you’d like to join in on our next poll and vote along with our growing Facebook fan page ohana, go to HAWAII Magazine Facebook page and “like” us. In return you’ll be ready to share your answers in all of our “Hawaii favorite” poll questions as soon as we post them, know the results of the poll when all of the votes are counted and get all of our daily HawaiiMagazine.com stories and features.

We’ll be posting our next Ohana Poll question on HAWAII Magazine’s Facebook page in the days ahead, so join soon if you haven’t yet.

Now, however, it’s time to visit some valleys. Here’s the Top 5 countdown of our Facebook ohana’s favorite Hawaii valleys:


Manoa Valley

(Honolulu, Oahu)

Manoa is the epitome of Oahu’s southshore network of urban residential valleys—populous and popular, but not without its share of sublime natural wonder and untrammeled pockets ripe for exploration. Conveniently situated near Honolulu’s urban core, while maintaining a relaxed distinctly residential neighborhood feel, real estate in the valley is pricey and coveted by homebuyers. Still, the bulk of Manoa’s natural beauty remains largely accessible to the public—on the valley's rain-kissed backend at the foot of the Koolau mountain range. For example, the easily traversed Manoa Falls trail, Lyon Arboretum botanical gardens and a large network of state-maintained trails along the valley’s ridges up into the Koolau’s.



Get a peek into Maui’s sugar plantation past at the fifth annual Lahaina Plantation Days, this Fri., Oct. 18 and Sat., Oct. 19 at the former Pioneer Mill Co. smokestack—a can't miss town landmark—on Lahainaluna Road.

The two-night event, which happens from 5 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, celebrates West Maui’s plantation and agricultural heritage. Both evening's festivities will feature food vendors, historical displays and exhibits.

Hawaii comedy duo and hosts of the event, Da Braddahs, will share the Plantation Days entertainment stage both nights along with Na Hoku Hanohano Hawaii music award-winning musicians Hoku Zuttermeister, Ekolu, Na Leo Pilimehana and more.

This being a Hawaii event 'round dinnertime, the fest will, of course, include lots of food, too. Nearly two dozen Maui restaurants will host food booths on Friday and Saturday, including Aloha Mixed Plate, Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop, Pacific’O Maui, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and the Plantation House Restaurant. Lahaina’s Maui Brewing Co. will also also have a selection of its craft beers on draught.


Admission to Lahaina Plantation Days, organized by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, is $3 per night. Children under 5 are free.

For more information about tickets and the Lahaina Plantation Days lineup, click here, or call the Lahaina Restoration Foundation at (808) 661-3262.

Photos: Lahaina Plantation Days

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Molokai Hoe paddlers on the Kaiwi Channel between Oahu and Molokai.

For the past six decades, paddlers have annually challenged the unpredictable and often-treacherous waters of the Kaiwi Channel, which separates Molokai and Oahu, to compete in the Molokai Hoe Molokai-to-Oahu outrigger canoe race, considered the world championship of outrigger canoe paddling for men.

Hoe is pronounced “ho-eh,” without a glottal stop. It’s the Hawaiian word for "paddle," or "the act of paddling."

The Molokai Hoe attracts teams from Hawaii and around the world—more than 1,000 paddlers in all—taking their single-hulled canoes on the 41-mile journey across one of the most challenging sea passages in the Islands. Tradewinds can be too light or too intense. Currents can easily sweep the canoes far off course. Swells as high as 10 feet can swamp or capsize canoes.

The race starts at Hale o Lono Harbor in west Molokai and ends on Oahu at Waikiki’s Fort DeRussy Beach, where hundreds of spectators gather at the finish line. Can’t be at finish line in person? No worries. The best view of the entire race might actually be online.

2012 Molokai Hoe winners,Tahiti-based Shell Vaa, in competition.

This year’s Molokai Hoe will be broadcast live online by Ocean Paddler TV, Sunday, Oct. 13, beginning at 7:50 a.m. (Hawaii time) on Livestream by clicking here. If you’re in the Islands, you’ll also be able to catch the six-hour live broadcast on Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s OC 16 (channels 12 and 1012).

Live video feeds from the event will be captured for the live stream from boats and helicopters, with the entire broadcast hosted by Guy Hagi, Hawaii News Now weather anchor and avid surfer; Lauren Spalding, world champion paddler; and Kalai Miller, Ocean Paddler TV’s host and avid paddler.

If you’re on Molokai, you can watch the teams leave Hale O Lono Harbor at 8 a.m. By late morning, folks on Oahu’s south shore will begin noticing the first canoes move past Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head and Waikiki before landing at Ft. DeRussy Beach next door to the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Molokai Hoe outrigger canoes leave Hale O Lono Harbor on Molokai.

The Molokai Hoe’s first contest happened in October 1952, with just three koa wood outrigger canoes launched through surf at Kawakiu Bay on Molokai’s west side bound for Oahu, each powered by six paddlers on what was then a 38-mile course. Eight hours and 55 minute later, a Molokai-based paddling team and their outrigger, Kukui O Lanikaula, reached the beach at Waikiki fronting the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel.

The Molokai Hoe has become one of the longest running annual team sporting events in Hawaii and perpetuates one of Hawaii’s most important cultural traditions.

For more information about Molokai Hoe, click here.

Photos: Molokai Hoe

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