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


Up for a getaway trip to a secluded hotel tucked into a breathtakingly beautiful site at the end of the winding and scenic Hana Highway on the eastern tip of Maui?

If you’re nodding your head in affirmation, we cordially invite you to enter HAWAII Magazine’s Travaasa Giveaway sweepstakes. HAWAII Magazine and contest partner, Travaasa Hana, Maui will award a getaway vacation for two to one lucky winner.

Here’s what winner gets: 

• five days/four nights complimentary accommodations for two in an ocean view, plantation-style “Sea Ranch Cottage” with a private lanai at Travaasa Hana, Maui;

• complimentary roundtrip airfare on Mokulele Airlines for the winner and one guest between Kahului, Maui to Hana, Maui;

• ground transportation to and from Hana Airport

• daily breakfast at Kauiki Restaurant for two

• 60-minute couples massage at the award-winning Spa at Travaasa Hana

• and $1,000 spending cash — cash card.


We’ll select one winner, at random, from all entries received by way of online submission by midnight (Hawaii time), Tues., April 30, 2013. The winner will notified by way of email on Thurs., May 2, 2013.  After that, the winner will have 24 hours to reply via email. If we do not receive a reply, we will select another winner.

Note: By entering this contest, you consent for HAWAII Magazine to share your (email address, mailing address, phone number, etc.) with Travaasa Hana, Maui which may send and/or email you Travaasa Hana, Maui announcements and information.

Travaasa Hana (formerly Hotel Hana-Maui) opened in 2011 as an “experiential resort,” at which guests may pay an all-inclusive rate for accommodations, meals, spa treatments and activities.  The activities at Travaasa Hana are tied to popular local and regional pursuits and traditions, ranging from stand-up paddle boarding and demonstrations of throw net fishing to ukulele lessons and hula.

For more information about Traavasa Hana, click here.

Click here to enter our Travaasa Giveaway contest, and for official rules.

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Photos: Travaasa Hana

Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_Waikiki_Hilo_leiTomorrow is May Day, known in the Islands as Lei Day — a day that celebrates Hawaiian culture, focusing on our fragrant symbol of aloha.

One of the largest gatherings will be Oahu’s 86th annual Lei Day Celebration, held at the bandstand in Queen Kapiolani Regional Park  (Waikiki area), 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. The entertainment lineup for the bandstand stage ranges from the Royal Hawaiian Band to hula performances. Also, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association will perform in a lei exhibit area, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you go, make sure your camera is ready for the investiture of the 2013 Lei Queen and her court, set for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Selection of Lei Day royalty is based on lei-making skills, hula, poise and other attributes, according to the pageant’s organizers. You’ll also want to snap photos of stunning entries in the Lei Contest, which will be displayed from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_Waikiki_Hilo_lei

In addition, the celebration will feature Kulana Lei, a “village of Hawaiian artisans” and “Tutu’s Hale,” which will offer lei-making and lauhala-weaving opportunities as well as children’s games, songs, and hula. For more information about the celebration, organized by the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation, click here.

On the Big Island, the Hilo Lei Day Festival—a free event in its ninth year — is set for from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow in Kalakaua Park. Festivities will include lei-making demonstrations as well as Hawaiian music and hula performances. For additional information, click here.

The origins of Hawaii’s celebration of May Day as Lei Day date back to 1927, when Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper writer Don Blanding advocated for the creation of a day dedicated to honoring lei-making and the custom of wearing lei. Blanding’s co-worker at the newspaper, columnist Grace Tower Warren, suggested holding the celebration on May 1 and coined the phrase “May Day is Lei Day.” Soon after, musician Leonard “Red” Hawk, and his wife Ruth Hawk, penned the tune May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. The ditty was reportedly first presented as a foxtrot but was rearranged in the late 1920s as a Hawaiian mele for hula.

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Photos: (top) Dana Edmunds; (bottom) Queen Kapiolani statue at regional park, Tor Johnson - both images, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

Hawaii_Kauai_Kilauea_Lighthouse_InouyeKauai’s Kilauea Point Lighthouse’s five-day centennial celebration will get under way on Wednesday (May 1) with a lighthouse re-opening ceremony and tours. Festivities will continue through the weekend with events ranging from an art show to an official renaming of the site as the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse in honor of the late senator.

Built in 1913 as a navigational guide for commercial shipping between Hawaii and the Orient, Kilauea Point Lighthouse (pictured, right) functioned for 62 years as an aid to ships and boats traveling along Kauai’s rugged north shore. In 1976, the Coast Guard deactivated the lighthouse and replaced it with an automatic beacon. Three years later, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. These days, volunteers keep the lighthouse functional and on rare and special occasions, the Kilauea Point Lighthouse lights the sky above Kauai’s north shore.

The picturesque lighthouse (famous for its signature “double-flash”) is now part of Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, which consists of 203 acres of protected land. Located two miles north of Kilauea Town, Kilauea Point is on the northernmost tip of the main Hawaiian Islands.

Here are a few of the centennial celebration’s highlights.Hawaii_Kauai_Kilauea_Lighthouse_Inouye

Lighthouse re-opening ceremony — 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Restoration work, which got under way in 2008, is now completed. (A few aspects of the restoration effort are still in the works, but large-scale improvement phases are completed.) Tours are slated to start every 30 minutes, beginning at 12:30 p.m. and wrapping up at 3:30 p.m. Tours will continue through the weekend.

Recognition and Renaming Ceremony — 5 p.m. Saturday. The lighthouse will be renamed in honor of the late Sen. Inouye (D-Hawaii), who was a key supporter of the establishment of Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge in 1985, as well as backer of the ongoing lighthouse restoration. In a recent news story, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said Inouye served as “a beacon of hope for conservation issues” and that renaming the lighthouse in his name is “befitting of his lifelong work and contribution to the people of Hawaii and the conservation community.” Inouye represented the Islands in Congress for 50 years. He died in mid-December.

For a complete schedule of centennial events, click here. For additional information about Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, click here.

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Photos: Tor Johnson/Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

Hawaii_Oahu_Kailua_fundraiserThere’s plenty to love about Windward Oahu’s Kailua town. From the shoreline of its sugar-white beaches (pictured, below) you can paddle a kayak in gentle waters to the nearby Mokulua Islands, which serve as a seabird sanctuary. On breezy days you can see wind surfers twisting above the waves in Kailua Bay. And after working up an appetite, you can find eateries serving up anything from a breakfast of macadamia nut pancakes to a dinner featuring fish fresh from Hawaiian waters.

For these reasons and others, the outdoorsy, easygoing beach town-suburb will hold its 21st annual “I Love Kailua” Town Party this Sunday (April 28), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle, a nonprofit founded in 1948 to keep Kailua and Lanikai clean, green and beautiful through landscaping and maintenance projects in area public parks and along roadsides.Hawaii_Oahu_Kailua_fundraiser

The town party will feature its annual A Taste of Kailua food booths, with dozens of eateries and area restaurants serving up treats ranging from fresh malasadas to crepes and curry dishes. Entertainment will spotlight from live Hawaiian music and hula as well as performances of the Pacific Fleet Band and the Army Jazz Band. In addition, artwork and crafts created by more than 50 Windward artists and handcrafters will be for sale. There will also be plants and orchid displays and sales.

Partygoers are encouraged to walk or bicycle to the event, which will be staged along Kailua Road’s shopping and restaurant area. In past years, the party has drawn crowds of up to 10,000 people. All traffic lanes and sidewalk areas along Kailua Road, from Hahani Street to Kuulei Road, will be closed.

More information about the party and the Outdoor Circle, click here.

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Photos: (top) Kailua Beach/Wikipedia Commons; (bottom) I Love Kailua Town Party street scene

Hawaii_Volcano_hula_plants_seminarThe nonprofit Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is offering a field seminar this weekend that focuses on cultural and scientific exploration tied to plants used in hula.

A kumu hula (hula teacher/master) and a botanist will team up to lead Plants of Hula: Na Mea Kanu o Ka Hula, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Kumu hula Ab Kawainohoikalai Valencia will share beliefs about hula plants as kino lau, manifestations of Hawaiian deities in plant form. In a news release issued by the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes, Valencia said: “There are plants for the hula altar, the kuahu, which include maile, ieie, ilima, lehua, and halapepe. Plus, there are adornments—mele hula plants that are worn by the dancers—which include maile, ilima, and lehua, plus palapalai, aalii, pukiawe, and olapa.”

Valencia established Halau Hula Kalehuakiekieikaiu in Honolulu in 1991, and currently maintains his halau (school) in Honolulu as well as in the community of Volcano, near the national park.Hawaii_Volcano_hula_plants_seminar

Participants meet at the Kilauea Visitor Center. The seminar will begin with a welcoming oli (chant), followed by a short walk to the kahua hula—the hula platform that overlooks Halemaumau Crater, home to the volcano goddess Pele.

Next, the group will drive to Kilauea Overlook to discuss cultural protocols used when picking plants—and to walk among native species in their natural environment, with botanist Tim Tunison sharing scientific information and insights.

Participants will also visit Tunison’s property in Volcano Village, where he’s restoring the land to its native ecosystem. There’ll they’ll get a hands-on lesson in native plant propagation and some plant seedlings to grow at home.

Tunison, a longtime botanist at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, worked for the National Park Service for more than 30 years. Since his retirement in 2006, he has taught field botany, native plant propagation, and forest restoration.

For more information about “Plants of Hula” and registration for other Hawaii Volcanoes Institute programs, click here.

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Photos: kumu hula Ab Kawainohoikalai Valencia and dancers/Dave Boyle; "Hookupu" (traditional Hawaiian ti leaf container holding offerings known as hookupu)/Jay Robinson (National Park Service)

Hawaii_Kau_coffee_festival_Big_IslandThe fifth annual Kau Coffee Festival is slated to start this weekend in the Big Island’s southeast district, where the beans are bringing home international honors in gourmet cupping competitions.

The fest’s lineup of events, which spans two weekends, offers everything from coffee farm visits and coffee-tastings to Hawaii-focused cultural performances, and, for aspiring connoisseurs, the return of “Kau Coffee College.” Among new offering offerings on this year’s schedule: Kau Mountain Water System Hike (pictured, right), Coffee & Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation, and Kau star-gazing excursion (pictured, below) at nearby Mount Makanau’s summit. For a complete schedule or events, click here.

Among the events slated for this weekend:

Simply Elegant: the Kau Farmers Table — 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday (April 27) at The Inn at Kalaekilohana. Chefs Kenny Joyce and Patty Fujimoto showcase Kau’s agricultural products with a dinner featuring everything from ahi tartare and Kuahiwi Pelehu beef to Kau coffee ice cream, Kau coffee espresso caramel and Kau estate coffee. For reservation information, click here.Hawaii_Kau_coffee_festival_Big_Island

Triple C Recipe Contest — 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (April 28), at Kau Coffee Mill in Pahala. The competition will feature cookies, candies and crackers, all made with Kau coffee. Judging is set for 2 p.m. A tasting session will follow. Free coffee tasting, love musical entertainment and tours of the Kau Coffee Mill. For additional information, click here.

Next weekend, the fest will feature its Kau Coffee Festival Hoolaulea (Sat., May 4), with a full day of music, hula, food, local crafts, and coffee tastings. Based at the Pahala Community Center, the fest’s entry is free; a ticket for the Kau Coffee Experience coffee tasting is $5; and farm tours, $20. The annual Kau Coffee College will be held on Sun., May 5. Admission is free, and donations appreciated. For additional information about the coffee biz-focused event, click here or call (808) 929-9550.

Three Kau area coffee farms were ranked among the top 10 in the Roaster Guild Specialty Coffee Association of America's most recent Coffee of the Year international competition (2012). The winners are: The Rising Sun/Will and Grace Farms — farmers Will and Grace Tabios; Rusty’s Hawaiian — farmer Lorie Obra; and Alii Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee —farmers Francis and Trinidad Marques. The other winning coffees in the competition were from farms in Honduras, Columbia and Ethiopia.

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Photos: Kau Coffee Festival

Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_Spam_festival "Spam-jammers," fans of our favorite canned pink luncheon meat, will gather on Oahu’s south shore this weekend for the 11th annual Waikiki Spam Jam Festival.

And what does it mean to be a Spam-jammer? Well, according to event organizers, it means that you’re enthusiastic about the chance to sample the salty pork foodstuff served up in a variety of culinary styles. At the festival, set for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sat., April 27, Spam-jammers will be eating plates of "Spam Fusion Fajitas," Spam katsu, Spam won ton, Spam lau lau, Spam ravioli, spam tacos, and even Spam poke.

As you probably know, Hawaii is jam-packed with Spam-jammers. We eat up nearly 7 million cans of Spam a year — more than any other state across the nation, according to Minnesota-based Hormel Foods, producers of the canned luncheon meat since 1937.

In HAWAII Magazine’s first-ever “Readers’ Choice Awards,” featured in the March/April issue now on sale, Spam Jam is the top-ranked best annual food festival. If you go to this weekend's fest, expect a bustling crowd. Last year’s Spam Jam crowd projection was estimated at 20,000.Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_Spam_festival

As in years past, Kalakaua Avenue, the main thoroughfare through Waikiki, will be closed to automobile traffic during the festival, and admission is free. The blocked-off area will be lined with food booths. More than one dozen popular restaurants and eateries will be serving up everything from breakfast entrees, such as spam-in-a-pancake, to dinner desserts. Spam cheesecake, anyone?

The entertainment stages will spotlight Hawaiian music and hula; ukulele-playing champs; and various other musical genres, from rock to funk. Merchandise booths stocked with T-shirts, shorts and other Spam paraphernalia. In addition, volunteers will be on hand to collect donations of Spam products for The Hawaii Foodbank.

For additional information about the Waikiki Spam Jam Festival, click here.

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Photos: Waikiki Spam Jam Festival

Hawaii_Maui_photo_contestDo you have a stunning Hawaii photograph? One that captures the breathtaking beauty of our lush landscapes and shorelines. Or a memorable moment depicting people and culture in the Islands. How about an artistic abstract shot?

If so, enter your best photos in HAWAII Magazine’s 15th annual Photo Contest. Your photography could win you a grand-prize six-day/five-night stay at The Kapalua Villas on Maui’s west side, airfare and various other goodies, such as a chic digital camera fitted with a powerful 5x optical zoom, a 28 mm wide-angle lens, and an optical image stabilizer.

The contest is open to entries through Aug. 9, 2013. Prizes will be awarded for the most awe-inspiring, Hawaii-focused images. You may enter photos in the four categories listed here.

People — Photos depicting individuals or groups, residents or visitors doing anything or nothing at all (outdoors or indoors) on any island.

Outdoors — Photos depicting Hawaii’s landscapes/seascapes — natural or man-made, country or urban, mountain/beach (mauka/makai), close-up or at a distance.Hawaii_Maui_photo_contest

Culture — Photos depicting Hawaii’s diverse cultures — from Hawaiian to Japanese to Filipino and everything in between. Images may feature events, activities, artifacts, memorabilia, architecture, people, etc. Images may spotlight a single culture or many.

Abstract — Photos depicting Hawaii or elements of Hawaii in a creative or rarely seen way. This category serves as an invitation for you to get experimental.

Your submitted photos can be of anything that falls into any one of these categories, but all entries must have been photographed in Hawaii after May 2010. Entries that fail to comply with photo contest rules will be disqualified. Photos will not be returned.

The grand-prize (one winner) will get airfare for two to Maui from the winner’s nearest Hawaiian Airlines gateway city, plus a six-day/five-night stay at The Kapalua Villas on Maui. Also, the grand-prize winner will get: a three-day car rental from Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group; a $100 gift certificate for Star Noodle restaurant on Maui; a $50 gift certificate for The Gazebo restaurant on Maui; and a Jams Throw and Surf line Hawaii towel from Jams World. Finally, for taking the best in show title for HAWAII Magazine’s 15th annual Photo Contest, the grand-prize winner will get a Canon PowerShot A3400 IS digital camera and an 8GB SOHC card.Hawaii_Maui_photo_contest

First-place prizes (one winner in each category) will score an Oahu tour for two from Gray Line Hawaii/Polynesian Adventure Tours, a pillow from Jams World, a gift pack from Maui Preserved, two day passes for Waimea Valley on Oahu, and two day passes for Wet’n’Wild Hawaii on Oahu.

Second-place winners (one in each category) will pick up a Surf Line Hawaii towel from Jams World, a gift pack from Maui Preserved, two day passes for Waimea Valley on Oahu, and two day passes for Wet’n’Wild Hawaii on Oahu.

Click here to check out the official contest rules. And click here to take a look at the official entry form.

Need some visual inspiration? Check out photo galleries of our 2012 and 2011 HAWAII Magazine Photo Contest winners and finalists by clicking the links below.

2013 HAWAII Magazine Photo Contest winners and finalists

2012 HAWAII Magazine Photo Contest winners and finalists

The winning photos will be published in the January/February 2014 issue of HAWAII Magazine. Additionally, winners and finalist photos will be published on HawaiiMagazine.com.

Entries must be postmarked no later than Fri., Aug. 9, 2013. That leaves you with about three months to sort through your best shots or to focus your lens on Hawaii.

Good luck, photographers! We’re looking forward to seeing your best shots!

A big mahalo to all of our 15th annual HAWAII Magazine Photo Contest sponsors. Please click on their links above to find out more about them.

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Photos: (top) second-place, people category (2013) Gavin Shigesato; (middle) second-place, Kauai category (2012), Lisa Boyer; (bottom) and grand-prize winner (2013), Christian Del Rosario.

Hawaii_Maui_Hawaiian_steel_guitar_festivalThe annual three-day Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival gets under way tomorrow on the island’s west side, at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. Packed with performances, presentations, instructional workshops and jam session, the free fest will showcase on the only musical instrument thought to be both invented and popularized in Hawaii.

Among the fest’s featured Hawaiian steel guitar masters are Alan Akaka, Greg Sardinha (pictured, right), Bobby Ingano, Geri Valdriz, and Ross Ka'a'a. The event is also spotlighting hula and other Hawaiian cultural presenters. On-site presentations include lei-making classes, Hawaiian language lessons and lauhala weaving classes. For more information about the fest and a schedule of musical performances and workshops, click here.

The Hawaiian steel guitar’s origins date back to the late 1880s. Legend has it that at that time, a student at Kamehameha School for Boys began experimenting with ways to make different musical sounds on his Spanish guitar.

The story goes that while walking along a road in Honolulu, he noticed a rusty bolt. As he picked it up, the bolt vibrated one of strings on the student’s guitar. The student, Joseph Kekuku, liked the accidental tone, which prompted him to later experiment with the back of a pocket knife blade and the back of a steel comb.

According to The Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association, the Hawaiian steel guitar first gained worldwide exposure at the 1914-15 Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco, and during the 1920s, Hawaiian steel guitar music was very popular across the United States. By the 1960s, however, the art and technique nearly died out. Since then, various steel guitar musicians have helped to preserve the musical tradition by sharing their skills and knowledge with students. Among those musicians was Country Music Hall of Fame recipient Jerry Byrd, who moved to Hawaii in 1972. Akaka and Sardinha were among Byrd’s students.

The fifth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is presented by Arts Education for Children Group. The nonprofit based in Lahaina, Maui aims to provide opportunities for artistic and cultural enrichment and restore school music programs and public awareness about the importance of participation in music and the arts. For more information, click here.

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Photo: Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival

Hawaii_Volcano_Big_Island_Maui_Oahu_MolokaiEntrance fees at three Hawaii national parks will be waived for a five-day stretch, starting on Mon., April 22, to celebrate National Park Week.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, both on the Big Island, and Maui’s Haleakala National Park will waive the fees from Sat., April 21 through Sun., April 29.

Of the country’s 401 designated national parks, which also include national historical parks, national historic sites, national historic trails, and national monuments, 268 never charge an entrance fee.

The main eight Hawaiian Islands boast a total of eight national parks, with five on the Big Island and one on Maui, Molokai and Oahu, respectively. Admission is always free at Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail (Big Island), Kaloo-Honokohau National Historical Park (Kailua-Kona, Big Island), Puukohola Heiau (Kawaihae, Big Island), Kalaupapa National Historical Park (Molokai), and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Pearl Harbor, Oahu).

According to the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, within the country’s collection of national parks are 18,600 miles of trails and 43,000 miles of shoreline.

The National Park Service will waive entrance fees again on Sun., Aug. 25 for the National Park Service’s birthday, on Sat., Sept. 28 for National Public Lands Day, on Sat., Nov. 9. through Mon., Nov. 11 for Veterans Day weekend. For more information on special offerings at parks nationwide, click here.

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Photo: Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park (Big Island), Derek Paiva
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