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July-Aug ust 2011

The Life of the People Mayumi Oda,: Artist-Farmer-Activist Ranch to Rodeo: Paniolo Culture Telling Grandpa’s Story Alvin Kawamoto: Tree Saddle Artisan

The Life of the Land Ocean Debris Becomes Art

The Life in Music The Amazing Bosco

"The Path Less Taken" by Kay Yokoyama

C ompl i m e ntary C opy Worldwide Delivery:

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 1

Saving the Kona Nightingale

Volcano Art Center Gallery L O CAT E D I N H AWA I ` I V O L CA N O E S N AT I O N A L PA R K



Rain Forest Runs

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Saturday, August 20, 2011, 7:00AM A half marathon, 10K run, and 5K runwalk in Volcano at 4,000 feet elevation. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities, this fundraising event promotes fitness and the natural environment and supports Volcano Art Center’s art and educational programs. Early registration until June 1! Call (808) 967-8240 or visit our website for more details.

Phone: (808) 967-7565

Toll Free: (866) 967-7565

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"The Life" Celebrating the ar ts, culture and sustainability of Hawai‘i Island

J u l y-Au g u s t 2 0 1 1

The Life in Spirit: 11 Pu‘olo

A Bundle for Precious Things by Kumu Keala Ching

The Life of the People: 21 The Many Expressions of Mayumi Oda The Goddess-Garden Path to Saving the Planet

27 Telling Grandpa’s Story How to Preserve Life’s Experiences

35 Ranch to Rodeo Hawai‘i’s Paniolo Culture

43 The Art of Noho Lio o Paniolo

Making Hawaiian Tree Saddles

The Life of the Land: 17 Ocean Debris Becomes a Work of Art Parker School Students Help

47 Saving the Kona Nightingales Four-legged Coffee Workers Now Unemployed and Endangered

63 The Mysterious World Beneath our Feet 4 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011

Exploring Kazamura Cave

The Life at Home: 51 Volcano Tree House

Takes “Green” to a New Level

The Life as Art: 31 Master of Light: Artist Kay Yokoyama

55 Bringing Hawai‘i’s Scenery Indoors Plein Air Painter Finds Joy in Landscapes

The Life in Music: 67 Time Out with the Amazing Bosco Troubador, Kona Icon and New-Age Musical Alchemist

Ka Puana --- The Refrain: 82 Generator Insanity By Lynne Farr



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JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 5

Then & Now: Ku‘upulehu and Kona Village Resort..............13 Treasures Grown from our Island Home..................................59 Hawai‘i Island Farmers Markets...................................................60 Community Calendar......................................................................71 The Life in Business..........................................................................79


6 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011

"The Life" Celebrating the ar ts, culture and sustainability of Hawai‘i Island


The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. [Its sustainability depends on doing what is right.] Proclamation by Kona-born King Kamehameha III in 1843. Later adopted as the state motto.


Barbara Garcia Bowman

Karen Valentine

Editor & Art Director: Karen Valentine ♦ 808.329.1711 x2 Marketing & Operations:

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Advertising Sales & Business Development

North Kohala to North Kona: Barbara Garcia ♦ 808-329-1711 x 1 Hamakua to Puna: Adrienne Poremba ♦ 808.935-7210 Volcano to South Kona: Mars Cavers ♦ 808.938.9760

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Tahiti Huetter ♦ Karen Fuller ♦ Stephanie Schreiber ♦ 808.315.7182

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Marya Mann

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Production Manager: Richard Price Ambassadors

Keala Ching ♦ Ursula D’Angelo ♦ Lani Dawn Thur-Fine ♦ Devany Davidson WavenDean Fernandes ♦ Fern Gavelek Laura Konoshita ♦ Deborah Ozaki ♦ Greg Shirley

Contributing Writers

KE OLA is recognized by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce as a Kuleana Green Business. Community Magazine Network member Editorial inquiries & calendar submissions: Submit online at (go to Contact page) 808.329.1711 x2 Worldwide Delivery: Call 808.329.1711 x3, order online at or mail name, address and payment of $24 US/$42 Canada/ $48 International for one year to: P.O. Box 1494, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745. © 2011, Hawaii Island Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 7

Keala Ching ♦ Devany Vickery-Davidson ♦ Fern Gavelek Pete Hendricks ♦ Margaret Kearns ♦ Denise Laitinen ♦ Marya Mann Alan D. McNarie ♦ Noel Morata ♦ Ashley Welton

Publishers Talk Story...

What One Person Can Dream…


ohnno Jackson and his wife sailed into Kahuwai Bay, north of the present Kona International Airport. In 1961, neither the airport nor the highway were there. The couple had come all the way from California to look for new horizons, and, while exploring the west coast of Hawai‘i Island, they envisioned a Polynesian village set upon the land area called Ka’upulehu. From that dream, Kona Village Resort was created. Some 50 years later, due to the March 11, 2011 tsunami damage, its future is now uncertain. We pay tribute to Jackson’s dream, and also tell an intriguing story about a conflict and shipwreck involving King Kamehameha, in Pete Hendrick’s “Then & Now” feature on page 13.

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Mayumi Oda experienced the aftermath and horror of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan as a little girl. These memories led her to become a prominent activist against irresponsible uses of nuclear power. When she realized that, as one woman, she wasn’t making the impact she had hoped for, she turned to the land and started a farm in South Kona. From there, she teaches visitors from Japan how to develop meaningful connections with the Earth. This year’s nuclear incident in Japan brought back all the memories for Mayumi and rekindled her passion to assist the Japanese people. Marya Mann’s profile of this courageous artist/activist/farmer is an inspiration to never stop envisioning a better world. Enjoy the stories of these two visionaries on the pages of this issue of Ke Ola. Find out what happened and how the dreams and inspirations of just one or a few people can change history and the island’s landscape. We are honored to pay tribute to them. We also look at our island’s unique and colorful paniolo culture with new Ke Ola writer Ashley Welton, see how the special light that reflects upon our land and ocean inspires art, and take you deep inside the island’s lava tubes. These stories are timeless. You’re holding this colorful magazine in your hands and we encourage you to also visit it online where you can add your own comments to these stories. In addition, you can contact us through the website with your story suggestions, your calendar submissions, letters to the editor and subscription orders for yourself and as gifts. Mahalo nui to all the writers and photographers contributing to Ke Ola, and all the businesses that see the value in placing their equally beautiful ads on our pages. We hope you’re enjoying this summer on Hawai‘i Island.

Karen Valentine and Barbara Garcia

From Readers... ✿ Dear Publishers/Editors:

My wife and I ignore most of the giveaway magazines at the airport or anywhere on Hawai’i, but we definitely look at Ke Ola every time we are there. We also look at the magazine online. Why? Because you are the only such ad-driven giveaway that has substantial, worthwhile content about the culture, arts, community, and history of the island. We also feel that the quality of your ads and advertisers is much better and more relevant than the other giveaways, and we actually look at ads that may interest us. Your ad sales folks can pass that on to your current and potential advertisers if you like. Thanks again for the worthwhile reading for when we kick back by the Wai’opae Marine Sanctuary. – John Hogle ✿ Dear Editor: I appreciated the “Empowerment of Community” article; it is simple and important to what can be done in our individual household and communities. I would like to bring the idea and point that the Big Island also has numerous public hunting areas that are available for use. It is wonderful to have family, friends and neighbors that know how to use it. I believe that it is an important resource that needs to be protected and conserved for future use. It is another way of staying connected to food and keeping Hawai‘i sustainable. – Ryder Souza

Send us your comments, letters and photos! We take email, snail mail, submissions through our website or posts on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter!

We are sorry we neglected to credit photographer Bob Brown for the wonderful photos of Danny “Kaniela” Akaka Jr. in the May/June issue of Ke Ola. Bob is owner of Eye Expression Photography in Kailua-Kona.

✿ Dear Editor: I love Ke Ola Magazine! As soon as a new one is issued, I devour it cover to cover. It always showcases the very best of Hawai‘i Island— our culture, our artists, our community. I felt the May / June 2011 issue was written just for me with articles on Dave and Sherry Pettus’ home, Jamie Gilmore’s artwork, our burgeoning tea industry with a gorgeous picture of Mauna Kea Tea Farm, and the history of the sugar cane farms along the Hamakua Coast. Plus, there were features on Ka’u Coffee Festival, Big Island Film Festival and the Hilo Inter-tribal Pow Wow—three of my favorite events! – Stephanie Donoho County of Hawaii, Tourism Specialist, Honoka’a

Follow us:

✿ Dear Editor:

I so enjoyed reading your “garden raising diary” in Ke Ola magazine. I live in Northern California. My husband and I have a goal to move to Hawai’i.
In the meantime, I get to visit all the delights of the Island through that wonderful magazine gifted to us by Kona friends. I’ve heard of gardening challenges with moisture (not enough/too much) and abundance of garden pests, so was delighted to read of your journey with the help of Josanna! I’m active in the Master Gardener program here in Marin County and headed up the IPM program for many years so well aware of the importance of healthy soil, composting, attracting beneficials etc.

I stay connected to the Islands as an

avid student of hula with my renowned spiritual teacher/ grandmaster of hula Loea Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett. We are blessed he comes to Roseville, California for teachings twice a year. Was a treat to be with him in his retreat center in Mountain View last year. From his lanai you see acres of ‘ohi‘a trees, then rainforest - and finally the plumes from Madam Pele rising in the distance. He has written numerous mele about the great goddess and it is a joy to dance and feel her great presence.
Blessings to you on your journey!
With much aloha –Terumi Leinow Woodacre, Calif.

Ke Ola distributes 22,000 free copies on the Big Island. These are compliments of the businesses that advertise in each issue. To show your appreciation, please join with us in supporting all the advertisers! Let them know you saw their ad in Ke Ola! You can also have Ke Ola delivered to your door by subscribing. First-Class subscriptions (in addition to the 22,000 complimentary copies) are available for $24 annually in the U.S., $48 Canada and $48 internationally. Go to

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July-August 2011 KE OLA

The Life of the People Mayumi Oda,: Artist-Farmer-Activist Ranch to Rodeo: Paniolo Culture Telling Grandpa’s Story Alvin Kawamoto: Tree Saddle Artisan

The Life of the Land Ocean Debris Becomes Art Saving the Kona Nightingale

The Life in Music The Amazing Bosco

"The Path Less Taken" by Kay Yokoyama

Offering Orthopedics, Ultrasound, Digital Radiology and more to the animals of the Big Island

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On the Cover: The Path Less Taken, a pastel study by painter Kay Yokoyama. See story on pg. 30.

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JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 9

July/August 2011

Voted Best of West Hawaii

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The Life

Photo by Carole Carraway, courtesy of Hawaii’s Gift Baskets

He pū’olo waimaka kapa i ka lani Aia ka ha’i ‘ōuli, ke aloha pau’ole Aniani ho’i ke ala, kau ka maka i mua Ha’aha’a ke ola, ho’omalu ka ‘ike Hāmama ka pu’uwai, ho’owehe ke aloha Aia ke ola i ke ola Aia ke ola i ke ola He pū’olo makani puku kālina ho’i kau Pō’ina‘ole maila ka moemoeā, Aia i mua Na ke ala i hō’ike ‘ia ai ke ola Mālama ke kanaka, ho’omalu ka ‘āina Maka’āinana o ke Akua, he ola Aia ke ola i ke ola Aia ke ola i ke ola He pū’olo makamae lei hiwahiwa Kau i ka poli, ha’uha’u ka ‘i’ini Mai ka pu’uwai, makana ‘ia mai Nānā i ke alo, aia ke ala, Nānā Nānā i loko, aia ka wailua, Nānā Aia ke ola i ke ola Aia ke ola i ke ola

A blanket of rain fills the heavens A prediction of unprecedented love A clear path, seek it before you Humble thy life, bring peace upon thy sight The heart is open, for love undoes it all For life is what life is For life is what life is


ū’olo, he mea i mālama ‘ia ai nā mea like ‘ole ka’apuni o ke ola. Mea mai kekahi, pehea i mālama ai ka lei hiwahiwa? E hana maila ka pū’olo kahi i mālama ai ka lei hiwahiwa. ‘O ka pū’olo kahi kupaianaha, like ho’i ka pū’olo waimaka ‘oe, ka pū’olo makani ‘oe, ka pū’olo makana ‘oe, ka pū’olo ‘ōiwi ‘oe, ka pū’olo mea’ai ‘oe a ka pū’olo ‘ike ‘oe mai nā kūpuna mai. Inā nānā ho’i ‘oe i loko o kou ola, aia ka pū’olo makamae kahi i ‘ike ai kou kuleana. ‘O kou mo’olelo kou mo’olelo a ‘o kou makana kupaianaha kou makana kupaianaha. Aia ke ola i ke Akua, hāhai me ka mana’o’i’o. E ola!

A precious gift of beloved lei When placed near, one sobs with affection From the heart gifted forever Seek your image, there is the path, seek it Seek within, there is the spirit, seek it For life is what life is For life is what life is

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 11

Indeed a stormy wind from within Never forgetting the dream, it’s here It is the pathway that reveals the life Care for people, honor the land Life, the nurturer of lands of the Higher Spirit For life is what life is For life is what life is

A bundle, utilized to care for all things that surrounds one’s life. One asks the question, how does one care for a precious lei? A bundle is created so that the precious lei is cared for. A bundle is an amazing creation, such as a metaphor for tears, a container for winds, a gift, a basket of ancestral bone, a bag of food or a gift of knowledge found within—given by your ancestors. If you look within your life, you will find a precious bundle filled with the knowledge of your responsibilities. Your story is your story, your miracle is your miracle. Your spirit is life, follow it with faith! Live it!

Pū’olo is a bundle of wonderful things given to each of us by the grace of the Higher Spirit. Nurture and open this pū’olo from within, seek to understand your pathway of life and live it as a precious gift of your past, present and future. Your life is your future, care for the present moment because what you do now will affect you in the near future. Enjoy and live your life as if it would end now! Contact Kumu Keala Ching at

12 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011

Capture of the Fair American. Photo courtesy of Heritage Collection, Herb Kawainui Kane.

s the schooner New Moon entered Kahuwai Bay in 1961, only the ghosts of the deserted village of Ka’upulehu were present, but the bay had been an important chapter in the story of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In 1790, the Ka’upulehu ahupua’a, or land division, in Kekaha, North Kona, was the residence of Kame‘eiamoku, a high ali’i (chief). A supporter and relative of Kamehameha I, Kame‘eiamoku had been insulted by Captain Simon Metcalf, of the visiting fur trading ship Eleanora. Metcalf had been coasting along Hawai‘i Island, trading with villages for provisions. After the insult, Kameeiamoku resolved to attack the next foreign ship he encountered. By coincidence, the next ship was a small topsail schooner, commanded by Simon’s son, Thomas Metcalf. Everyone on the Fair American was killed in the attack except the first mate, Isaac Davis, who later became a trusted advisor to Kamehameha I. Kame‘eiamoku probably brought Fair American to Kahuwai Bay for a short time. The Fair American was soon incorporated by Kamehameha into the growing Hawaiian fleet, which would include western ships as well as hundreds of double-hull canoes, with cannons and swivel guns like those carried by the Fair American. Several four-pound cannonballs were recovered from the beach at Kahuwai Bay in modern times, supporting evidence for the short stay of Fair American after her capture. Kekaha, the region surrounding Ka’upulehu, is an arid place, shielded from the prevailing northeast tradewinds by massive mountains, with

usually moderate offshore and onshore breezes daily. However, the usually-dry land adjoins ocean with rich marine resources, and Ka’upulehu and its village were blessed with springs and brackish water ponds. The eruptions of Hualalai mountain in 1800-1801 and subsequent lava flows changed the land and coastline of Ka’upulehu. In the following century and a half, a new land ownership system, with Johnno Jackson circa 1960. a western market economy and – From Kona Village Newsletter employment, hastened the end of traditional Hawaiian subsistence villages like Ka’upulehu. One-hundred-seventy-one years after the Fair American incident, former oil driller Johnno Jackson and his wife Helen sailed another schooner, New Moon, out from California in search of new horizons. Anchored in Kahuwai Bay, Jackson realized the potential of Ka’upulehu, with its beautiful bay and pristine encircling reef. Jackson had envisioned a Polynesian village while exploring along the west coast of Hawai‘i Island. The vision included a simple but elegant statement in quiet leisure, reflecting the styles of Polynesian cultures. The Jacksons’ visit to Kahuwai Bay began

❁Continued on page 14

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 13


At far left, Jackson’s schooner New Moon sits anchored in Kahuwai Bay with his dog in the foreground. His personal sailboat later became the resort’s signature Shipwreck Bar. The masts are still visible in the background of this photo showing tsunami damage this spring at Kona Village Resort. – Photos courtesy of Kona Village Resort

❁Continued from page 13 a unique resort for Hawai‘i and a model for similar tourist destinations throughout the Pacific islands. When Jackson decided that Ka’upulehu was the place for his dream, he faced an enormous challenge. No electricity, no potable water, no overland access. There were no roads; unless you picked your way very slowly by 4X4 vehicle down from Mamalahoa Highway. Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway was many years in the future. There was no communication; a portable radio provided the link. Sometimes it was easier to call a distant Pacific island than to reach Kailua-Kona. But Johnno Jackson was a “can-do” guy. He obtained a lease for the property at Ka’upulehu on a handshake from Bishop Estate, and proceeded to build a resort.

Anything large or heavy would be brought from Kawaihae Harbor, 18 miles north, by boat. A WWII surplus landing craft became the cargo carrier. Critical to the operation was getting people in and out, not only builders but guests and staff. An airstrip was first priority. When complete, the Kona Village airstrip was a seven-minute flight from Old Kona Airport. The first Village plane was a single-engine, six-seater. By 1962, Johnno had 25 “hales” in service, and by 1966, 47 units comprised the Village. By that time, Jackson had really run out of money. Signal Oil Company, Jackson’s backer, took over ownership of Kona Village. The new owners, supportive of Jackson’s vision from the beginning, brought in Angus Coombs as General Manager, and Fred Duerr, both from the old Pacific Empress hotel in Kailua-Kona.

Holualoa Village 14 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011

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Johnno Jackson and Fred Duerr, 1984. – Photos courtesy of Kona Village Resort

Jackson’s Kona Village hale. Fred Duerr, who became longest-serving General Manager, in a recent interview, recalled his first impression of Kona Village, thinking “This is like Gilligan’s Island.” One of Duerr’s first jobs at the Village was to determine which guests were paying and which guests were just “friends” of Jackson. Regulars among first guests were airline pilots and crew members he had met and invited to come and stay—at no charge and as long as they wanted. Others were people Jackson had met in his travels and invited to stay at the Village. He had forgotten some people he had invited, a challenge for the new execs of the Village. Duerr remembers the communications system too. There was one radiophone, mobile 442, and a bullhorn to page others on the Village

grounds. No flights in or out after dark. Transport improved with the addition of Royal Hawaiian Air Service, an interisland commuter carrier, with its twin engine 306’s. Barbara Campbell started at Kona Village in 1966 after Angus Coombs asked her to help as secretary for a little while. Dhe related that at the Village, “Everybody did everything,” so she immediately pitched in with “everything,” including cooking when the chef missed his shift. In the early days, the Kona Village, laundry was sent by air to KailuaKona. Barbara tells the story of her first laundry flight experience. Dirty laundry was loaded first in the rear of the plane, then passengers climbed into the little single engine craft. Barbara climbed up on the landing

❁Continued on page 16

Drive up scenic Hualalai Road from Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy (190). Turn Left at Mamalahoa Hwy (180), where art studios and local shops now occupy historic buildings from Hawai‘i’s past. Take a leisurely stroll through our quaint village . . .You’ll be glad you did.


Please visit Sunny & Mel Pau‘ole’s friendly art studio, next to the Pink Hotel.










JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 15

Big Island Fine Art, Gifts & Treasures

Recent photo of Kona Village Resort, showing the romantic ambience it retained from the founder’s original vision. – Photo courtesy of Kona Village Resort

❁Continued from page 15

16 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011

wheel and into the cockpit of the plane, then started to close the door. The pilot said: “Don’t close the door ‘till I tell you.” Just as the plane was lifting off the ground, the pilot said, “Close the door.” Barbara realized that closing the door at the last minute lessened the smell of riding with the dirty laundry in that little cockpit. In the early years, Barbara said, everyone had to be flexible and innovative. The book Don’t Stop the Carnival, about a similar resort in the Caribbean, described the early Kona Village closely. The wedding program, started by Barbara, now includes hundreds of couples who have started their married life at Kona Village, including the model Christie Brinkley and comedian Arte Johnson. Barbara retired from Kona Village as sales and marketing director after serving for 23 years. Both Barbara and Fred Duerr mentioned the difficult challenges, but highlighted the “fun” of working at the Village.

Johnno Jackson returned to Kona Village in 1984 after an absence of 17 years. Jackson had wanted to visit during those years, but was concerned that his Eden would no longer be the same. “On the contrary,” he said during his visit, “you’ve accomplished everything I originally set out to do.” Throughout the life of the Kona Village there has been a priority to respect and learn about the legacy of Ka’upulehu and to help include guests in the process. Kona Village grew to 125 units, still with no telephones, no TV, and an ambience unmatched in the resort world. Roads were improved and access became easier. The Village became popular with celebrities, statesmen, and others seeking its magic and its privacy. The quiet village atmosphere, the bay, the ponds, the swimming pools, the petroglyphs, and respect for the host Hawaiian culture have been factors in the success of Kona Village Resort, whether guests stayed for days or for weeks. But the most important asset of the Kona Village experience has always been the staff, many of whom have been at the Village since its early days. The staff insured that each guest became part of the Kona Village ohana. Johnno Jackson’s beloved schooner New Moon became the famous Shipwreck Bar, having blown ashore in a storm. Shipwreck Bar has survived many other storms and tsunamis over the years, including a recent destructive seismic wave. But the tsunami of March 11, 2011, caused major damage along the North and South Kona shoreline, including Kona Village. Hopefully, the Kona Village at Kahuwai Bay will return to offer its unique setting and experience to newcomer and kama’aina alike. ❖ Contact writer Pete Hendricks at

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 17

❁Continued on page 18

The finished sculpture, “Kamilo,” bears little resemblance to the assortment of trash from which it came.


reclaimed as art materials for the sculpture. The project not only made art from trash, it also educated people (most particularly the students at Parker School.) After all of the trash was cleaned and separated by color, some of the pieces were cut up and others were left in their original state. The work was all done in the art room of Parker School, which also has a lanai—crucial for the cleaning and air-drying process. All organic materials were used to clean and sterilize the plastic. Volunteer students arrived at the art room each day and were given a variety of assignments by Ms. Robson, who also had her husband along as assistant and caregiver for their young daughter, who also traveled here with the couple. The studio was open for film festival attendees and community people to visit each day of the festival before the completed sculpture was moved to the Four Seasons Hualalai for the closing ceremonies. We rarely see mounds of flotsam and debris on the shores of our island because of the way the currents flow to Hawai‘i. Most of the trash that washes up on our beaches ends up on the sparsely populated southeast coast of the island. Many people are aware of the giant plastic island floating in the North Central Pacific known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the Pacific Gyre. Last year the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund gathered mountains of plastic and other trash near Kamilo Point on the southeast coast of the Big Island. It was part of an annual clean-up effort there, because Pacific Ocean currents flow toward and converge at this point. Some of the flotsam at

The Life


ew people have the talent and the vision to literally take trash to an art form. Hawai‘i Island was fortunate to have a visitor here in January that did just that. Aurora Robson, an artist who was raised in Maui and now lives in New York City, was commissioned by the Waimea Ocean Film Festival to create a large sculpture using plastic that arrived on Kamilo Point, near South Point, from the Pacific Gyre. What was once an assortment of toothbrushes, soap bottles, fisherman’s floats, buckets, fishing nets, soda bottles, children’s toys and many other plastic items is now an intricate, multidimensional sculpture, full of color and light, called Kamilo. Aurora and the students of Parker School worked for weeks cleaning, sanitizing and sorting the plastic. It is not an easy job to remove chemical residue and all of the soil and contaminates that build up along the plastics’ voyage to land. Once this junk hits our shores, it sits in the sun, baking and becoming an eyesore that does not decompose. Through the efforts of the Hawaiian Wildlife Fund and the Waimea Ocean Film Festival, the plastic was

New York artist Aurora Robson was commissioned by the Waimea Ocean Film Festival to create a large sculpture using plastic that arrived on Hawai‘i Island from the Pacific Gyre.

18 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011

❁Continued from page 17 Kamilo Point was worthy of recycling in a variety of ways; much of it was just plain refuse, or in Hawaiian, ‘opala. Through this project mountains of plastics which are not so easily recycled all found a better and higher calling as art. Aurora has had several commissions and exhibits of her art from plastic refuse. She also has developed a keen sense as to what can be used in her work. In this situation Aurora was using more brittle plastics, which had seen lots of time in the sun and salt water. Instead of riveting her pieces together as she usually does, she had to find a solution to the delicate nature of plastics that had been exposed to the elements. For this she developed a system where she drilled through the plastic and used fishing line (also found to a great degree on Hawaiian shores) to tie it together. With heat guns she was able to manipulate some of the softer plastics into a variety of forms after carving them into smaller and more delicate pieces. Back home in New York, Ms. Robson continues to work on her art in recycled plastics. Some of her pieces fill entire rooms as installations. One, entitled “The Great Indoors,” is a 44 x 40 x 16-foot sculpture utilizing 15,000 used drinking bottles. Some of her work is illuminated with solar lights as chandeliers and a few pieces hang inside prestigious buildings around the world. Others are on a slightly smaller scale, but still quite large compared to some sculptures. Aurora works carefully to try to lure the viewer into the sculpture and away from the various brand names and shapes that plastics often define, though in this sculpture she left in a few tiny remnants of recognizable plastic: a surfer, an army man, a toy horse and a few toothbrushes. In the case of this work she was able to identify containers from Russia, China and South America and she shared this knowledge with the Parker School students who were working with her. The tides brought Robson the tools and raw materials of her art and, as an artist, she applied her

talents to creating a sculpture of amazing beauty from the plastic trash—items which would otherwise be littering the beaches of Hawai‘i. Aurora recalls her years growing up on Maui as significant inspiration to her art. She said, “I remember the natural magnificence of the Haleakala Crater, eucalyptus forests, black sand beaches and picking lilikoi off wild vines. It instilled a sense of honor in me, not just for the Hawaiian Islands, but for the e ntire planet. As ironic as it must seem when viewing her beautiful and graceful sculptures, her creativity was born out of childhood nightmares. She focuses her energies to shift negative trajectories into works of art that are positive and uplifting. It is difficult to imagine someone viewing her art without lips curling into a smile, and often the work engages people in conversation. The actual construction of this immense sculpture (which looks somewhat like a giant koi) took more than ten days to complete before its unveiling at the Four Seasons Hualailai Resort for the end of the festival celebration. The completed, hanging sculpture will go up for auction at the 2012 Waimea Ocean Film Festival. It will be on display during the festival, so feel free to come by and take a look at it in person. Big Island resident Tania Howard, the founder of the festival, has made it her goal to include art in the Waimea Ocean Film Festival in a variety of ways. The festival itself is based upon all things related to the ocean. Many of the films are about the fragile ecology of the oceans and our responsibility to care for this precious resource. Throughout the festival, Hawaiian cultural teachers help participants understand the Hawaiian reverence for the land and the sea. The west Hawaiian voyaging society, Na Kalai Wa’a Moku o Hawai‘i hosts breakfast talks and evening activities to share with participants these cultural values, knowledge about the voyaging canoes, the ancient art of wayfinding, and the old stories and culture. ❖


Parker School students participate in the meticulous cleaning and preparation of plastic parts.

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 19

You can find out more about this and other art featured as part of the Waimea Ocean Film Festival at For more information about Aurora Robson and her work go to her website:

20 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011


The Life

Mayumi Oda is dwarfed by her paintings of Poli‘ahu, snow goddess of the mountains, and Pele, fire goddess of volcanoes. These Hawaiian elemental goddess es, together, symbolize the power of snow and cold that checks destructive volcanic action and transforms new creations into fertile lands. – Photo by Marya Mann

er voice sounds like a crystal bowl ringing out a call to breathe, to pay attention, to really see, and to act wisely on what we see. Mayumi Oda stands in her Kealakekua art studio describing her massive banner painting of Poli’ahu, whose very cloaks of snow adorned the volcanic peaks of the Big Island that April morning. Pointing her arm like an arrow toward the peaks in her painting, the world-class artist, farmer, teacher, activist and educator says, “Poli’ahu is the goddess of the mountain Mauna Kea. She’s so high up so she can see through a lot of things. So beautiful.” Mayumi—whose name means “beauty” and “true bow, used for archery”—has also seen through a lot of things. Under the vaulted ceiling of the main house at Ginger Hill Farm, with her portrayals of two Hawaiian goddesses behind her, she appears tiny but mighty, like a Zen breath. In her devotion to the splendor of life, Mayumi uses the fundamentals of line, shape and space to transform herself while gifting us with visual keepsakes,

reminders of compassion, pleasure and utter reality, the unembellished truth. Her playful paintings of a bicycling goddess, an undersea Sarasvati, impish Asian divinities and sensuous Hawaiian nature scenes, festooned with protective Shinto deities, dazzle the imagination, transcending boundaries of culture, race, religion and nationality. Through the awesome grace of these bountiful and bare-breasted deities, she has been able to face the awfulness of human endeavor that veers too far off the path of non-harming. When the atom is split and transformed from a source of life to a handmaiden of radioactive death, for instance. “Earthship Green” depicts an “ultranatural” being with the Earth as her belly, an owl on her head, and a turtle and whale in the ocean below the ark she floats upon, which carries an elephant, snake and parrot among a cluster of creatures. A mantra-bearing flag and a full sail billows above it all, glistening under an observant sun. ❁Continued on page 22

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 21


“I just returned from Japan. I arrived there the day of the earthquake. I had traveled to Japan to visit a village where I had been asked to come and help create a Buddhist utopia.” – Mayumi Oda, Hawai‘i farmer, silkscreen artist and global activist

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“Earthship Green” is a limited edition silkscreen print (1996) that conveys the fertile, nurturing goddess returning to the village with her seed bag and a lighthearted crew of creatures. Mayumi is offering this print to anyone who donates $200 to INOCHI to help the Japanese relief effort. – Image courtesy of the artist

❁Continued from page 21 “See, she also has a seed bag,” says Mayumi, pointing to the pouch the goddess holds in her right hand. But the Japanese silkscreen artist doesn’t want to talk about her painting today. She doesn’t care if you know she has mounted more than 40 one-woman shows, or that one Sumi-ink-on-washing-paper painting of hers can sell for five figures in Honolulu, or that her artwork is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. The aim of Mayumi’s life has a more expansive and longrange target.

From Hiroshima to a Plutonium-Free Future

Often called “the Matisse of Japan,” Mayumi’s art extends to the geo-political arena where she also works as a global activist, participating in anti-nuclear campaigns worldwide. In 1992, she founded Plutonium Free Future to help prevent another nuclear disaster. “For ten years, I worked so hard to make the Japanese government and people aware of the dangers of nuclear reactors,” she says. “But they built them all in a row, right on an earthquake fault. It’s craziness. When our group, with many other organizations, could not succeed at convincing the Japanese government and decision-making bodies that this

“For ten years, I worked so hard to make the Japanese government and people aware of the dangers of nuclear reactors,” she says. “But they built them all in a row, right on an earthquake fault. It’s craziness. When our group, with many other organizations, could not succeed at convincing the Japanese government and decision-making bodies that this threat was dire, I retired to Hawai‘i and started to farm.”

threat was dire, I retired to Hawai‘i and started to farm.” Mayumi’s quest to create a peaceful world began as a child while hiding in a backyard Tokyo bomb shelter and breathing in the sulfurous fumes of exploding bombs while American planes flew overhead. Shivering at the news of the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima, together with her grandfather and father, a Zen scholar and teacher, she feared for her life. When she was four years old, she evacuated with her mother and brother to live in the north with their aunt and found the first real peace of her life. Her mother, an artist, taught her to draw mountains, saying to look at the mountain very carefully as she drew. After the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, she watched the painful radiation burns appear on friends and neighbors, ravishing bodies, wracking them with pain. She saw up-close how the devastating radiation poisoning led to the slow hollowing out of the irradiated soul of her beloved homeland, and because she was willing to look carefully, the not-yet famous artist learned to see in a new way.

Learning to See

The miracle of a plutonium free future is also accessible, rising up in our very backyards, manifesting at places like the visionary Ginger Hill Farm in Kealakekua. The circular form of the mandalashaped vegetable gardens reflects respect for the full circle of life that produces healthy children, clean water, safe food and homes that are protected, and far away from the nuclear industry and its bed-partner, the weapons industry. The edible gardens, meditation hall, studio and gathering center surround a bodhi tree, a descendent of the one that the Buddha sat beneath when he attained enlightenment. Another tree, a monkeypod that rises from the wrap-around deck overlooking the farm’s turmeric fields, is 80 years old. It looks like the mother tree in “Avatar.” “Manjusri” — In Japanese Buddhist tradi“We designed the tion, the perfect wisdom Boddhisattva, house around the trees usually depicted as a clever, young boy with because they’ve been a sword. This portrait borrows from the here longer than we,” flamboyant style of the turn-of-the-century says Mayumi, turning bicycle poster. The bicycle symbolizes the her eyes to glimpse the wheel of liberation and this feminine Manjusri carries a sutra, a “stitch” of wisshaded monkeypod dom on a scroll to weave clear understandbranches dripping ing. Number in Edition: 48 • Dimensions: nutritious seed pods, 29”×40” • Price: $12,000. food for animals and – Image courtesy of the artist children who like to chew on its licoriceflavored pods. The garden is divided into sections representing the four cardinal directions and each section has seven beds for a total of 28 beds. “Growing my own food is a discipline that makes me very grounded,” says Mayumi. “It’s a mental discipline to tend something every day. Try to get your own calluses — it’s so beautiful.” The men and women who practice, work the farm and study with Mayumi arise at dawn to salute the sun, giving beauty back to a world that regenerates and loves without limit.

❁Continued on page 24

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 23

“The main thing I learned at University,” she says, “was to love the freedom and boldness of Japanese design.” Her patient drawings of live models at the Tokyo University of Art, where she majored in fabric dye and design, gave Mayumi a method of knowing her mind. As she roamed the National Museum, among the screen paintings, lacquer ware, and brocaded designs from the Noh theater, she began to look beyond the traditional masterapprentice techniques of her formal study. In 1966, during the Vietnam War, she moved to New York City with her American husband, Japanese literature scholar John Nathan, met Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, and visited psychedelic light shows in a powerful process of self-discovery. When she gave birth to her first child in 1967, Mayumi began to draw as a way to define herself and her changing body, and to see the way her paintings altered the views around her. She etched strong, black female images. Fertility motifs began to appear. “It was as if a sun inside me had finally broken through the cloud,” she says. “Goddesses became my theme.” Her simple silkscreen technique, using a water-based glue and stencils, produces layering effects that invite steady lingering and deeper understanding of the actual view; the wonderful potency of her goddess visions comes from their ease and earthy transcendence. They’re both authentic, accessible and approachable.

More and More Beauty

❁Continued from page 23

Fukushima or Morokino? We Must Choose

On March 11, 2011, Mayumi Oda’s world shifted again. On the day of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that triggered tsunami waves up to 125-feet high, Mayumi Oda had just landed in Japan. “I had traveled to Japan to visit a village where I had been asked to come and help create a Buddhist utopia. This special village is in Morokino, the mythological birthplace of Shinto and Buddhism, only one hour from the wellknown cities of Osaka and Nara.” Mayumi had just arrived in Morokino—in the Nara area where, coincidentally, she had gone during her childhood evacuation—when she heard news of the devastating earthquake. The horror of radioactive leaks from Fukushima Nuclear Reactors came soon after. At Ginger Hill Farm in Kealakekua, Mayumi farms turmeric and vegetables For Mayumi and many of her clan, it felt like a flashback with students and friends. Much of this year’s bumper crop of turmeric is going to Japan, because it has been found to protect against ionizing to August 6, 1945, when the U. S. government exploded an radiation. – Photo by Marya Mann atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. “Over 100,000 people were killed instantly,” according to the Safe Energy Handbook. Three days later, another atomic blast destroyed Nagasaki, six identical and 17 very similar plants.” immediately killing 70,000 people. “Many thousands more have As heroic workers try to save stricken Japan from this latest since died from the ongoing effects of radiation poisoning.” horror of radioactive fallout, it’s wise to remember that plutonium An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million is the deadliest substance ever made by humans. A by-product people was an unwise place for 54 nuclear reactors, says Rocky of nuclear fission technology, it circulates around the globe and Mountain Institute Chief Scientist Amory Lovins. “The 1960s lands in desolate Arctic islands, on the tops of tall, New York design of five Fukushima-I reactors has the smallest safety margin buildings, on the grass meadows where Hilo cows graze, in a and probably can’t contain 90 percent of meltdowns. The U.S. has child’s milk, your neighbor’s lungs, your very blood. It’s a dangerous way to generate electricity, and the plutonium required for nuclear energy can be diverted to More than a Bookstore. . . make nuclear weapons. But there’s another way. . . . a gathering of things Hawaiian “We don’t have to keep contaminating our precious, beautiful earth with radioactivity that will remain dangerous for hundreds OOKS USIC IFTS of thousands of years,” says Mayumi.

24 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011




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The Choice for Aloha in Buddhist Utopias “My goal was to bring Japanese people to my land on the Big Island to teach them how to farm and live sustainably—with a special hope that they could then help their own friends and families in Japan during a time of disaster. That time has unfortunately arrived.” At Ginger Hill in Kona’s green belt, and possibly at Japan’s Morokino, she envisions Buddhist utopias where on-going relief efforts for earthquake and tsunami survivors can continue. Growing organic foods, in natural, contemplative living communities, will offer people healing, contentment, compassionate aloha, and the renewal of creativity. To accomplish this goal, she co-founded a non-profit group called INOCHI, which is Japanese for “life force.” They have set up a special fund to receive donations to benefit the Morokino Project and another group called United Earth, a network of Japanese and overseas contacts doing direct aid in areas affected by disasters. “These are people who have been working continuously since the Kobe earthquake in 1995,” says Mayumi. “When you give to them, you can know that your donation will actually reach the

RESOURCES: Visit Mayumi and check activities at her website: Plutonium Free Future can be found at Visit their global library of nuclear issues and alternatives to a global culture of violence. Ginger Hill Farm in Kealakekua can be reached at or by phoning 808.323.3964. The Safe Energy Handbook (internet edition) illustrated by Mayumi, can be found at I Opened the Gate, Laughing is available at

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people who need assistance on the ground.” To raise money for Morokino and United Earth, Mayumi will give anyone donating $200 or more to INOCHI a special print of the limited edition masterwork, “Earthship Green.” Looking for the connecting light between Mayumi’s lighthearted art—the Dakini sky dancers, surfing goddesses and deities riding fierce dragons—and her political mission to prevent nuclear suffering and global suicide from radiation poisoning, we discover it, like enlightenment, right in front of us. Vivacious and animated, her banner paintings of Poli’ahu and Pele, queens of ice and fire, loom above us in her studio. The snow goddess Poli’ahu, depicted with pua‘a (pig), nene, silversword and cooling water where life-giving taro sprouts, caresses us with hope. In stillness, she endures with equanimity yet she acts fearlessly to cool down the explosive fires of Pele. In one Hawaiian story, Poli’ahu uses her persuasive skills and icy blasts of wind to sweep down the mountain, calming the furious flames of Pele. While Pele’s flames are natural and necessary in creating a new earth, the lethal, suicidal, gene-modifying effects of radiation poisoning are up to no good at all. “They have entered a bit too far into the sacred space of the Creator,” says the artist of those who tamper with the “demon core” of plutonium. Like Poli’ahu, she aims to dampen the fires of radiation with her gentle-mountain skills, reminding us there is a sacred, nurturing, healing presence within all of us. Sometimes we pause to admire the beauty. At other times, we might need to coordinate a World Court Project to make nuclear weapons illegal, as Mayumi did. “As an artist, I want to bring that feeling of being a part of creation to my art. It takes your breath away and is a beautiful, comforting release to not be caught in fear,” she says. So now, when she isn’t touring to raise money for Japan relief work, she is back at work in her studio, and gardening, because, “As a farmer, one feels that we are completely part of creation, that we are just a small wave in the huge cosmos of ocean.” In Hawai‘i, she has come back to “Gaia’s secret garden to nurture myself and my children,” she writes in her book, I Opened the Gate, Laughing. “I healed. I became whole.” Now, 66 years after being bombed in Japan, she shares that healing experience with others, waking up a new generation with the power of her voice, the beauty of her vision, and the strength of her hands. Every open heart who hears the ring of truth from the woman who sees and paints goddesses can aim toward the same target: a sane, healthy, loving planet. You can help the Morokino project or United Earth. Donate now by sending checks made out to INOCHI and mail them to Mayumi Oda, Ginger Hill Farm, P.O. Box 1907, Kealakekua, HI 96750. Please specify on your donation which organization you want to support or indicate how much you would like to give for each. ❖

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The Life


connects them. Their stories give snapshots of life during that 1900 -1930 time period. Researching the chosen topic is the next step, he continues. Consult newspapers, books and websites, plus diaries, scrapbooks, letters and photo albums. Talk to others who know the person or topic. Genealogical information is available from the Hawai‘i State Archives, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Hawai‘i State Dept. of Health and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. “Research will acquaint you with things like occupational terminology,” notes Nishimoto. “Knowing a topic shows the subject you are prepared and care. It is a must.” This is particularly important for an interview with someone you don’t know well. He suggests the interviewer compile all the gathered details into a chronological timeline, plotting dates, important historical events (such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor) and personal data: when the subject was born, moved, was employed, married, had children, etc. After this preparation, it’s time to make initial contact with the subject and explain the reasons for wanting his or her story preserved. TIP: If the person is hesitant to talk or be interviewed, ask if his grandchildren know what he went through. “Always tell the subject what your topic is so they are willing and not caught off guard,” emphasizes Warren. “Let the person know that you will let him read and approve his story after you collect it and transcribe it. If he wants the use of pidgin corrected, then assure it will be done.” He adds, “It’s essential to have a good rapport with the subject. Work on building a good relationship and trust during your first meeting. Take a small gift to show respect.” TIP: Don’t use the words “interview” or “tape recorder” when making interview arrangements—it implies questions and sounds intimidating. Soften your approach by saying, “let’s chat” or “let’s talk story.” For the initial meeting, Warren says to limit questions to biographical details and jot down answers, “don’t show up with a tape recorder and keep questions simple. Keep the session no longer than an hour-and-a-half—tops. Before ending, ask if it’s okay to bring a recorder for the next meeting.” TIP: Let the subject suggest times for meetings. From the collected biographical data, make a data sheet and

❁Continued on page 28

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 27

veryone has something to say, and there’s a science to recording it for future generations. When you ask Grandpa what it was like working on the sugar plantation, you had better know how and what to ask while getting it all down the way he wants. So says Dr. Warren Nishimoto, director for the University of Hawai‘i Center for Oral History. The O’ahu native shared his experiences of collecting oral histories for his book, Talking Hawai‘i’s Story: Oral Histories of an Island People, offering tips for effectively recording the narratives of others at a workshop presented recently by the Kona Historical Society. Before the written word came to Hawai‘i—carried here by the missionaries—the history of the people was passed down, generation to generation, through oral tradition. A dying art, that same storytelling tradition may be revived by families and other organizations today and recorded or written for future generations. Warren defines oral history as taking the spoken word and turning it into a tangible thing—the written word— so it can be recalled in a different way. “Oral history is talking story about real-life experiences,” says Warren. “I know each person I meet has a story that’s worthy of telling and preserving, a set of experiences that will be of benefit to someone else. If everyone’s life experiences were preserved, just think of how much more we would know.” Recording those experiences involves more than just turning on a tape recorder and saying, “tell me your story,” he says. If you do that, you run into all kinds of trouble, like not knowing what’s being talked about—or the significance of a reply. A good oral history is a detailed process that’s built on trust between the interviewer and subject. The first step in collecting oral history is to ask yourself who you want to interview and why, according to Warren. Usually the project is a life history of someone, such as an elder family member, but it could be a collection of interviews about a certain topic, place or historical event. For example, Talking Hawai’i’s Story, featuring unique personal stories collected by Warren, tells the experiences of men and women who began their lives in Hawai‘i in the first three decades of the last century. They were from different islands and worked in different occupations, but the time element

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❁Continued from page 27

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evaluate the person’s depth of knowledge, memory retention and clarity of speech. Make a questionnaire outline for the upcoming, recorded interview. “Use the outline as a guide,” stresses Warren. “Ninety percent of oral history is listening, not asking questions. You want to exhibit a natural inquisitiveness.” TIP: Before the recorded interview, practice with your recording equipment. Warren recommends using a lavaliere microphone that is worn by the subject. It results in better quality and less background noise. Allow one to two hours for each interview session and rely on electric current, rather than batteries, if possible. “Position yourself only a few feet away from the subject,” he says. Begin the recorded interview with a short introduction identifying who is being interviewed, where and why. During the interview, phrase questions in a conversational manner to encourage well-detailed and complete responses, rather than yes or no answers. Maintain friendly eye contact and keep glances elsewhere to a minimum. Start with easy questions; avoid controversial ones. “The goal is for the subject to forget he is being interviewed,” shares Warren. “It’s not an interrogation or a survey.” He adds that interviews are usually more successful if only the interviewer and the subject are present. “Remember, it’s a simple act of two people connecting with each other and you are the guide.” TIP: A good interview question icebreaker: “What did you do to have fun as a kid?” To keep the subject from straying into non-pertinent subjects, pull him back as quickly as possible by saying, “Before we talk about that, I’d like to hear a little more about your….” TIP: Be prepared to take notes and follow up on details and unexpected avenues of discussion. Some of the best oral history interviews are ones that include subjects not planned for in the outline. These subjects often shed light on a historical topic or the subject’s life. TIP: Oral history is serendipitous. You never know for sure what you’re going to get. Nishimoto says not to inject your own bias or make value judgments about another’s life experience. “If you suspect information given to you is incorrect, don’t challenge it. It’s okay to say there are other accounts to a story,” he continues. “Collect that person’s story and later research it to establish what probably happened. Inaccurate names can be corrected later in the transcript.” When summing up the challenges of collecting stories, Warren says to remember that oral history deals with human memory and emotions. “Some people don’t think what they have to tell is special and they need to be convinced otherwise,” he explains. “The stories of everyday living have their significance because everyday living keeps changing.” He recalls how a subject, in his 80s, was grouchy. He kept questioning, “why talk to me?” Warren went to his home and the man declared, “My nephew made me do this.” The interview turned out great and the octogenarian was given the transcript. When Nishimoto later talked to the nephew, he said, “My uncle came up to me, tossed me the transcript and said, ‘This is my story, I want you to read it.’ Then I knew he was happy he did it.” After the recorded interview is done, check notes and spellings or any unclear information. Then it’s time to process and preserve the interview for future accessibility and archival

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storage. According to Warren, it takes four hours to transcribe an hour of tape and it may be worth it to hire a professional transcriber. A transcriptionist types everything heard, except for meaningless utterances or false starts. Davis, Back and MacLean’s Oral History: From Tape to Type is a guide for how to transcribe interviews. Next, compare the transcript copy to the tape and then edit for accuracy and clarity. Verify any spellings, dates, etc. Give the subject a clean copy of the transcript to review for facts and spelling and then ask for assistance in clarifying any ambiguous responses. Warren says some subjects may be concerned with their grammar or style of speech. It’s best to emphasize the importance of keeping the transcript as faithful to the tape as possible, but if the subject is unhappy with his speech and wants it corrected, his request should be honored. If your project has commercial purposes, Warren also recommends having the subject sign a legal agreement saying he understands the purpose of the project. After final corrections are made to the transcript, the oral history can be enhanced with additional materials: an introduction to the project, biographical summaries of subjects, glossary of non-English words and photos. Compile, print and bind the transcript or save on digital media. Present the subject and whoever else is intended to get one with copies of these life treasures. So others can benefit from the oral history, Warren suggests finding a repository to deposit the transcript so more people can benefit from its contents, such as a library. The University of Hawai’i’s Center for Oral History (COH) preserves the recollections of Hawai’i’s people and disseminates transcripts to researchers, students and the community. It also develops books from transcripts, such as Talking Hawai‘i’s Story. Warren says the 29 oral histories in the book were collected over a 33-year period. Most of the people whose stories are told have since passed on. He and his wife, Michi KodamaNishimoto, did the majority of the interviews. When asked if she had any tips for collecting life experiences, Michi recommends finding a commonality between the interviewer and subject. “Have a conversation so the subject can learn about you, the interviewer,” she suggests. “Encourage the subject to ask you some questions so they know you are worthy of being given their stories. It also gives you the opportunity to model how to answer complete questions. It’s a give and take.” ❖ Talking Hawai‘i’s Story-Oral Histories of an Island People can be purchased at the Kona Historical Society’s gift shop in Kealakekua. For more info, visit,

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The Life

“Early Morning Harvest” by Kay Yokoyama – a pastel study of workers picking broccoli at a Waimea truck farm


“I feel that without light, there’s no color and depending on the light, the color changes. My favorite is the early morning. The beautiful reflected light from the surroundings—I’m captivated by light because of the colors it produces.” – Kay Yokoyama

ay Yokoyama seldom seeks the limelight—which is ironic, because her paintings are all about light. A Yokoyama painting will immediately stand out, even if it’s in a wall full of other paintings. Hers is the one that seems to glow. In fact, Yokoyama might be considered one of the grand dames of Hawai‘i painting, except that she is so self-effacing. The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts has purchased three of her paintings for its permanent collection. Her works have appeared in numerous shows, both solo and collaborative. For years, she’s volunteered at East Hawai‘i Cultural Center and sat on its board, quietly helping to shape the island’s cultural scene. When Yokoyama paints a “landscape,” it’s equally a skyscape and a lightscape. In one painting, cattle graze in an upland Waimea pasture, washed in pearlescent mist. In another, a misty dawn bathes Mauna Kea—blurring the boundaries between realms until it’s difficult to see where dawn ends and mist begins, mist ends and mountain begins.

“I paint light,” she says. “That’s my main focus. I like bright light, diffuse light, reflected light, light passing through clouds and rainbows, even light through the fog....” Yokoyama finds ways to make even a sunset fresh. One painting catches a moment when the sun is just sinking behind a dark band of clouds off the Kohala Coast: the sun’s disc is mostly obscured, but rays glint, white-gold, off the top of the clouds, and form a river of light on the ocean beneath. Another painting, set in the ranchland above Waimea, catches the moment just after sunset: an immense, rosy-golden glow silhouettes the tiny figures of cattle grazing along a ridgeline. Even when she paints people, light plays a key role. Her painting of Swedish-immigrant fabric artist Ragnhild Langlet holds three key elements: the artist, the piece she’s working on, and a work lamp that illuminates both, etching the lines of Langlet’s face with sharp shadows and shining off the rich fabric under her hands. But Yokoyama’s portraits more often celebrate

❁Continued on page 32

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“Hilo’s First Light” – pastel study of Hilo Bay

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❁Continued from page 31 working-class people outdoors. One shows broccoli harvesters at a Waimea truck garden, for instance. These are not “beautiful people” in the classic sense—in fact, their heavy, protective clothing makes them look bulky and hides many of their features—but working in the misty, early-morning light, they’re imbued with a quiet beauty and dignity. “In the morning sun, the light is cool and the shadows are warm,” she remarks. “In the afternoon, the light is warm, but the shadows are cool.” Yokoyama has been perfecting her technique for decades. She typically works in pastel or watercolor on paper; her palette holds only the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. All those subtle hues in the finished works come by carefully blending those three on the paper. She achieves that signature glow partly by “glazing,” applying layer after layer of extremely thin, nearly transparent paint. “This one, I must have glazed a hundred times with very thin washes of primary colors,” she says of a ranch landscape. If you ask her about her technique, though, she’ll typically talk not about herself, but about her teachers. Her obsession with light came, she says, “after I started taking lessons from Richard Nelson, because he was always talking about luminosity—how to portray light, to create light....” Yokoyama has had many teachers and influences over the years: Kalei Lyman, Richard Crawford, Gerald Murai, John Thomas and Jerry Livingston. She’s an inveterate taker of workshops and night courses—not just in painting, but in media as diverse as pottery, calligraphy and fiber arts. Her master’s degree, however,

is not in art, but in psychiatric social work, thanks to the influence of another key figure in her life: her father. “I told my father I wanted to go to art school, and my father said, ‘Be practical,’” she recalls. Morie Yokoyama was an influential figure for more than his children. He was a leader of the island’s Japanese Kay Yokoyama in front of a set of 200-yearold Japanese panels in her home. community: – Photo by Alan D. McNarie journalist, radio personality, orator and poet. An Issei—a first-generation Japanese American—he took his family back to Japan for an extended stay when his daughter was six. “My grandparents were having their golden [wedding] anniversary,” Kay recalls. “We thought we were only going to be there for the summer, but we kept having problems. My

grandfather passed away, and my mother decided she should stay with her mother for awhile....” Her siblings fell ill with various childhood diseases, prolonging the stay even further. She was nine years old when she finally returned to her home town of Hilo. While in Japan, she attended school there and won a prefectural student art contest. The school gave her a scholarship for weekly art lessons. “The school was excellent,” she recalls. “The art teacher was an artist, and the music teacher was a musician.” Ironically, though, the art taught there “wasn’t oriental painting. It was more based on Western principles.” Back in her home town of Hilo, however, her school had no art teacher at all. “Of course, when I was growing up in Hilo, there were artists like Hitchcock and Lloyd Saxton, and I used to admire their art hung upon the walls in the library,” she remembers. “But they were not approachable. They were in their own world—famous people. You couldn’t ask them to teach you....” She still found other ways to pursue her interest. “I used to enter poster contests, like ‘Fire Prevention,’ ‘Be Kind to Animals’ and ‘Traffic Safety,’” she recalls. And she fondly remembers the encouragement of one teacher: “We had a Miss Bohnnenberg. Rebecca Bohnnenberg. She was always on the lookout for talent among the students....” Miss Bohnnenberg put Yokoyama to work repairing “Dick and Jane” primers; when an image in a book was damaged, Yokoyama would repaint it. One day, Bohnnenberg arranged with a downtown Hilo department store to literally put Yokoyama’s talent on display: the young artist painted a still life while seated in the store’s front window. And despite her father’s practical streak, she grew up surrounded by the arts. The elder Yokoyama founded a club for Japanese-language poetry in Hilo. Her mother, Chiyoko, wrote,

Contact writer Alan D. McNarie at amcnarie@

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 33

“Wind Breakers” – watercolor

taught Japanese, and was a talented koto player, who made sure her children also had lessons on the traditional Japanese instrument. Both her father and her mother directed plays. Her sister became a professional musician. Two cousins in Japan were professional artists. Other Japanese artists visited the family when they came to Hilo. It was not an easy time to grow up Japanese in Hawai‘i. When war broke out, Morie Yokoyama was not interned like many local Japanese community leaders, but he was under constant FBI surveillance. The Japanese school where Chiyoko taught had always displayed both the American and Japanese flags at its graduation ceremony; during the war years, both flags were still displayed, but the red disk that symbolized the imperial rising sun was cut out of the Japanese flag, leaving a huge round hole. Even after her father persuaded her not to pursue art as a career professionally, she found time to pursue it on the side. While working on her undergraduate degree at UH-Manoa, she also took classes at the Honolulu Academy of Art. While pursuing her master’s degree at Simmons College in Boston, she took night courses in art and took full advantage of the city’s rich cultural life. “I went down to Beacon Street and found a shop that sold Japanese wood-block prints,” she remembers. “If I’d had more money then, I’d have bought a whole lot because they had piles of them.” She and her sister, who was also in Boston, studying music at a conservatory, went to concerts together. “Those were wonderful years,” she recalls. Her love of art never died during the years when she worked as a psychiatric social worker, first at Queen’s Hospital psychiatric ward and later in Hilo. But her career as a painter really blossomed after she retired as a social worker. Now, her works appear regularly at Wishard Gallery in Waimea and at the Volcano Art Center Gallery, as well as at various East Hawai‘i Cultural Center exhibits. Her home in Hilo is one of those places where, no matter where the gaze rests, there’s something interesting: a sideboard covered with hula-themed figurines sculpted by Yokayama; a fine tea set she made herself, and, of course, paintings: not just her own, but those of others, including two abstracts by her beloved teacher, Richard Nelson. “If I’m not surrounded by books, art and music, I don’t feel whole,” she says. One senses that Kay Yokoyama is quite complete in her mastery of the art of light and of life. ❖

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Spread some



The Life

This rider is competing in the double mugging event—a team event. He rides at full speed and lassos the calf. The second team member sprints in from the fence and wrestles the calf to the ground. Only then can the rider dismount and perform the tie-down. It takes teamwork, speed, strength and precision. – Photo by Erin O’Kon


are familiar with, a six-foot-wide by six-foot-high, stone wall, thus creating the 460-acre Pa Nui, or “big pen.” The King declared the cattle kapu (off-limits) for about ten years, which allowed them just enough time to breed, break out, and begin to wreak havoc on the land. During the early 1800s, the only methods of controlling the thousands of feral cattle were to shoot or trap them. The Hawaiians chased the cattle all over the land without putting much of a dent in the wild herds. Fast forward to 1830: King Kamehameha III is the reigning sovereign. The cattle continue to be a menace to the land, stomping through gardens and uprooting native forests, but their hides and salted meat are of great value, thus proving to be a profitable, albeit unorganized, business for Hawai’i. The solution presents itself in the form of three Mexican vaqueros. In 1833, Kamehameha III, after witnessing Mexican cowboys ensnare animals with rawhide loops in California, brought the vaqueros and their horses to Hawai‘i Island to teach the Hawaiians how to manage the cattle. The vaqueros came with saddles, horsemanship, herding techniques and a lifestyle not unlike that in the islands. Hawaiians named these foreign cowboys paniolo. Because of their connection to the land, skilled craftsmanship, athleticism and grace, the Hawaiians took well to the vaquero’s teachings. Long after the vaqueros left, the paniolo continued to develop a culture and ranching practice that is unique to Hawai’i. The land always dictates the lifestyle, and the steep, rough, and densely forested terrain of Hawai‘i shaped the skills of the ❁Continued on page 36

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olks from around the world associate Hawai’i with sun, sandy beaches and surfing, but they are often unaware of the importance, impact, and prevalence of ranching on the islands. Paniolo culture, and the families that have grown up within it, is a quiet yet integral fixture to life in Hawai’i—and has been for nearly 200 years. Ranching and rodeos can be overlooked, even amongst those who live here, but anyone who’s ever attended a rodeo on Hawai‘i Island knows that they have a strong and loyal following. The paniolo are the heartbeat of our hills. So why don’t you see famous Hawaiian cowboys whoop-hollerin’ and ridin’ bulls on televised rodeos? Because they are a different breed with a unique lifestyle and a deeply ingrained set of values. In order to understand the Hawaiian rodeo culture, you must first understand paniolo culture, because one does not exist without the other. Let us rewind a couple of years: it’s 1793 and King Kamehameha the First has been gifted five longhorn cows and one bull by Captain George Vancouver. The cattle are shipped to the King’s residence in Kealakekua Bay, Hawai’i, but Captain Vancouver knows that the beach is no place for a cow. He suggests they be taken upland to a cool area where they can be free to roam and propagate. The cattle are moved to Hualalai Mountain at an elevation of about 2,200 feet where the Hawaiians build the only kind of wall they

Next generation’s rodeo riders get a roping lesson from the adults at the Annual Kona Stampede Rodeo held last April in Honaunau.

❁Continued from page 35

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paniolo. Imagine yourself in a thick ‘ohia forest on the side of a steep mountain slope; the ground, made of a‘a lava and thick grass, is tough and slippery. Now, find and rope your cattle—it is a unique skill set indeed. A paniolo, however, is more than a trainer of horses and breeder of cattle; he is a steward of the land, a protector of family, and has an acute appreciation of nature, music, and craftsmanship. Throughout the 1800s, paniolo culture grew deep roots as ranching thrived on all the islands. In addition to the Parker Ranch in Waimea, which, to this day, is one of the largest ranches in the United States, were a few other sizeable ranches spread across the island of Hawai’i. So how is it, with these ranch monopolies, that paniolo heritage continued to thrive throughout the entire island? Why didn’t the cowboys move onto the large ranches and leave the rest of the island to farm and fish? Simple, there were cattle everywhere. During the Mahele (division) of 1848, land that had never been privately owned was suddenly available for claim. Many Hawaiians ended up with pieces of land that they already worked, but they also ended up owning whatever lived on that land, which included the cattle, and they were responsible for keeping them within boundaries. Collectively, on the island, the Hawaiians owned more cattle than any of the large, foreign ranches, and they were left with the task of maintaining them, which required paniolo skills. So, when did that dirt-stomping, cattle-wrangling, spur-sporting time that we know as a rodeo come into being? The first competitive roping began in the late 19th century, but it wasn’t the super-star bull riding and paparazzi-peppered roping competition that we now recognize as rodeo. It started as good fun between families. In an industry where there are no days off, the rodeos were a venue for friendly competition between ranches and ranching families, as well as a way of showing off better breeds of horses and newly acquired and honed skills. The events of a rodeo are based on the day-to-day requirements of ranch work. Roping, tiedown, and, unique to Hawai’i, Poo Wai U, are all techniques you need to know in order to be a good cowboy. Nobody was looking for his eight seconds of fame;

❁Continued on page 39

This rodeo participant digs his heel in as he grapples a calf to the ground in the double mugging event at the Kona Annual Stampede Rodeo in Honaunau.

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there was far too much work to be done. A paniolo family has a huge obligation to the land and its people. Ku’ulani Auld of the Mahealani ranch in Kona talks about growing up “in the hills.” It’s hard work but “this land is our kuleana (responsibility). We are stewards of the land that has been in our family for many years, and it is our responsibility to care for it” so that the future generations may do the same. There exists a vast difference between the paniolo culture in Hawai’i and the rodeo culture on the mainland. In Hawai’i, the rodeo families are paniolo families; they are ranching families. On the mainland, there is often a difference between a ranching family and a competitive rodeo family. The cowboys are athletes, and their life is about going from one rodeo to another in order to compete. The rodeo is sport, and there is big money in that. Only recently has rodeo been taken seriously as a competitive sport in Hawai’i. It wasn’t much of an option until this generation, which, for many ranching families, is the sixth generation. Up until now, life consisted of taking care of the land and the animals; rodeo was a way to play. However, today’s generation is approaching rodeo differently. There is the Hawai’i High School Rodeo Association, part of a national association that makes scholarships available and instates rules, regulations and a strict code that must be upheld. For kids wanting to participate, the bar is raised. Some of them have gone to national competitions and have done very well. Because they have grown up on ranches and worked difficult land, they have strong riding skills and good technique, but they lack the experience of participating in a rodeo each weekend, an option unavailable in the isolated Hawaiian Islands. For all the competitive edge some of these kids possess, one thing is clear, competitive rodeo is not a replacement for the paniolo lifestyle; it is an addition to it, and the rodeos are a testament to that. The presence of ‘ohana and aloha can be felt from the moment you arrive at the rodeo grounds. It begins when a chuckling Auntie takes your entrance fee,

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Keiki clamber up the arena fence to gain a better view of the events at the 47th Annual Kona Stampede Rodeo in Honaunau.

❁Continued from page 37

There are numerous rodeos on Hawai‘i Island each year. Coming up this 4th of July weekend, Na’alehu hosts the oldest rodeo in Hawai’i, and Parker Ranch in Waimea hosts their annual ranch invitational and horse race. The approach to rodeo may be changing a bit, but the history and family values that have been a part of paniolo lifestyle from its beginning have not faded. The ranching community comes from humble origins, and as such, has stayed somewhat under the radar, but the rodeo is an experience not to be missed. The paniolo system of values is simple, universal, and admirable: Love the land. Love your family. Take care for the next generation.❖ This month: July 4th RODEO: Ka‘u Roping & Riding Association, Inc. puts on this annual event at the Na‘alehu Arena grounds in Ka‘u. The organization is dedicated to preserving paniolo culture in Ka‘u. It features team roping, poo wai u, and many more events. For more information call 808.929.9281. July 4th RODEO: Parker Ranch: Independence Day at the Parker Ranch is celebrated cowboy-style. Visitors can join traditional paniolo for rodeo events, including steer wrestling and double mugging, delicious food and children’s activities. Call 808.885.5669. Contact writer Ashley Welton at Photos courtesy of Tek Mapon Photo

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 39

usually only a token amount for a day of entertainment and accompanies you as you watch parents in jeans and boots attempting to corral dirt-stained and smiling kids. Auntie follows you right up to the arena fence, where competitors and supporters laugh, joke and cheer together. The rodeo, true to its roots, maintains an air of unity, encouragement, excitement and fun. The new generation of paniolo likes to compete, but the previous generations have done their job well by instilling in their children the values and traditions of the paniolo heritage. They represent their families honorably by remembering where they come from. As a Kona cowboy once said, “There is an eight-second cowboy and an eighthour cowboy!” Hawai‘i wants to ensure they stay one and the same. Today’s kids, unlike their forebears, have a choice whether or not to accept their kuleana, but they also have the opportunity to spread their culture of respect and aloha to the mainland. Whether you’re a closet cowboy or a water baby, the combination of competitive edge, family festivity, and historical significance at every rodeo makes it an exhilarating, relatable and unforgettable adventure for everyone.

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Alvin Kawamoto, a fourth-generation cowboy, os one of the few Hawaiian tree-saddle artisans. – Photo courtesy of A. Kawamoto

ew pieces of equipment are as important to a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) as his/her saddle. Just as a golfer needs good clubs and a mechanic needs good tools, so does a cowboy need a good saddle. “My dad worked for Parker Ranch and the saddle was their main tool,” explains Alvin Kawamoto, a respected saddle maker from Kohala. “They rode their horses from one place to the other, so it had to work.” The paniolo on Hawai‘i Island date back to 1833 when three vaqueros—Spanish/Mexican cowboys—arrived at Kawaihae Harbor to teach Hawaiians how to rope and herd cattle and ride mounted horses. Over the years the paniolo developed their own style of saddle making—known as the Hawaiian tree saddle—so named because cowboys went into the forest and cut the tree, which they carved into a saddle. “The Mexican model [saddle] was heavier and bulkier,” says Dr. Billy Bergin, past president of the Paniolo Preservation Society and author of Loyal to the Land: The Legendary Parker Ranch 750-1950, volumes 1 and 2. “The natural instinct of the Hawaiians was to use

lighter materials. They refined the saddle seat to make it concave, so it molded to your [butt]. “The prototype of the Hawaiian tree saddle originated in the early 1900s,” explains Bergin. “It’s changed very little in the past century. The native Hawaiians came up with a model that was hard to improve upon.” Today, Alvin Kawamoto, a fourth-generation cowboy, is one of the few Hawaiian tree-saddle makers left. Kawamoto started working at Parker Ranch during summer breaks from school when he was 14. “We were brought up on the ranch. We did our own repairs on the saddles. I learned from my dad, who learned from my grandfather (who also worked for Parker Ranch), who learned from his dad, my great grandfather.” Kawamoto recalls how his dad tried to steer him away from a career as a cowboy. “My dad worked from when he was 14 until he retired. We grew up in the age when my dad wanted us to have an education because he never had [one].” Not only did Kawamoto get an education, he went on to become an educator – spending 31 years as an elementary school teacher in Kohala. Continued on page 43

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 43


❁Continued from page 44 But Kawamoto didn’t abandon his cowboy roots. In the 1970s, he started a side business making Hawaiian tree saddles. “I got started when I was in my 20s, dressing up the saddles, putting together the patterns, and putting the saddle together,” explains Kawamoto. He went into business for himself because of the demand, primarily from other paniolo. “People kept asking me to make saddles and it spread by word of mouth.” He retired as a school teacher several years ago but is still going strong making saddles.

From Tree to Saddle

Chris Johnson 44 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011



Overall, it takes about a month to make a Hawaiian tree saddle. The basis of the saddle is comprised of four parts: the fork (front), two bars (for the left and right sides), and the seat. Kawamoto starts the saddle-making process with a trip in the woods to look for a Neneleau tree. Found in forested areas of Kohala, Paauilo, and Kona, the neneleau tree is the preferred tree of choice because of its tight grain. “Typically, you go to look at a tree for one saddle,” says Kawamoto. “You’re not there to make multiple saddles.” Kawamoto follows the Hawaiian principle of only taking what you need. “You’re looking for fallen trees. You really wouldn’t cut the nice trees. No sense cutting a nice big tree for a few parts. You look for a fallen tree and take what you need.” He points out that you Fork of the neneleau tree don’t necessarily need a – Photo courtesy of A. Kawamoto big tree either. He looks for a tree with branches that fork. Then he uses the branch to make the bars, or sides of the saddle. The only large part of the tree needed is for the seat, which is usually about 13 inches in diameter. The wood has to dry before being carved into a saddle. “If you’re in a rush and do it while the wood is still green the saddle will be heavy. If you wait until the wood dries out then the saddle is light,” explains Kawamoto. After the wood dries, the process of turning logs and branches into a saddle begins. The fork, seat, and bars are hand-hewn with a hatchet, then filed down with a rasp, a process that takes several days. The four parts of the saddle are put together with wooden dowels instead of nails. After the assembled wood is made nice and smooth it’s covered with rawhide. “All my rawhide is from my own cattle,” says Kawamoto, who has 50 head of cattle on his 140-acre ranch. He dries and salts his own hides, a process that takes two-to-three weeks. Some of the saddle processes occur at the same time. For instance, Kawamoto might be salting the hide at the same time he is waiting for the wood to dry. Applying the rawhide is a team effort. “You always need a

Above: stages of tree saddle making Right: Rawhide-covered saddle with aweawe and adjustor – Photos by Denise Laitinen

Contact writer Denise Laitinen at wahineokekai@

Blue ribbon winner – Photo courtesy of A. Kawamoto

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 45

helper when applying the rawhide,” says Kawamoto. It takes three guys nearly four hours: one person holds the saddle steady while another applies the rawhide and a third person sews the rawhide pieces together. The saddle is then left to dry for about a week. “You have to store it away from the sun, otherwise it’ll dry unevenly,” explains Kawamoto. The saddle is far from finished, though. While the rawhide saddle dries, Kawamoto starts creating the leatherwork, or as he calls it—dressing up the saddle. The trimming, cutting, and stamping of the leather, in addition to braiding the rawhide, can take up to two weeks. Each saddle maker has his own unique designs and patterns used in leatherwork. Kawamoto’s stamps use a pattern his grandfather gave him. He can look at a saddle and tell if it’s his creation just from the stamping. Using metal tools, each stamp is imprinted into the leather by hand. He alternates a variety of stamps to create patterns around the perimeter of the saddle. Rawhide is used extensively on Hawaiian Finished saddle with a tapadero stirrup tree saddles. “Mainland cowboy saddles use an – Photo by Denise Laitinen awful lot of leatherwork,” says paniolo historian Bergin. After the tanning process, leather may be a more flexible form of animal hide, but Hawaiian tree saddles use a minimal amount of leatherwork and more rawhide than their mainland counterparts. Explains Bergin: “Rawhide is less expensive and

fares well when it gets wet.” Alvin hand braids the adjustor, made of rawhide, which goes around the saddle to make sure the saddle stays tight. Early Hawaiian cowboys realized that the back of every horse is different. The rawhide adjustor allows them to precisely adjust the saddle to the back of each horse. The most distinctive feature of the Hawaiian tree saddle— and the one that identifies a Hawai‘i Island-made saddle is the aweawe. Aweawe, Hawaiian for tentacles, refers to the rawhide rigging used to keep the saddle on the horse. “The aweawe is unique to the Big Isle,” says Kawamoto. “Only people on the Big Island use aweawe. Maui has wilimokou, similar but with smaller laces than the aweawe, and Kauai doesn’t have rawhide rigging on their saddles.” It takes about three hours to wrap the aweawe and cut the laces, then another three to four hours to braid it. “I don’t do it all at once,” explains Kawamoto.” I cut it and let it dry to where I want it and then I braid it, usually the next day.” When all the stamping, rigging, and braiding are finished, the stirrups are added and the saddle is completed. Some saddles have open-toe stirrups, while others have closed-toe, leather stirrups called tapaderos. Kawamoto doesn’t recall how many saddles he’s made over the decades but he can tell you right away how many pairs of tapaderos he’s made. “I’ve made 80 pairs of tapadaros,” he says with a chuckle. “I remember because they’re hard to do. I just sold my 80th pair and I know I made a lot of saddles without tapadaros.” “It takes me four hours just to sew the outer sides [of a tapadero] together and then another four hours to sew the top leather flap on. It’s a lot of maneuvering and moving. If you drill in the wrong place—oh man, it’s a lot of work to fix. So it takes one day just to make one tapadero. Then I have to make a second one for the other leg. ” A true artisan, Kawamoto doesn’t mass-produce saddles. He custom makes one saddle at a time by order. “Since I started I’ve wanted to make a saddle that I could put somewhere to sell and so far I haven’t been able to do that. Before I can get it to a store, it’s sold. Whenever I think I’m caught up with saddle orders I get a call and start all over again.” With only a handful of Hawaiian tree saddle makers remaining, Kawamoto is well aware that his is a dying art. It’s all the more reason to keep doing what he’s doing. “As long as the demand is there I’ll keep doing it.” ❖

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The Life

These donkeys were recently relocated to a new home at Waiki‘i Ranch. – Photo by Laura Manno

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 47


ne of Hawai‘i Island’s most charming creatures— known as Kona Nightingales—played an integral role in island heritage, especially in the history and development of the island’s Kona coffee industry. These beloved donkeys bray from farm to farm at sunset, and their nickname derives from their “song.” Descendants of these hard-working beasts have been unemployed for decades. Following World War II, motor vehicles and equipment, together with surplus Army Jeeps, replaced the donkeys. Modernized vehicles took over hauling and other chores, and today you’re more likely to find ATVs— far more efficient and cost-effective than maintaining donkeys—doing the Kona Nightingale jobs on island coffee farms. As a result, these now-feral animals freely roam West Hawai‘i’s arid lava fields. It’s an environment Waimea veterinarian Brady Bergin of the Aina Hou Animal Hospital says is perfectly suited to the donkeys. “These are hardy, sure-footed animals that not only survive but thrive in these areas,” he said. “Limited forage keeps their weight in check, constant movement keeps them fit and the rocky soils keep their feet trimmed.” However, with housing and resort development in the Kona and Kohala regions, large parts of the once-isolated lava wilder-

ness are now home to residential communities, golf courses, resorts, shopping centers and even schoolyards. Many of these homes and facilities are located in direct line with the donkeys’ well-traveled foraging routes: donkey “roadways” programmed into their “hard drives” from generations of predecessors who traveled the same paths. It’s a situation, Dr. Bergin emphasizes, which is neither good for humans nor the donkeys. A recent aerial survey confirmed a feral donkey population of up to 600 in the Waikoloa region of the island alone. Dr. Bergin says, “It is a big problem. The numbers have been growing year after year, and the resources in the area (food and water for the animals) are not sustainable for a large herd such as this.” Even during a year of abundant rainfall, such as 2011, the donkeys continue to feed in the backyards of residents in Waikoloa Village, the golf course and schools, he said. Beyond damaging landscaping, frightening children and creating public health issues with waste littering the populated areas, the donkeys’ presence on neighborhood roadways and the upper highway presents serious danger to drivers and donkeys alike. In fact, the significant increase of donkeys on the move in Waikoloa prompted the posting of electronic signs warning motorists of the threat. ❁Continued on page 48

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In an effort to diminish the dangers, Dr. Bergin has recently teamed with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and rancher Stan Botielho of Waikoloa to work at keeping the island’s donkey population in check. An underlying reason for the effort, he shares, is an attempt to avoid other possible solutions such as eradication of the herd and/or its relocation to mainland sanctuary locations. A native of Hawai‘i Island, Dr. Bergin is passionate about preserving manageable herds of the Kona Nightingales here on the island. “They are part of our history and culture…literally part of the landscape of the Big Island. To lose them would be a huge loss,” he says. Inga Gibson, Hawai‘i state director of the HSUS agrees, adding, “Ideally we would like to keep the donkeys here on Hawai‘i Island by locating a property where they can be safely and humanely housed in a sanctuary-type environment. That would be the best option.” According to Dr. Bergin, their effort is not the first committed to the cause of keeping Kona Nightingales safe and at home on the Big Island. In 1995, a group was formed, headed by Fred Duerr—then general manager of the nowclosed Kona Village Resort—and worked eight years to come up with a solution to save the wild donkeys. Known as the Donkey Committee, the group’s initial plan was to create a large, fenced pasture on the mauka side of Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway across from Kona Village Resort and neighboring resort developments. That plan failed when attorneys for long-term leaseholders who controlled the land advised against it based upon liability issues. The concern was based on the consequences should donkeys escape the paddock, cross the highway and cause traffic accidents. Government agencies, contacted by the group at the time, were also reluctant to take action based on similar concerns. Without a paddock for safe keeping, one fatal accident (killing both donkey and motorist) did occur in 2003 on the highway fronting Hualalai Resort, and many other collisions with donkeys have been recorded over the years, including at least one additional fatal accident. The Donkey Committee did proceed with a secondary plan to capture and adopt out individual members of that area’s herd of about 35 donkeys to private homes. Dr. Bergin is convinced that at least a portion of that herd was re-located to mauka uplands in the Waikoloa area, contributing to the growing population of Nightingales in that region. Today, once again, a key goal for all involved in the donkey rescue effort is identifying available State lease land that could be used to maintain and sustain the wild donkeys safely in their native environment and/or finding private landowners willing to donate land on a permanent or long-term lease basis. In the meantime, with assistance from Botielho and HSUS, Dr. Bergin has been successful in trapping and castrating some 200 adult male donkeys (known as Jacks) from the Waikoloa herd over the past several months. Land provided by Botielho as a temporary staging area throughout this process has played a key role in making this possible, according to Dr. Bergin. “Without Stan’s generosity in providing the land, water and feed we would have no way to hold the animals

How You May Help

• Phone. Contact Police Dispatch at 808.935.3311, if you see a donkey on the road. • Donate to the Humane Society of the US Waikoloa Donkey Project. Donations reimburse out-of-pocket expenses of local volunteer efforts to capture, castrate and re-home the donkeys. This is a 501(c)3, a tax deductible donation.

Dr. Brady Bergin with his 10-month old adopted donkey Daisy. – Photo by FW Hendricks

Contact writer Margaret Kearns at

• Adopt. Download the form on the link below. Complete the sections that require your input, then FAX or email as indicated on form. A list of approved adopters is being compiled for on-going and future donkey adoptions. If you are able to adopt five or more donkeys, please also phone 808.937.2309 to expedite matters. • Volunteer. Yourself, your vehicles and trailers to transport donkeys from Waimea to their new homes. Email: or phone 808.937.2309. • Loan acreage. Large, well-fenced, accessible acreage near Waikoloa is very much needed to hold captured donkeys awaiting services. Your loan will be a staging area, and it will limit the number of times and the distance the donkeys must be transported. Transportation is often stressful for the donkeys, and is a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process. Donkeys in the staging areas will be transferred to their permanent new homes after sorting, castration, and veterinary review. Phone Anika at 808.937.2309 or email: • Report donkeys in and very near to Waikoloa Village – this helps greatly with tracking efforts. Email: or phone 808.937.2309. • Sign up to volunteer. Email: Volunteer services include providing local housing for veterinarians visiting the Big Island to assist with castration and care at local clinics; providing and delivering food and beverage to visiting veterinarians working in field clinics. • The Big Give. “Give me land, lots of land, under sunny skies above, but do fence me in!” (Based on lyrics by Porter/Fletcher). Donate, or provide a long-term lease on charitable terms for large acreage suitable for a Hawai’i Island donkey preserve. Experts are available now and do help potential donors with site evaluations. Phone: 808.937.2309.

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 49

for castration and provide a secure space following the procedure for recovery. The land also provides us with an option to simply release all of the animals back out into the Waikoloa area. With a secure and safe holding area, we have time, too, to get some of these castrated males adopted and relocated to new homes on private ranches island-wide,” he says. Meanwhile, the HSUS is continuing its work to bring visiting teams of equine veterinarians to the island to assist Dr. Bergin with the actual surgeries. Dr. Bergin continues to be the main force in championing the cause, however, donating his time and, until recently, paying for the anesthesia and pre-and post-op medications out of his own pocket. The HSUS is now providing some funding to help cover these costs. Other fundraising efforts have included the Waimea Art Council’s month-long art show in May of this year, hosted at Firehouse Gallery, which featured the work of many Hawai‘i Island artists, photographers and fashion designers, with all profits donated to Dr. Bergin’s donkey rescue efforts. “Since the donkeys are not under the protection or jurisdiction of any local or state public agency nor protected under federal law as endangered wildlife or native species, we currently depend solely on the assistance of non-profit humane societies, fundraisers and donations from the public,” he said. And while the Hawai‘i Island Humane Society, headed by Donna Whittaker, also has joined the effort with its offer to help with community outreach to find a solution to the situation, Dr. Bergin says a top priority is to establish a local non-profit organization dedicated completely to the preservation and protection of the donkeys. With so many people coming together to help the beloved Kona Nightingales, there’s a lot to brag about. There are many ways you may help too! For more information on groups and for more details, see the “How You May Help” sidebar accompanying this article. ❖

• Hawai’i Horse Rescue. Donations to this non-profit organization reimburse the expense of food, transportation, veterinary care as needed beyond castrations, farrier care, and myriad expenses of fostering donkeys so they may be re-homed. Also known as “CB Horse Rescue,” this operation takes in many of the rescued donkeys, including pregnant jennies, young donkeys, older jacks and other “special cases” (donkeys which need some extra care and time to find just the right home). Donate on line at the link below, or by check made payable to: CB Horse Rescue. Mailing address: P.O. Box 964, Kea‘au HI 96749. Be sure to note on the check that this donation is specifically for the care of the donkeys.

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The Life


arzan and Jane never had it so good, nor did the Swiss Family Robinson. Nestled in the branches of several old-growth ‘ohia trees and perched above a lava tube in Volcano on the Big Island of Hawai‘i is an organic, hand-crafted, luxury tree house—the realized dream of Robert and Gail van Sluis. The tree house is named Mahinui Na Lani after a Hawaiian phrase for “the beautiful sky.” It reaches up through the ‘ohia branches toward the heavens in the middle of a dense, green fern forest less than a mile from Volcanoes National Park. With an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet, this lofty setting is not your typical tropical version of Hawai’i—no white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees here. Yet in many ways, it seems closer to ancient Hawaiian history and culture than many locations on the island. Another name for the rainforest at this altitude, between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, is “cloud forest,” where the mist around you is actually clouds. Hundreds of years ago, Kilauea spewed forth lava in wild and ravishing currents. As the lava flowed over what is now a dense rainforest, bubbles and tubes

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formed and hardened. The lava flowed through these tubes, as well as over land to the ocean, creating the island mass as it continues to do today. In one of those puka (Hawaiian for hole) or lava tubes, in the middle of a fern forest, ‘ohia trees grew in just the right formation to support what is now Mahinui Na Lani. Gail and Robert came to the island in 2001 and purchased a home in Volcano, just a few blocks from where the tree house now sits. They offered the house as a vacation rental until 2009, when they could move permanently from Northern California to the Big Island. The dream for the tree house was percolating between the couple for quite a while before moving. In talking about their dream, they knew they wanted it to be an “all-green” building, even though it would take a great deal of effort and ingenuity to do so. As soon as they were settled, they began the process of actually building Mahinui Na Lani. Each had differing ideas of what the tree-house style would be, Robert opting for the 21st-century amenities and Gail


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for romantic and artistic touches. Those ideas melded together eventually when they located Roderick Romero, an architect/ builder from New York who specializes in building tree houses using 98-percent reclaimed and salvaged materials. Since 1997, Romero has designed and built structures around the world for such celebrities as Sting and his wife Trudy Styler, Val Kilmer and Donna Karan. Construction started in July of 2009 and was completed in February of 2010. As planned, Mahinui Na Lani was built with green concepts and incorporated found materials. The walls, floors and siding of the tree house are all made from heart redwood and cedar which were once part of a church on O‘ahu. The heavy beams that hold the house together came from a demolished parking structure. The house is held in the trees by an invention called a Garnier Limb. This device was created specifically for tree house construction and enables the bolts to become part of the living tree without damaging the tree itself. As the tree grows, the house actually becomes more stable and holds on even more firmly to the trees. It is a bit like the way of the cloud forest, where epiphytes (also known to us as “air plants”) in the trees grow on a host, but unlike a parasite, take no nutrients from the trees themselves. Their roots bond with the host and the symbiotic relationship continues to grow. The Garnier Limbs are held in place and connected to the house using a sophisticated system of guy wires. Eventually the Garnier Limbs become like an actual limb of the tree. The trees are allowed to move and sway in their own hula and thus the tree house does a bit of that gentle swaying in the wind as well. Each of the Garnier Limbs is designed to support as much as 30,000 pounds. Much of the construction was done by Hawai‘i Island resident and bamboo expert Bobby Grimes, along with the designer/ architect Roderick Romero. Some of the bamboo timber used on the project was golden bamboo called guadua, which came from Columbia. The black bamboo was grown and harvested in Ninole on the east side of the Big Island. The joints used in connecting the bamboo are called fish-mouth joints. Each one is custom cut to fit around the adjoining piece of bamboo. Bobby Grimes is now developing a bamboo timber farm on the north part of the island so that many kinds of bamboo timber can be sourced locally. The one-bedroom tree house has a composting toilet and an outdoor shower supplied by solar-heated rainwater. The entire

Resources For more information on the tree house, vacation rentals, wedding resources and tours offered by Gail Armand and Robert Van Sluis, please go to: For more information on Roderick Romero’s creations, go For bamboo structures and design, visit Bobby Grimes at Contact writer Devany Vickery-Davidson at

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structure is off the grid, with electrical power coming from a battery bank that is supported by solar energy and a generator. Eventually, there are plans to add a vertical wind turbine so that the generator will be used less. Mahinui Na Lani is now a vacation rental enjoyed by people from around the world. Some are newlyweds and others come just to experience the tree house. When guests arrive at the tree house, they first walk through a custom-made “moon gate.” A meandering path leads past plantings, carvings and natural growth, past an opening to the lava tube, to the ladder steps ascending to the first floor of the tree house. Suitcases are not allowed because of the steep climb up to the house and the respect for the wood floors of the structure, so items are transferred into backpacks or bags to carry up to the tree house. Once visitors reach the first landing, they begin to understand how special is the view and the feeling of being amongst the branches. On the landing, a sunken cedar hot tub, a grill and seating area offer amenities, and most of this lanai is covered for protection by an artisanal bamboo structure of beams and roof. You enter the tree house through a very old, arched Balinese door. Once inside, light floods in through windows and accentuates the beautiful, stained-glass art by local artist Seneca La Londe, installed on several windows. There is a small, practical kitchen. For warmth on those chilly Volcano nights, a Jotul propane stove from Norway serves as a fireplace and heats the room The Garnier Limb is designed for to a cozy temperatree house construction. ture. There is access to the powder room and the outdoor shower from the living space. Up the ladder and through the trap door is the bedroom where more stained glass art continues the theme of Hawaiian flora and fauna. There is a second lanai with chairs for viewing the rainforest. If you happen to be an MTV fan, the tree house was recently filmed for an episode of MTV’s show “Cribs. “❖

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The Life

Painter Sita Soesman finds plein air painting in Hawai‘I much more enjoyable than working inside a studio. – Photo by Tom McCarthy


ong-time Hawai‘i Island resident and O‘ahu native Sita Soesman is a rare talent—one of those fortunate individuals gifted equally with excellent business, marketing and sales skills, and amazing artistic talent. Mix all of that with unbridled enthusiasm, boundless energy and an uninhibited joy for life, and you have a 34-year-old woman destined for even more success than already accumulated over the past three decades. “I feel blessed to have been born and raised in these beautiful Hawaiian Islands and I honestly cannot remember a time when I wasn’t attempting to capture the essence of Hawai‘i – early on with crayons and pencils on any scrap of paper I could find and moving on eventually to paint on canvas,” Soesman says. She adds that she has a precise memory of when she first realized she could make a living doing something she absolutely loves.

“As a kid I guess I was already somewhat of an entrepreneur! The most fun I could have after school and on weekends was organizing drawing and painting workshops with groups of my friends and then displaying the work “for sale” to family and friends in exchange for make-believe money – of course we cut out and drew the currency, too!” Competition fueled her passion as well, and she freely admits to the satisfaction she felt in out-selling playmates. But at the heart of her passion for painting is her love of the islands and her desire to be out in nature as much as possible. Her favorite “studio”, in fact, is the beach, her favorite medium is oils and her favorite method of creation is plein air. “I’m confounded by the fact that plein air painting isn’t more popular, more common these days especially in environments as comfortable and beautiful as Hawai‘i. It’s more typical to find artists creating their work in studio from digital images taken of their preferred subject matter,” she says.

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❁Continued from page 55 And what of Soesman’s preferred objects? She says from the very beginning she has chosen subjects—most often her signature sea and landscapes (the inspiration behind her business name “SitaScapes”)—that “make me feel good, those beautiful places and things I want to share with others.” There was a brief period when Soesman did lay down her brushes, however, in exchange for calculators, computers and textbooks. Letting her analytical and more practical side take over, she made the decision to pursue business and marketing studies at university rather than fine arts. Now with an MBA and several years’ experience as a real estate sales assistant for a Hawai‘i Island developer, she is back to her art with a renewed passion. Perfectly positioned to meet and work with clients who have recently purchased new homes here, clients who are looking for fine island art to adorn the walls, Soesman enjoys providing some art consultation along with her sales services. Most recently, interior designers contracted to furnish model homes in luxury residential communities have discovered her work, taking her expertise to another level. “Late last year I was commissioned by a designer working on a very tight schedule to complete a model. And for the first time, I was tasked with working with very specific color palettes and themes to complete his vision for the space,” she says. “Until then I had always simply played with the colors I love, selecting subjects I love to paint. Coupled with the three week deadline for two massive paintings it was a great challenge and learning experience for me!” It’s also a challenge that has opened another door for the exhibition of her work, something she is still a bit amazed about. “When I started painting again, it was really something I did for myself. It was like sort of re-discovering a friend that had been such a big part of my life early on, of something I had loved so much for so long. It took me quite a long time—with much encouragement and support from family, friends and established artists, to actually show my work, let alone put a price tag on it!” As with many local artists starting out, Soesman started with a small booth and “studio space” at island arts and crafts shows and slowly gained the confidence to approach local restaurants and businesses about hanging her work. Borders in Kailua-Kona (closed earlier this year) was the first to give her that opportunity and featured her work in a month-long, onewoman show in 2009. That show, she says, was really the catalyst for realizing that art as full-time career was still a distinct possibility for her sometime in the future—a possibility that was bolstered when she landed an exclusive with Kohala Coast Fine Art at Waikoloa Beach Resort’s Kings’ Shops shortly after her month-long show at Borders. For now, though, Soesman makes the most of her time away from the sales office to grow her portfolio and to expand her techniques through participation in hands-on workshops in the islands. Most recently, for example, looking to add more paint, texture and depth to her canvases, she completed a class that focused on perfecting the use of a palette knife, rather than relying solely on the use of paintbrushes in her work. One of the most enlightening—and unusual—sessions, however, was a workshop with island artist and long-time friend Lori Hight, one Soesman refers to as a lesson in “topsy-turvy” style.

“Each of Lori’s bi-weekly lessons is held inside her studio and are targeted to a very specific skill. During this particular session our assignment was to create a painting upside down, a method intended to shift our focus from painting a subject to simply working freely with the inter-relationship of shapes, lighting, colors and shadows,” she says. And, according to Soesman, it worked. “I had always struggled with painting believable mountains; the complexity of colors, shading and shadows confused me. By painting the scene upside down, it tricked my brain to stop worrying about ‘painting a mountain’ and rather simply to paint colors and shadows. When I turned the painting right-side up, there it was – a nearly perfect rendition of a Napo‘opo‘o hillside!” As much as she appreciates the in-studio classes, her first love remains working outside in the tropical environment she treasures. Sadly, one of her favorite places to set up easel and stool—Kona Village Resort—is no longer accessible, having closed indefinitely following the damaging tsunami that hit the Kona coast in March of this year. “My heart sank when I first heard about the extensive damage to Kona Village. Later, when I learned it would close with no immediate plan for the re-opening, my heart broke,” she says. “For me and so many others, this was a very special place with intense mana (power) providing a strong connection to the ‘aina (land), to the kai (ocean) and to complete serenity.” Always the optimist, forever maintaining her cheerful demeanor, Soesman adds, “I have no doubt, though, that despite the damage, the land retains its unique power, charm and calming influence and all of it will be there when the area is open to all of us again.” ❖

Elizabeth Root • 808-895-1432 •

For more information, visit on line at or and 808.443.8898. Contact writer Margaret Kearns at JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 57

Soesman hangs a triptych mural painting of Kona Village Resort in a private home. – Photo by Margaret Kearns

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The company makes two varieties of ice cream. One has 18-percent butterfat and a low overrun (the amount of air mixed in during freezing). Those attributes define it as “super-premium” and it’s labeled as their Tropical Dreams brand. The other has 16-percent butterfat and a little higher overrun—considered “premium.” It’s sold to wholesalers as Hilo Homemade Ice Cream. “We don’t offer low-fat or low-sugar ice cream,” John smiles. “Low-fat ice cream is an oxymoron.” Everything is made in small batches, up to nine gallons at a time, by a staff of 10 employees. With all the attention to quality and use of local ingredients, the Hawai‘i State Department of Agriculture has endorsed Tropical Dreams with its Hawai‘i Seal of Quality. The designation identifies the state’s “cream of the crop” ag products. (For more detail, visit http://hawaii. gov/hdoa/add/soq) In an effort to lessen its carbon footprint, Tropical Dreams recently received a USDA grant to install a photovoltaic system. John says this project will produce about 90 John Edney oversees operations while percent of their energy culinary-trained Nancy creates the flavors. needs. The company has built an Appleseed Biodiesel Processor to convert used cooking oil from others into diesel fuel for ice cream delivery trucks. Tropical Dreams ships its frozen desserts to the other Hawaiian islands and the U.S. Mainland. Two companies—in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Knoxville, Tenn.—are new Tropical Dreams licensees and will be making their high-quality products at those locations. Nancy says the company recently started making Europeanstyle cultured butter. They call it Hula Cow Butter and expect it to eventually be available in stores. On Hawai‘i Island, purchase pints of Tropical Dreams Ice Cream at all KTA Superstores (except downtown Hilo), Foodland, Choice Mart, Island Gourmet Marketplace and assorted health food stores. The best place to buy it for flavor selection is at the plant at 66-1250 Lalamilo Farm Road, where half gallons are sold. Hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. ❖ Find dipping locations at store_locator.html Restaurants serving their product around the island include Merriman’s in Waimea, Café Ilmundo in Honoka‘a, Pescatore’s in Hilo, Hokulani’s in Kea‘au, Mi’s Bistro in Kealakekua, Fishhopper in Kailua-Kona, Sansei’s in Waikoloa and Kohala Coffee Mill in Hawi. For info, phone 808.885.8820.

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olks on the Big Island know they aren’t dreaming when they bite into a scoop of toasted coconut ice cream. Or tangy lemon gelato. Or refreshing white pineapple sorbet. These locally inspired treats, and many more, are the luscious, cooling temptations offered by Tropical Dreams Ice Cream. The Waimea company produces more than 50,000 gallons of ice cream and sorbets annually at its 10,000-square-foot plant at Lalamilo Farm Lots in South Kohala. Tropical Dreams uses only milk from Big Island dairies and a host of fruits and products from local farmers: apple banana, dragon and passion fruits, lychee, mango, poha and ohelo berries, lime, macadamia nuts, coffee, ginger and sea salt, all grown on Hawai’I Island. Tropical Dreams opened in 1983 to make macadamia nut butter and added ice cream to its product line in 1987. John and Nancy Edney of Hawi purchased the company in 2001. The couple makes a productive team: he oversees operations; she creates the flavors. To date, Tropical Dreams has more than 160 flavors, everything from banana nut to white chocolate ginger. “We enjoy working with farmers to create new flavors,” says Nancy, who is culinary trained and worked with Wolfgang Puck in L.A. “It’s not uncommon for someone in the community to call and ask if I can use some fruit. We try to use organic if possible.” A long-time member of the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association, Nancy says she whips up custom flavors like pepper-infused ice cream or raspberry-basil sorbet for local culinarians. She really enjoys concocting “fun” flavors for the many fundraisers the couple volunteers to scoop for. “We like to wow the crowd with a vodka grapefruit sorbet or white Russian ice cream,” she divulges. According to John, their exclusive ice cream base is custommade by Meadow Gold in Hilo. “It’s all natural ingredients,” he emphasizes. “We use real sugar, milk and cream—which is unheard of in the commercial ice cream industry.” As the milk is from our local, grass-fed cows, the base is also free of hormones and antibiotics.

Story and photos by Fern Gavelek


Saturday & Tuesday: Hawi Farmers Market, North Kohala, across from Post Office and Nakahara Store, under the banyans (Saturdays 8 a.m. – whenever everyone goes home; Tuesdays 2 – 6 p.m). Saturday: Waimea Town Market at Parker School, 65-1224 Lindsey Rd., Waimea/Kamuela. 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday: Waimea Hawaiian Homestead Farmers Market, 64759 Kahilu Rd., located at Kuhio Hale Bldg. (off of Mamalahoa

East Hwy., two miles east of Waimea town). 7 a.m. – noon Saturday: Honoka‘a Farmers Market, Mamane St., Honoka‘a, Honoka‘a Trading Co., Old Botelho Bldg. 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday & Friday: Kekela Farms Organic Farmers Market, 64-604 Mana Rd., Waimea. 100% organic. 2 – 5 p.m. Wednesday: Midweek Farmer’s Market, Anna Ranch, 65-1480 Kawaihae Rd., (nestled beneath Hoku‘ula, aka Buster Brown), Kamuela. 12:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Sunday: Laupahoehoe Farmers Market. Next to the Minit Stop on Hwy. 19. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sunday – Monday: Panaewa Hawaiian Home Lands Farmers Market, Puainako and Ohuohu Streets by Walmart, Hilo. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: Hilo Farmers Market, corner of Mamo and Kamehameha Ave., downtown Hilo. 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday: Akebono Farmers Market. Luquin’s/Akebono Theater parking lot. 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday: Maku‘u Farmers Market, Kea‘au-Pahoa bypass road. 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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Tuesday – Saturday: Kea‘au Village Market, 16-6550 Old Volcano Rd., Kea‘au. 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday: Kino‘ole Farmers Market. Kino‘ole Shopping Plaza, 1990 Kino‘ole St., Hilo, 7 a.m. – noon Saturday: SPACE Farmers Market, S.P.A.C.E. Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education, 12-247 West Pohakupele Loop, Kalapana. 8–noon. Saturday: Hilo Coffee Mill, 17995 Volcano Rd., Mountain View (on Hwy. 11 between the 12 and 13 mile marker). 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday & Wednesday: Hilo Farmers Market, corner of Mamo and Kamehameha Ave., downtown Hilo. 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Friday: Green Market, Ocean View Community Center, 92-8924 Leilani Circle, Ocean View. 2 – 6 pm. Sunday: Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, 1000 Wright Rd., Volcano Village. 6 – 9 a.m. Saturday & Wednesday: Na‘alehu Farmers Market, Ace Hardware lawn. 8 a.m. – noon


Saturday: Keauhou Farmers Market, Keauhou Shopping Center, Keauhou. 8 a.m. – noon Saturday: Waikoloa Village Farmers Market, 68-3625 Paniolo Ave., Waikoloa Community Church parking lot across from Waikoloa Elementary School. 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sunday: South Kona Green Market, Captain Cook, Kealakekua Ranch Center (behind ChoiceMart and Ace Hardware). 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Wednesday: Kings’ Shops Farmers Market, Waikoloa Beach Resort, Kohala Coast. 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Wednesday: Ho‘oulu Community Farmers Market, Royal Gardens, Keauhou Beach Resort. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday: Kona Farmers Market, corner of Ali‘i Drive and Hualalai Rd. 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

It’s Lychee Time!

What it is and what to do with it By Devany Vickery-Davidson

Stuffed Lychees

3 cups lychees 4 1/2 oz. softened cream cheese 6 tbsp. finely chopped candied ginger 1/3 cup of finely chopped toasted mac nuts 2 tbsp. port or brandy Peel and remove seeds from lychees. Mix all other ingredients and fill lychees with cheese mixture. Arrange lychees on a ti leaf-lined platter or basket.

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Lychee Martini

1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup water 1 cup drained, canned lychees (15 to 20, from a 16- to 20-oz can) 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 6 oz. (3/4 cup) vodka 1-1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur Heat sugar and water in a quart saucepan over high heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, then pour into a heatproof bowl set inside a large bowl of ice and cold water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until syrup is cold, about 3 minutes. Purée lychees with sugar syrup and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids and then discarding them. Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes and add lychee purée, vodka and Cointreau. Shake 15 seconds and strain into Martini glasses. Garnish with fresh or canned lychees.

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What are those rough red clusters of fruit that appear in Big Island farmer’s markets from June through September? They are widely known as litchi and regionally as lichi, lichee, laichi, leechee or lychee, the latter being the most commonly used in the United States. Lychees are generally sold in bunches and it is better to buy them that way for optimum freshness and flavor. The lychee has a long and illustrious history, having been praised and pictured in Chinese literature from the earliest known record in 1059 A.D. Cultivation spread over the years through neighboring areas of southeastern Asia and offshore islands. The first lychee plant brought to Hawai‘i was imported from China in 1873 by Mr. Ching Chock and planted on the property of Mr.Chun Afong at the corner of Nu‘uanu and School Streets on O‘ahu. There are many old lychee trees in Hilo that are as tall as 80-100 feet. Because of the firmness of the shell of the dried fruits, they came to be nicknamed “lychee (or litchi) nuts” by the uninitiated, and this erroneous name has led to much misunderstanding of the nature of this highly desirable fruit. It is definitely not a “nut,” and the seed is inedible. Lychees are frequently seen canned, but the canning process ruins the beautiful perfume of the fruit. For optimum enjoyment, eat them fresh. They can be made into jelly, juice, used in salads, cocktails, appetizers and— best of all—eaten out of hand as a fresh fruit.

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The Life

Kazamura Cave, in Puna, is the world’s longest lava tube, some 40 miles long.

alking through a stretch of pristine forest filled with ‘ohia, large native hapu‘u ( tree ferns) and beautiful bamboo groves is a nice hike in the Puna District of Hawai‘i Island. However, that’s not our destination today. Eventually, we approach an opening lined with short ladders, which we climb down to the entrance of Kazamura Cave. It’s the beginning of a trek into the dark depths of a lava tube. There are many lava tubes formed all over Hawai‘i Island and this is the longest and deepest lava tube known in the world. Kazamura Cave, formed some 600 years ago between the years 1410-1470, has been surveyed and runs over 40 miles in length from the Kilauea caldera down to the ocean in Hawaiian Paradise Park, while dropping over 3,600 feet. A trip covering the entire length, from the upper entrance near Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to the lowest entrance in Hawaiian Paradise Park takes two days. Such a trip includes 17 rope drops and 50km of traverse. There are more than 101 known

openings into this lava tube, and several operators offer tours of this significant cave. Harry Shick, owner and operator of Kazamura Cave Tours and author of the book Understanding Lava Tubes and Lava Caves, is our guide for this tour, which covers approximately one mile of the cave without any drops. Still such an adventure takes five hours. Hard hats, gloves and flashlights are necessary gear for exploring the pitch-dark tube. “Everyone should be wearing gloves for protection and also to make sure that there is no contact with the walls which leaves residue from our hands if unprotected,” says Harry. Lava tubes are formed as the lava flows downhill and the outside walls build up, creating a hard crust that forms and cools faster than the center, which is still hot and flowing. “In time this hard crust thickens and forms a continuous conduit that we know as a lava tube,” Harry states. “Lava tubes are very active for long periods of time and can also become enlarged by the abrasive and fluid flow which eats away at the harder crust.”

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It’s very dark inside, and we descend two sets of simple-rung staircases with no guardrails and only a flashlight illuminating the stairs. The first segment of finding our way in the dark and then climbing into a deep well into the bowels of the cave makes it a challenge to the senses. A Harry Shick, author and lava cave guide novice cave explorer, my sense of space in the dark is completely distorted and I feel the adrenaline rushing while making this quick descent into the lower levels. Once we are at the bottom, it takes a little time to adjust to the complete dark even with our small flashlights. One can immediately sense a feeling of being very small and being a minute speck compared to the time frame of this lava tube’s formation. Harry immediately focuses the light on some geologic features like lava-cicles, (lava droplets on the ceiling which are comparable to small stalactites), and many other features like lava spires, skylights, scallops, straws and lava falls. Many of these features are unique and only found in lava tubes. Fortunately for most of us starting to glaze over from the information overload, Harry pulls out his camera and shows us the amazing insects that can live in the dark caves. These include spiders, centipedes, brown moths, earwigs, grass hoppers and millipedes. He also mentions that even animals like dogs, pigs and mongooses have accidentally fallen into some of the openings. We continue traveling through the tunnel into some smoother walking areas and Harry explains how the caves were used in the ancient times by the Hawaiians. “The Hawaiians used these caves for many purposes including everyday activities like collecting water, growing food closer to the openings, storing food, using the caves for burials and even living in certain sections,” said Harry. “These caves were also used for defense from rival attacks, for hiding out and also for places of refuge where the kahuna or priest would absolve a native when they broke a kapu [everyday rules for the community to obey]. Once the kahuna absolved them of the kapu, they were allowed back into the community.” The group traverses to deeper levels and we see more unique formations like crystals, more lava-cicles and even lava tubes within lava tubes. We climb up a large ladder (over 21 feet) and then we each climb up a small lava fall with an attached rope securely tied at the top. The lava fall is a formation that drops in elevation from one lava floor into a lower level when the lava eventually starts to recede. You can actually see how the lava fall was formed, and the dribbles of lava fall into stalagmite-like formations, which are called lava dribbles. We approach many sections where the tube becomes tight and the ceiling is filled with rough surfaces and the ever-present lava-cicles. Harry warns us to scrunch down in some of the tighter sections (feeling like we’re on an adventure of going into more uncharted areas).

At one point closer to the end of our hike, we are instructed to turn off our flashlights and be silent. The sudden turn to pitch black gives a feeling of being completely lost in the dark with no way out; it’s an intense and eerie feeling. Fortunately, that small exercise was very quick and we turned on the lights for our hike back, which seemed to go faster since we were familiar with the layout. In no time we approached the first two ladders leading to the cave entrance and slowly took turns to climb back to the top. Seeing light at the opening of the tunnel was intense. After being in pitch black, it was hard adjusting to the brilliant sun. During the slow walk back through the jungle to the parking area, I had a chance to adjust to being above ground and reflect upon the immense, mysterious and magical underworld only a few feet beneath my footsteps. ❖

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Resources To find out more about the tours, check out Harry’s website at There you can also purchase his book, Understanding Lava Tubes And Lava Caves. On the island’s west side, Kula Kai Caverns offers a similar tour and educational experience in a large lava cave that is easily accessible. Guided tours are offered in easy or challenging levels. Visit or call 929-9725. Contact writer Noel Morata at

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“Love, love, love, love — love is a funny thing. Love, love, love, love — love can make you sing. Get behind this. Try a little kindness, And you’ll find, love can make you sing.”

— Bosco in “Love Can Make You Sing”


he man may be ahead of his time, but time is running short this day for Bosco as he stuffs electrical cords and mechanical contraptions into his bags. Check. Preparing for his performance at the seaside Kona Inn Shopping Village, he adds five avocados to a sack. Check. Avocados? “In case anybody in the audience wants avos. We’re so blessed with abundance,” says the 32year veteran of Hawai‘i’s music scene. At his home on a bucolic stretch of rolling hills overlooking Holualoa Bay, Bosco—“The Amazing One-Man Band,” singer, songwriter, philosopher, comic and media producer— has a lot to remember. Besides the equipment, seven instruments, and enough wire to stretch from here to Hawi, he knows hundreds of songs by heart and remembers the names of many of his fans who come to hear him play three nights a week on the boardwalk, something he’s been doing for 23 years. “If you look at my DVD cover, I’m hanging upside down,” says the man whose music, singing voice, and writing pen have breathed new life and breadth into the world of sound. The popular 1994 Hawai’i Island travel/music video, “Hangin’

Man Band is the emotional and mental connection he makes with his audience. “I try to keep a more spiritual perspective,” he says, keeping one eye on the clock to make his gig on time and one eye on the timelessness his music conveys. “The Universe is vibrating in all frequencies. It’s all vibrations, not good and bad. Sometimes they harmonize and overlap and make higher tones and harmonics. It’s all part of the flow.” He takes one last look around and heads out the door, trekking along a pathway of ginger, papaya and avocado trees to get to his car and drive to his Kona gig. The mystery of Bosco, maestro, studio musician, pied piper, and good-natured comic, defies definition. You have to watch him perform, listen to his music, and hear the bursts of spontaneous linguistic alchemy for the secrets of Bosco’s universe to be revealed.

Chairman of the Boardwalk

If not for scents of coconut oil, night-blooming cereus, and towering palm trees, you might think you’ve arrived at the French

❁Continued on page 68

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 67

with Bosco!” features the maestro’s witty songs and Chaplinesque adventures at spectacular sites around our tropical island, but it’s mostly about Bosco’s perspective, how he views a world of crazy ironies: “The Earth is spinning at 1,038 miles per hour and we’re not flying off. It just doesn’t make any sense that we’re NOT hanging on for dear life, but perhaps we should be hanging on for dear life. Then we’d take better care of it.” He sings as much in “Mother Nature’s Plea,” one of the original tunes on his first CD (1986), “Songs For You.” From the beginning, Bosco was ahead of his time. His talent calmed hearts rather than lighting them on fire, like many of the rock stars of his generation. His gift for lightening up the atmosphere stood in contrast to some of the heavy doses of cynical rap and symphonic pining of the 20th century. The blonde-headed troubadour, who enchants audiences with his lean, clean trumpet, scintillating fretwork and hilarious impersonations, jokes and witty asides, could be called a Kona institution, but Bosco is anything but institutional. He recently attended Keoki Kahumoku’s Hawaiian Music and Lifestyle Workshop in Pahala and has now added ‘ukulele to the seven instruments he plays in his “Amazing One-Man Band.” Added to the rainbow of musical delights and surprises in Bosco’s One-

Photo by Koakane Green

❁Continued from page 67



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Quarter. Strolling under a night sky, past the palace, and the shops, bars and eateries of Ali’i Drive, you hear guitar strings, the dancing beat of a colorful Latin melody that rides the gentle sea breeze right into your curious nose and responsive ears. Colorful tones and upbeat tempos enchant you toward the sound of the source. On the south end of the open-air Kona Inn Shopping Village, Bosco sits on his stool with his bare feet, literally putting his paws to the pedals which hit the metal, playing the keyboard bass line with his feet. “All aboard!” he calls, and a barreling harmonica solo begins, blowing a powerful riff. Then Bosco switches to a voice like black sand. Under the lights near the striped awning surrounded by his equipment—an instrument stand containing banjo, trumpet, mandolin, ‘ukulele and his beloved guitar—he uses all of his resources to produce the full sound of a One-Man Band. In between songs, he puts his guitar down and says into the microphone, “Let’s get serious for a minute.” He looks around for five seconds, then mutters, “Okay that’s enough,” and picks up his guitar, asking for requests. Everyone laughs. “See you, Floyd,” he waves goodbye to a regular who is heading home. Other fans arrive. A five-year-old girl runs up to the front of the audience and hugs Bosco. Everyone sighs “ohohoho” in unison. Then, he plays “Outasight.” In it, he transforms, in front of our eyes and through the sound waves into our inner ears, the English children’s song, “Three Blind Mice,” into a classic. By opening up the E-D-C melody line with dozens of new variations on the main motif, Bosco’s agile hands pay homage somehow to both classical and Hawaiian slack-key guitar. Suntanned women amble by in sarongs, their senses tickled by his friendly music. Checking out the Internet café, gem shop, art galleries and table where Bosco’s CDs and DVD are for sale, the women are joined by friends and they all sway as one to Bosco’s beat. Before they mosey along, one of them drops a $5 spot in the downstage straw hat. In a joyful whirlwind, his urgent drum and “Flaming Burritos” harmonica ends and the lilting “Green Sands Serenade” begins—a sensuous original guitar solo that’s transportational, a happiness pill without the side effects. In the tender opening he creates a low, slow, sweet mandolin mood like when you first get to the beach dripping the stress of city-life, but after you’ve had a few moments to breathe the clean ocean air, you’re suddenly transported into a squall of pleasure, sensing the natural waves of life. His chord progressions up and down the frets induce waves of remembering “Eternal Love,” the title of another one of his original compositions. Bosco’s music evokes something like “earstalgia,” memories of beloved melodies blended with all the times we have truly listened to the music of life. At hotels, restaurants and private events, he belts out “Hello, Dolly” on his trumpet, morphing into Louis Armstrong. He sings “Mr. Bojangles” with a cleaner tone than Jerry Jeff Walker, “You Are My Sunshine” sounding like Willie Nelson, and then he transmutes into the Animals lead singer Eric Burdon for one of the most lucid versions of “The House of the Rising Sun” ever recorded. Blues, rock, folk, Hawaiian, jazz, country, reggae, big band, bluegrass, Latin, and more, Bosco covers everyone’s favorite tunes in concerts and at private events. When he performs at the Kona Inn as he’s doing tonight, he blows us away with feel-good originals and creative improvisation.

The Amazing One Man Band, Bosco delivers a unique show three nights a week at the Kona Inn Shopping Village. On trumpet, banjo, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, drums and bass pedals, he performs jazz, blues, rock, classical, swing, reggae, country, big band, bluegrass, folk, Hawaiian and original music. – Photo by Koakane Green

The Power of Paradox

Musical Mystery Tour

Musical DNA entered Bosco’s blood early. He picked up his first trumpet at 8, played drums in a band at 13, added the guitar and then harmonica because he was bashful and didn’t want to sing. He started playing tambourines with his feet, one on each foot; foot-fleeted bass pedals came soon after. How many people in the world can do that? Play mandolin, ‘ukulele or banjo with their hands while blowing wind instruments and keeping their feet tapping on keyboard bass pedals for a full band sound—all at the same time.

Resources See Bosco‘s Amazing One-Man Band (and sometimes, Chama) at the Kona Inn Shopping Village most Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, 7 – 9 pm, with the exception of rain or prior commitments. For info, contact 808.322.6604. Hear and watch Bosco perform on the internet at Join Bosco’s Facebook page @ Bosco the Amazing One Man Band. Contact writer Marya Mann at

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The One-Man Band has now expanded to two. In typical Bosco paradox and musical spontaneity, Chama Cascade shows up to jam. The protégé who at the age of 10 started taking guitar lessons from Bosco, Chama plugs his cables into the amp and is now riffing on his guitar in polyphonic harmony to a piece that sounds like “Harvest Moon” but isn’t. “This is for all you heavy breathers out there,” says Bosco. He asks everyone in the audience to take two breaths in and two breaths out, rhythmically, rapidly. It’s hard, but most of the two dozen or so designated “heavy breathers” are soon cruising on the ecstasy of the natural breath. “Don’t try this at home,” he says. Before playing “Breath to the Death,” he calls out for a nurse in the audience, preferably female, to resuscitate him, sending giggles throughout the crowd. Then he plays the harmonica tune so fast you think he may really pass out. His invigorating charisma and tantalizing trumpet have appealed to thousands of people who return to Kona year after year, some of them specifically for the aloha they know they can find every Wednesday through Friday nights at the Kona Inn Shopping Village. Bosco says he wants to create a musical space for falling in love again. Check. A place where there’s no hustle and no hassle. Check. And where the only danger is to your old way of thinking about what street performance or musical entertainment really is. Check. But who is the real Bosco?

“Whoever wants to probably,” the minstrel says. “Whoever is crazy enough to try.” Right. Busking, the practice of performing in public places, has been around since antiquity, but the David Banks who became Bosco didn’t start doing street acts until he studied music therapy and film-making at Eastern New Mexico University in the 1970s. “Having an interest in the healing arts, I was amazed by how influential music was on people who had certain afflictions, like a person who couldn’t speak could sing wonderfully. A person who couldn’t walk could hear music and suddenly jump up out of a wheelchair and dance. Then the music stops, and they get all frozen up again.” Moonlighting through college led to playing in après ski lounges in Colorado, where he built his own log cabin when he was 23. During balmy weather, he journeyed from Mexico north along the Rocky Mountains and through Canada like a musical medicine show, winding up in Alaska. He also did a magical, nine-month music tour in New Zealand. “How I got to Hawai‘i was a flood, though. The flood sent a 60foot wall of water down the Big Thompson Canyon,” he says, wiping out the road to his hand-built cabin. He couldn’t get home for two years. “I was also freezing. I played the bass pedals barefooted. In Colorado, that was not so acceptable, taking off my boots and socks in the cold, so I thought I’d better go to a climate where I could be barefoot.” Landing on the island with his treasure chest of pop, country, rock, folk, jazz and original songs, he recorded his first CD in 1986 in South Point at his studio, The Rubber Room, using only solar and windmill power. His second CD, “Bosco: The Amazing One Man Band,” was recorded at a more conventional studio in 1989. His next CD will be completely produced using solar energy, he says. Recording the CDs and backup tracks for performing is a solitary pursuit, so Bosco is grateful to Uncle Billy Kimi, the owner of Kona Inn Shopping Village, for supporting his public performances, allowing him to spread the joy of music in the heart of Kailua Town for over two decades and counting. “I just wanted to play and be able to make people happy,” says Bosco. Make people happy. Check. ❖

1 1 0 2 o p x E e s r o H i i Hawa ,6 &7 th August 5




iolo Style Experience Aloha7•P23an01 808•88 www.HawaiiHorse

Sponsors Include: Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawai`i and Kuawa Self Storage of Hilo


Hilo Orchid Society Presents:

Daily Admission: $4 donation at the door Keiki 12 & Under: FREE

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*Silent Auction *Exotic Orchid Species *Exciting New Hybrids *Daily Demonstrations *Arts - Crafts - Apparel *Refreshments - Entertainment

Fri. Aug. 5th - Sun. Aug. 7th Preview Party, Aug. 4th wine tasting, beer & pupus

Edith Kanaka`ole Stadium - Hilo

For more info call: (808) 333-1852 or visit:

July-August 2011

❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖

JULY East Hawai‘i Cultural Center Gallery Exhibit Friday, July 1 Hilo Opening Reception for Elfie Wilkins-Nacht’s “Chance & Gravity” (collage, abstract painting and assemblage) and Arthur Johnsen’s “Recent Works” (oil and acrylic paintings), 5:30 p.m. Exhibits open July 2 – 27, 10a.m. – 4 p.m., except Sunday. Free. 141 Kalakaua Street. 808.961.5711 or

Summer of Jazz Saturday, July 2 Volcano Second in a series of four events, this performance features jazz/pop singer Pauline Wilson, a Hilo-native and Grammy Award-winner best known as lead vocalist for the jazz/fusion group Seawind in the 1970s and early ‘80s. Also with the Volcano Art Center Jazz Ensemble featuring Junior Choy as musical director/trumpet/vocals; Brian McCree on bass; Kyle Matsuda and Gary Washburn on piano and Bruce David and Garin Poliahu on drums. $15. Volcano Art Center, Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. 7:30 p.m. 808.967-8222 or

Ky-Mani Marley Concert

Anuenue Festival Sunday, July 3 Pahoa Anuenue means “rainbow” in Hawaiian and this event celebrates Hawai‘i’s diversity with dance, pool party, celebratory dinner and cabaret, followed by fireworks. At Kalani Oceanside Retreat, 808.965.7828.

Fourth of July Parade and Celebration Monday, July 4 Volcano Village Parade steps off 9 a.m. at the Volcano Post

July 4th Silent Auction Monday, July 4 Volcano Village Annual fundraiser at the Cooper Center on Wright Road, 9 - 11:30 a.m. Auction items may include air, sea, and land adventures; overnight stays; massage, reiki, and acupuncture sessions; admissions to area attractions; and restaurant and retail gift certificates. Proceeds benefit Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. 808.985.7373, admin@fhvnp. or

Annual Parker Ranch Rodeo Monday, July 4 Waimea Action-packed rodeo, keiki activities and delicious food when Parker Ranch paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) vie with Big Island paniolo. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Arena. 808.885-5669 or

Turtle Independence Day Monday, July 4 Kohala Coast Held purposefully every year on Independence Day, this environmental event educates people about endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles. Watch as the young honu (turtles), which have been nurtured in the ponds at The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, are given their freedom when released back into the ocean. 10:30 a.m. – noon, 808.885.6622.

Great Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race “Koloa Would Go” and 4th of July Extravaganza Monday, July 4 Waikoloa Beach Resort An all day event at Kings’ Shops starting at 10 a.m. to support United Cerebral Palsy of Hawai‘i and Big Island School programs. This fun-filled event offers live entertainment and activities for the whole family. At 3 p.m. watch the duckies catch the big wave and surf their way to the finish line. Enjoy a spectacular fireworks display 8 p.m. over the Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens.

Contact the Duckie Adoption Headquarters at 808.886.8811 or visit

Fourth of July Parade Monday, July 4 Kailua-Kona Parade starts off at 5:30 p.m. at the Kekuaokalani Gymnasium near Old Airport and commences south on Kuakini, down Palani Road, along Ali’i Drive to Walua Road, just past Coconut Grove Marketplace. 808.990.4785.

Hawaii County Band Concert Saturday, July 4 Hilo The 40-member strong Hawai‘i County Band plays a tapestry of seasonal works, Hawaiian pieces, overtures, movie themes and other selections. Mo‘oheau Park Bandstand in downtown Hilo. Free and open to the public. 7 p.m.

Ka‘u Roping & Riding Rodeo July 4 Weekend, TBA Na‘alehu Ka‘u Roping & Riding Association puts on this annual event at the Na‘alehu Arena grounds in Ka‘u. Enjoy team roping, Hawai‘i’s own po‘o wai u, and many more events. 808.929.9281.

100 Days of Aloha by the Bay! Tuesdays Hilo Hilo Hula Days, a live Hawaiian music and hula show with the Mo‘oheau Serenaders at the Mo’oheau Bandstand, 11 a.m. -1 p.m. Questions, or need an auxiliary aid? 808.935.8850.

Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi Wednesday, July 6 Ka‘upulehu, Kona Hawaii Performing Arts Festival is the first organization ever to produce complete theatrically staged operas on the Big Island. Tonight is the gala fundraiser. This 45-minute, comic romp pits an obnoxious family lusting for wealth against a wily-but-lovable con artist. $39 includes dessert buffet, 7 p.m. Antipasto bentos and cash bar available for purchase. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. 808.333.7378 or

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Saturday, July 2 Kailua-Kona Native FM and Maui Brewing Company present Ky-Mani Marley, with opening guests Ras and Queen Sparrow, at KBXtreme Entertainment Center (Kona Bowl), 75-5591 Palani Rd. Doors open 8 p.m.; show at 9 p.m. All ages. Licensed event for 21 plus. Tickets: $35 advance, $40 at the door. Available online at, at KBXtreme in Kailua-Kona and CD Wizard in Hilo.

Office and proceeds for one-half mile along Old Volcano Road to Cooper Community Center, featuring the Hawai‘i County Band, floats, antique cars, fire engines, bicycles, horses and animals in costumes! Music, games, food booths, dunking pond, craft fair and prizes follow. A fun way to meet lots of friendly folks! Call Jim Mitchell, 808.967.7209.

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Kīlauea Cultural Festival

Saturday, July 9 Volcano Held in the beautiful setting of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Kahuku unit on the western slopes of Mauna Loa, this 31st annual festival helps preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and traditional arts. Festival features Hawaiian music, hula, foods, crafts sales and demonstrations by local artists and practitioners. This year’s theme is “He ali‘i ka ‘aina; he kauwa ke kanaka-the land is the chief, man is its servant.” As servants of the land, we are its stewards.
 Our stewardship efforts help ensure the preservation of natural and cultural resources.

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Special artwork for the 2011 Kīlauea Cultural Festival by Dietrich Varez, “‘Ua‘u” (Hawaiian petrel). These seabirds gather food from the ocean and nest in burrows and in cavities in lava flows. Today, the park’s resource managers monitor their nesting habitat at around 8,000 feet elevation on Mauna Loa. The image is of ‘ua‘u soaring, a chick peering out of a nesting cavity, a leafy branch representing pukiawe that grows at higher elevations, an erupting vent, waves at the shore, a fish and a crab.

❁Continued from page 71

Kīlauea Cultural Festival

Hawaiiana Live

Saturday, July 9 Volcano Detailed in Calendar Spotlight

Wednesdays Hilo A unique 45-minute cultural tourism program onstage. Experience Hawaiian history, traditions and culture through storytelling, film, music, oli and hula. Topics change weekly as the program revolves around the Hawaiian lunar calendar. Newly restored pipe organ featured at the Palace Theater. Wednesdays 11 a.m., $5/children, free. 808.934.7010 or

Island Souls: Souls of the Big Island

        

Kahuku is on the mountain side (mauka) of Hwy. 11 between the 70- and 71-mile markers in Ka‘u. 10 a.m – 3 p.m. Free. 808.985.6166 or

July 8 – 28 Hilo The Wailoa Center presents the photography of Michael Philip Manheim, a Massachusetts photographer who captures the energy of his subjects through multiple exposures that combine spontaneously in the camera. Opening reception at the Wailoa Center, Friday, July 8, 5 – 7 p.m. Free and open to the public. Artist’s gallery talk at the Wailoa Center, Monday, July 11 at noon. 200 Piopio Street, Wailoa State Park. 808.933.0416.

Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden Tour Saturday, July 9 Captain Cook This tour gives an understanding of the role plants play in Hawaiian culture. Tour covers more than 200 species of plants that grew in the traditional farms and native forests of Kona, including endemic, indigenous and Polynesian-introduced plants. Free. 10 – 11:30 a.m. Located on Hwy. 19. 808.323.3318 or

Ellis and Alyson Saturday, July 9 Kohala Coast Hawaii Performing Arts Festival presents an evening of entertaining musical hits performed by Brad Ellis, “Brad the Pianist,” from the hit TV show “Glee,” and his wife Eydie Alyson. Tickets $25. 7:30 p.m. Fairmont Orchid Ballroom.

Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10 Hilo Detailed in Calendar Spotlight

Kalani Performing Arts Festival July 9-16 Pahoa Awaken your creative potential during classes for hula, dance, music, voice and acting. Free public performances stage faculty culminating in a student showcase at Kalani Oceanside Retreat. KPAF2 is open to beginners and pros, workshops/2011/kalani-performingarts-festival.

Sunday Walk in the Park Sunday, July 10 Volcano This new monthly program (on second Sundays) takes participants on guided walks on the trails in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Two-hour hike starts at the park’s Kīlauea Visitor Center and follows popular trails around Kīlauea Crater. 1 - 3 p.m. Hawai‘i

Volcanoes National Park. Free. To register, contact Nick Shema at 808.967.8648 or

Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” Tuesday, July 12 Hilo Hawai‘i Performing Arts Strings presents one of classical music’s great masterpieces. 7 p.m., Palace Theatre, 38 Haili Street. Tickets to be purchased through the Palace Theatre Box Office during box office hours only: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday - Friday [except holidays]. $20 advance, $25 at the door. 808.333.7378 or

Full Moon Yoga Dance Wednesday, July 13 Kealakekua New Thought Center, 7 – 9 p.m. 808.345.0050.

“L’incoronazione di Poppea” Wednesday, July 13 Kainaliu Hawaii Performing Arts presents this Venetian masterwork from 1642, which traces the machinations of the beautiful and power-hungry Poppea to become “Queen of the World.” With harpsichord and Baroque orchestra. Kahilu Theater. 7 p.m. Tickets $20. 808.333.7378 or

“Kokua Kailua” Hulihe’e Palace Concert and Village Stroll Sunday, July 17 Kailua-Kona
 Free Hawaiian music and hula featuring the Merrie Monarchs Men’s Glee Club on the palace’s lawn at 4 p.m., presented by the Daughters of Hawai‘i. This month’s event honors King Kamehameha the Great. Bring your own beach mat or chair. Before and after the concert, stroll thru Kailua Village (from 1 – 6 p.m.), enjoy outdoor cafes and restaurants, local musicians and artists,

Daifukuji Orchid Club Show Sunday, July 17 Honalo West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchid club offers attendees complimentary refreshments, plus an orchid boutonniere corsage - while they last. 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. This year’s show theme is “Orchids Small and Tall.” Elaborate displays of blooming cattleya, cymbidium, dendrobium, phalaenopsis, miltonia, vanda and more, all owned by club members. New this year is a display of a miniature orchid greenhouse. Outdoor sale of high quality orchid species and hybrids. Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall, Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, next to Teshima’s restaurant. 808.896.3900.

❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖ Volcano Art Center Poetry Slam

“Music of the Spheres”

Friday, July 22 Volcano Village “Summertime and the Living is Easy,” emceed by performance poet Kimberly Dark. Don’t miss this high-energy, audiencejudged poetry competition that’s open to up to 15 poets (on a lottery basis at 7 p.m.). With nothing but a “mic” and their powerful voices, the Island of Hawai’i’s most inspiring and emotional poets, plus spoken-word artists, recite original works. The rules: bring two poems of your own construction; each poem must be no longer than three minutes performed; and poems can be read or memorized, but no props. Poets are judged not only on the content, but also the manner of delivery and passion, behind their words. The slam genre merges the spoken word with dramatic presentation, which ranges from personal to political, poignant to comedic. Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus, 7 – 9 p.m. $8 at the door. 808.967.8222 or

Saturday, July 23 Hilo Imiloa Planetarium presents “Music of the Spheres,” featuring an evening of electronic music, 3D visuals, images by area artists and works by Michael Takemoto and Robert Wehrman, Peter Swanzy and Gary Greenberg, Jeffrey Hall, Iannis Xenakis and others. Special, very recent NASA imagery. 7:30pm, free admission , 600 ‘Imiloa Place, Hilo (, 808.969.9703.

7th Annual Building & Design Expo

Saturday, July 23 Kailua-Kona Benefit for The Food Basket – Hawai‘i Island’s Food Bank, at The Remixx (formerly Mixx Bistro), King Kamehameha Mall. Admission: Two cans or more of food or a $5 donation. Featuring the Will Play For Food bands, hula, body painting, live auction, a fantastic drawing, great food and more! 12-6 p.m.

Volcano Art Center Live Jazz Summer Series Saturday, July 23 Volcano Village Moon Brown performing on stage with the Volcano Art Center Jazz Quartet featuring Junior Choy as musical director/trumpet/ and vocals; Brian McCree on bass; Kyle Matsuda and Gary Washburn on piano and Bruce David and Garin Poliahu on drums. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $15, available at the door one hour before concert. At Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. 808.967.8222 or

❁Continued on page 74

Spotlight: Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival

Cyril Pahinui Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10 Hilo Enjoy two full days of authentic Hawaiian music—including ‘ukulele, slack key and steel guitar—and falsetto singing at this annual event. A star-studded line-up features Dennis Kamakahi, Nathan Aweau, Cyril Pahinui, Brittni Paiva, Darlene

Ahuna, Diana Aki, Ben Kaili, Sonny Lim, Benny Chong, Ku‘uipo Kumukahi and more. Many hula halau also participate at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium from noon – 6 p.m. each day. Ticket prices lowered this year to $5 advance/$10 at the door. A true community event sponsored by East Hawai‘i Cultural Center. 808.961.5711 or

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July 22-24 Keauhou, Kona Visit more than 65 exhibits featuring home design, construction and remodel ideas including home decorating, roofing and decking, flooring and window treatments, kitchen and baths, solar products and more. Located at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, the expo presents products, services and info relating to the building and improvement of homes, apartments and condos. Admission is free, Friday 5 – 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 9-3 p.m. Presented by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, 808.329.1758.

2nd Annual Will Play for Food Benefit

❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖

❁Continued from page 73 Relay For Life July 23-24 Waimea The 8th Annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Waimea begins 5 p.m. Saturday, July 23 with the Survivors Dinner. Opening ceremony at 6 p.m. followed by the first lap at 6:30 p.m. and runs through 6:30 a.m. Sunday, July 24. Silent Auction and food items for sale, educational information, entertainment. Everyone welcome. Anderson Arena, mile maker 51 on Hwy. 19 heading towards Honoka‘a. This event celebrates cancer survivors, remembers those who have lost their battle with cancer, honors those who fight back against cancer and raises vital funds needed to help find a cure for cancer. 808.895.3168 or email

Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament

74 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011

July 25 – July 29 Kailua Bay, Kona This year marks the 52nd anniversary of this storied fishing tournament, in which teams from Hawai‘i, the U.S. and around the world compete for five days to catch prized Pacific blue marlin and win the coveted HIBT’s Governor’s Trophy (no cash prizes are given). Most marlin are tagged and released to promote conservation. 808.836.3422 or

Spotlight: Photo by lek Fern Gave

Saturday, July 30 Keauhou, Kona The all-day, free family festival celebrates Hawai‘i’s delicious and diverse mango varieties during the peak of the harvest season 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Keauhou Beach Resort. Mango mania includes fruit tastings, grafting and growing

Mango Festival Saturday, July 30 Keauhou Detailed in Calendar Spotlight

Palaka Party Saturday, July 30 Kealakekua 
 The Kona Historical Society invites you to honor the lifelong community service of Ed Kaneko and Tomoe Nimori at a gala fundraising event. The Atherton Family

Mango Festival

demonstrations, plus culinary expertise. See why mango is ranked among the most widely produced and consumed fruit in the world.    Also on tap are sustainable living displays and opportunities to experience the healing arts. Enjoy a novel Eco Fashion Show and non-stop Hawaiian music and dramatic hula on the scenic, palm-fringed grounds of the Keauhou Beach Resort’s Royal Garden. Kumu Hula Keala Ching opens the festival with a traditional Hawaiian pule (prayer).

  The mango celebration is a zero waste event and presented by the non-profit Sanctuary of Mana Ke‘a Gardens with support from the Keauhou Beach Resort. The community is invited to collaborate, support and participate. Exhibitor booths are available for businesses and non-profit organizations. Volunteers are encouraged to help with festival day activities, speaker support and workshops. Event organizer Randyl Rupar, 808-334-3340.

and Cooke Family foundations will also be honored. Enjoy a champagne welcome, silent auction, dinner and live music, cocktails, and a live auction. Visit the “Palaka Party 2011” page at to preview featured auction items as they become available. Sponsors are Kealakekua Ranch Ltd. and Choicemart. Cost: $95 per individual. 5-9 p.m. 808.323.3222, ramona@ or

AUGUST 100 Days of Aloha By the Bay! Tuesdays Hilo Hilo Hula Days, a live Hawaiian music and hula show with the Mo’oheau Serenaders. At the Mo’oheau Bandstand, 11 a.m. -.1 p.m. Questions, or need an auxiliary aid? 808.935.8850.

❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖ East Hawai‘i Cultural Center Gallery Exhibit Friday, August 5 Hilo Opening Reception for Glenn M. Yamanoha’s “Sakukin” (oil/mixed media, woodblock prints) and Lonny Tomono’s “Sakuhin” (wood and metal), 5:30 p.m. Exhibits open August 6 – 24. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., except Sunday. Free. 141 Kalakaua Street. 808.961.5711 or

59th Hilo Orchid Society Show & Sale Friday-Sunday, August 5 – 7 Hilo Thousands of orchids on display and for sale in this colorful three-day extravaganza, billed as the state’s largest orchid show. Experts offer demonstrations, growing tips and more. Silent auction, arts, crafts apparel. Admission $4 at the door. Preview Party August 4 featuring wine tasting, beer and pupus at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium, Hilo. Friday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 808.333.1852 or

training and much more. Content presented during the Equine Medicine Symposium will benefit professional veterinarians as well as recreational horse owners. Presenters include California equine behaviorist Dr. Robert Miller, Colorado equine veterinarian Dr. Mark Fitch, Waimea veterinarian Dr. Brady Bergin, horseman and trainer Tommy Garland, RFD TV host Rick Lamb, “HorseThink” founder and trainer Scot Hansen and TTouch founder Linda Tellington-Jones. Proceeds benefit the Hawai‘i Humane Society’s Horse Rescue Fund. At the historic Anna Ranch. Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Symposium registration limited. Call 808.887.2301 or register at

Hawai‘i Nei Exhibit August 5 –26 Hilo The native flora and fauna from the mountains to the sea of Hawai‘i Island, including paintings, photos and sculpture of birds such as the nene and ‘io, trees like koa and ‘ohi‘a, and other species by professionals, amateurs and children. Educational programs on weekends. Wailoa Arts and Culture Center at Wailoa State Park. Free. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday noon – 4:30 p.m. 808.933.0416.

Cream of the Crop Coffee Tastin Saturday, August 6
 Kona Detailed in Calendar Spotlight

2nd Hilo Talent Contest

Hawai‘i Horse Expo 2011 August 5 –7 Waimea This educational and informational event for horse owners and lovers features presentations by various prominent equine experts on horse care, horsemanship, behavior,

Solar System Walk August 7 Waimea North Hawai‘i’s second annual Solar System Walk is a fun and educational family event.

“Cream of the Crop” Coffee Tasting

Saturday, August 6
 Ka‘upulehu, Kona The Kona Coffee Council’s annual event features select Kona coffee farms vying

Provided with your own Solar System passport, journey along Mamalahoa Highway on a path that represents a half-mile scale model of our solar system, beginning with the sun at Keck Observatory headquarters and extending to the Kuiper Belt at CanadaFrance-Hawaii Telescope headquarters. Scientists and information booths along the way present interesting images and factoids about planets, asteroids and dwarf planets. Presented by Waimea’s two astronomy research centers, the W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, this public event is free and takes place rain or shine. Refreshments. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Keck Observatory, 65-1120 Mamalahoa Hwy. 808.881.3827 or

Poster print by Stephanie Bolton

Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival Saturday, August 13 Kailua-Kona Annual event attracts aficionados of this renown tropical libation from far and wide, with bartenders competing for title of Best Mai Tai and a $10,000 cash prize. Also enjoy a farmers market, food from Big Island restaurants and live entertainment along with mai tai sampling. A fun festival! The Royal Kona Resort. 808.329.3111 or

Na Mea Hawai‘i Hula Kahiko Saturday, August 13 Volcano See traditional hula and chant performed outdoors on the hula platform overlook-

❁Continued on page 76

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 75

Trainer Tommy Garland and Spirit

Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7 Hilo East Hawai‘i Cultural Council Theater, 141 Kalakaua Street, 6 p.m. Auditions August 6, $5 and Finals August 7, $15. 808.961.5711 or


for top awards at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Admission is free. Twenty-one select Kona coffee growers have booths providing sample cups of their brewed coffee along with education about Kona Coffee growing and processing. The competition is divided into three categories: Organic, Estate and Open, which allows all growers an opportunity to participate. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite coffee in the three categories; local chefs vote for their favorite coffees as well. Finally, desserts are judged by a panel, and the results of the voting will be announced before the end of the day. Interspersed with coffee and dessert booths is live Hawaiian music and coffee-related arts demonstrated and for sale by local artists. Haku Amphitheater, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, north of the Kona International Airport. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 808.328.1666 or email jimmonk@

❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖

❁Continued from page 75 ing Kilauea Crater, featuring Hula Halau o Kou Lima Nani E with kumu hula Iwalani Kalima. Cultural demonstrations 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. 808.967.8222 or

Hawaii County Band Concert Saturday, August 13 Hilo The 40-member strong Hawai‘i County Band is an island musical treasure that performs in Hilo at noon on one Saturday

each month. The band plays a tapestry of seasonal works, Hawaiian pieces, overtures, movie themes and other selections. Mo‘oheau Park Bandstand in downtown Hilo. Free and open to the public. Noon. Visit

Kokua Kailua Sunday, August 14 Kailua Village The line up of activities includes restaurant certificate drawings, live music, shopping and dining opportunities. At 4 p.m. there is free Hawaiian music and hula on the lawn at Hulihe’e Palace. Bring your own beach

mat or chair. If you’ve yet to experience an oceanfront stroll during Kokua Kailua, then designate this day to join friends and family at this one of-a-kind open air marketplace. Kokua Kailua is sponsored by the Kailua Village Business Improvement District, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Destination Kona Coast, Kailua Village Merchants Association, Hulihe’e Palace, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The program is designed to rally support for merchants and restaurants and to remind residents to shop, dine and buy local. 1 – 6:00 p.m. along Ali‘i Drive (between Palani Road and Hualalai Road).

Establishment Day Hawaiian Festival Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 Kawaihae The annual cultural festival held at the Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historical Site, this event features a royal court procession and hula early Saturday morning and arts, crafts and cultural exhibits throughout the weekend. PNHP is located on Hwy. 270, 808.882.7218 or

Realtors’ Trade Show Thursday, August 18 Hilo Hawaii Island Board of Realtors’ Annual Hilo Tradeshow is themed “HIBR Goes Hollywood – Reach For the Stars!” Sangha Hall, 4 – 6 p.m. More info at

Rain Forest Runs Saturday, August 20 Volcano Run at the cool, 4,000-foot elevation of Volcano Village through a majestic native rainforest and the ranches near Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with beautiful views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Races include a half marathon, 10K or 5K run/ walk. Open to all ages and abilities - take part as a runner, walker, volunteer or spectator. These first-ever races are sponsored by the Volcano Art Center. 7 a.m. – Noon. $35-$75 registration fees. Cooper Center on Wright Road. 808.967.8240 or www.

2nd Annual Wiliwili Festival Saturday, August 20 Waikoloa Village Wiliwili is an endemic Hawaiian tree growing in dry forest areas and the Waikoloa


Aloha Performing Arts Company 76 | | JULY/AUGUST 2011

2011 – 12 Season* O c t o b e r

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The Diary of Anne Frank O c t o b e r

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The Rocky Horror Show D e c e m b e r

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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee February 17 – March 11



The Tempest

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J u n e


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Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. A Chorus Line

J u l y

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2011-12 SEASON

Aug. 1 Ticket sales begin for Lehua Mamo donors & "Full-Season" subscribers Aug. 15 Ticket sales begin for "Mini-season" subscribers Aug. 29 Ticket sales open to the General Public

BOX OFFICE 885-6868 M–F 9am-3pm

❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖ Village Outdoor Circle brings awareness to Waikoloa’s old-growth trees at this 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. event. Plant sale is 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the school; Hawaiian music, hula and crafts is 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Highlands Shopping Center. Enjoy keiki games, golf and music at the driving range, along with food and information booths, awards, and lots more fun. Admission free and shuttle service provided. Visit

Aloha Saturday Festival Saturday, August 20 Hilo Free Hawaiian Concert (every third Saturday) in Kalakaua Park across the street from East Hawaii Cultural Center, 141 on Kalakaua Street. Noon – 4 p.m. 808.961.5711 or

Taste of Life Benefit Saturday, August 27 Keauhou, Kona The Hawai‘i Island HIV/AIDS Foundation hosts its annual fundraising event at the Sheraton Keauhou Resort and Spa from 6 – 9 p.m. It celebrates over 20 years of caring for the Big Island and features more

than a dozen of the best local restaurants and chef talent along with wine merchants! 808.331.8177 or

Volcano Art Center Live Jazz Summer Series Saturday, August 27 Volcano Elena Welch performing on stage with the Volcano Art Center Jazz Quartet, featuring Junior Choy as musical director/trumpet/ and vocals; Brian McCree on bass; Kyle Matsuda and Gary Washburn on piano and Bruce David and Garin Poliahu on drums. Tickets $15. Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. 7:30 p.m. 808.967.8222 or

Hawai‘i Island Festival August 27 – September 25 A month-long celebration of Hawai‘i’s aloha spirit and cultural traditions. Signature events include investiture of Royal Court at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park at 10 a.m. August 27; falsetto singing/ storytelling, Miss Aloha Nui and poke contests, plus Hawaiian Elegance Brunch at the Waikoloa Beach Resort September 2 and 3; kupuna hula September 15; and

paniolo parade and ho‘olaule‘a in Waimea employees. Family-style fun includes team September 17. roping, bull riding, barrel racing and more. Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena in Waimea at noon to sunset both days. 808. 885.5669 or visit Lavaman Triathlon & Sports Festival Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, Queen Lili‘uokalani Canoe Races August 28 Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3 – 5 Keauhou, Kona Kona Coast Activities on Saturday include a Family Health, Sports and Fitness Expo, “Health Headquartered from Kailua Pier, this is the largest Grinds” Contest and sampling at Keauhou long-distance outrigger canoe race in the world, attracting dozens of canoe hālau (clubs) and male Shopping Center, plus LavaKids Youth Aquathon, Keiki Dash & Picnic at Kahalu’u and female paddlers from Hawai‘i and beyond. The event features single-hull, double-hull and Beach Park. On Sunday, the annual Lavaman Keauhou Triathlon starts 7 a.m. individual races (OC-6, OC-12, OC-1, OC-2) from The event is open to elite and age group Kailua to Hōnaunau, along with a torchlight athletes of all levels and to relay teams. parade, dance and lū‘au awards ceremony. 808.334.9481 or Entry fee applies. Awards Banquet and Beach Party at the end of the day. 877.532.8468 or Kona Style Slack Key Guitar Festival Sunday, Sept. 4 Kona Coming in SEPTEMBER Keauhou, Hawai‘i’s trademark method of tuning and playing the guitar – called “slack-key” – is showcased 37th Parker Ranch at this free music festival. Fifteen of the best Round-up Club Rodeo Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 4 slack-key artists from Hawai‘i perform. Authentic Hawaiian music – an event not to miss! Noon - 5 Waimea This exciting two-day event is held annu- p.m. Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa in ally as a fundraiser to provide scholarships Kona. 808.226.2697 or for school-age children of Parker Ranch

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Glimpses into the stories behind a few of our ads

Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge

Keauhou Veterinary Hospital

Proprietors and hosts: Brice and Lisa Ginardi


Jacob Head, DVM, and Jolene Head


rice and Lisa Ginardi, owners of Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge, always enjoyed making classic-recipe cocktails at home when entertaining friends, using fine ingredients and cocktail components. “We always make our own cocktail components (such as juices, syrups), and we use the freshest local produce and finest spirits we can find,” says Lisa. “When we’d go out, we didn’t find the same quality we had at home. Since we couldn’t open our home to the public, we basically made the lounge into our public living room—it’s a place full of our personal memorabilia and a place to entertain friends, both new and old.” People are surprised to discover the difference in cocktail ingredients, she says. “Educating the public is the hardest part, demonstrating that classic, tropical cocktails (as they were invented and as we do them) aren’t the pre-packaged, low-end concoctions that most people think of. We’re preaching the gospel of quality ingredients in tropical drinks, and showing that farm-to-table doesn’t just apply to the food on your plate, but can also apply to the drink in your glass (or tiki mug, as the case may be). We have put together a small-scale combination of green business practices, artisanal preparations and local/seasonal ingredients that we feel makes us unique.” Okolemaluna, translated from Hawaiian as “bottoms up,” is tucked away, off Ali‘i Drive, as the owners wanted to be right in Kailua-Kona, but with a more quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Located in Ali‘i Sunset Plaza (next to Coconut Marketplace), it has a bit of an ocean view and lots of free parking! “I think we appeal to three different market segments: locals who appreciate quality and look to support green/like-minded businesses, young locals looking for a new and different place to gather, and older folks who feel a sense of nostalgia about our place; they remember when tiki bars like ours still existed,” says Lisa. As a very small, mom-and-pop operation, customers can find one or both of the owners working behind the bar or in the kitchen nearly every day of the week. Prior to having their own business, Brice has worked for years as a mechanic and bartender. Lisa has worked in high-tech for 10 years and as a personal chef. Okolemaluna is located at 75-5799 Ali‘i Dr., in Ali‘i Sunset Plaza next to Lava Java & U Top It. Phone: 808.883.TIKI (8454) Website:

JULY/AUGUST 2011 | | 79

r. Jacob Head and wife Jolene bought the existing veterinary practice, Keauhou Veterinary Hospital, in 2007 with the goal of making it into a very progressive hospital, says Jolene Head. “We are the only AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited practice on the Big Island. Only 15 percent of practices in North America are accredited.” Jacob Head was born and raised on the Big Island, graduating from Konawaena High School. His parents John, a retired fireman, and Vicki Swift still own the organic coffee farm where Dr. Head was raised. He graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in microbiology and received his veterinary degree (DVM) there in 1998. Dr. Head was medical director for a veterinary hospital in Washington State prior to moving back here four years ago. With over 13 years of experience, including 8.5 years in emergency critical care at specialty hospitals in Colorado, he has extensive training in surgery and critical care. Jolene has been a veterinary nurse since 1998 and has worked in general care and emergency critical care in specialty hospitals in Colorado. Keauhou Veterinary Hospital treats primarily dogs and cats, including basic and more extensive work-ups, surgery and chemotherapy. “We have tried to bring up the level of medicine available to the animals here on the Big Island,” says Jolene. The practice takes calls 24/7 and is open six days a week: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. -5 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Jolene writes two columns, “Pet Chronicles” and “Pike’s Corner” for West Hawaii Today on Fridays. The couple has three children (two boys and a girl ages 16, 10, 4). “We enjoy being outside, running , hiking and enjoying Hawai‘i,” she says. “We are very involved in the community, sponsoring numerous events and charities. We particularly try to be involved in activities that benefit children and children’s organizations, and we offer several mentorship programs and children’s programs to the local schools.“ Dr. Head is a director for the Konawaena Foundation. Keauhou Veterinary Hospital is located at 
78-6728 Walua Road
in Keauhou. Phone: 808.322.2988 Website:

   

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Glimpses into the stories behind a few of our ads

Paradise Plants

Home and Garden Center

The knowledgeable staff of Paradise Plants: left to right Al Alvarez, assistant manager; Lesley Hill, owner/manager, and trained, experienced nurserymen/woman Shannon Austin, Ray Laub and Andy Maycen.


Phone: 808.935.4043 Email: Website:


oger Meints started his own business, Akamai Pest Solutions, in 2003 in Waikoloa, after leaving a large, national termite company. He started with termite inspections, then in 2006 decided to expand into dry wood termite treatments, using a green and organic method Roger Meints of treatment. “After experience with fumigation and all of its hazards and problems, I wanted to offer people a safer and less intrusive method of treatment,” says Meints. “Orange oil treatments accomplish that very well.” The company became the first service provider in the state of Hawai‘i for XT2000 in SanDiego, a supplier of highly-concentrated orange oil solution that is 95-percent pure d-limonene. Its Orange Oil Plus® is a naturally occurring essential oil, derived from a natural resource, the rind of citrus. Meints’ Akamai Pest Solutions eventually grew, hiring more people and opening offices in Kona, Hilo and Maui. He is now in the process of expanding to O‘ahu. With a marketing degree and a background of 20 years in retail management, customer service and working with the public, Meints has worked in the termite industry for over 13 years. He has lived in Hawai‘i for 19 years: on O‘ahu, Maui and the Big Island. “Orange oil treatment is new to Hawai‘i but has been used in California for over 15 years,” says Meints. “Anything new takes education, and since fumigation has always been the only method available for eradication of drywood termites, a new method needs to be explained and we need to build confidence and credibility.” Akamai is now one of only two companies in Hawai‘i that treat with orange oil. The natural alternative doesn’t use toxic gas so customers don’t have to move out or risk damage to their property, says Meints. “Our primary market is any customer with a drywood termite problem anywhere in Hawai‘i. Our process has been used on residential properties as well as commercial shopping centers, warehouses and condominiums. We have done work for the state and federal government, University of Hawai‘i and many others.” The business’ mailing address is RR3, Box 1471, Pahoa, HI 96778. Employees work out of home offices in Hilo, Kona, Maui and O‘ahu. Phone: Hawai‘i Island: 808.640.4499 or 808.937.7938; Maui: 808.280.4300; Oahu: 808.754.3393 Email: Websites: and

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esley Hill, owner of Paradise Plants Home and Garden Center, has worked hard over the past 30 years in business to keep up with the changes in the marketplace. Today, more than selling just tropical plants, the Hilo-based retailer has expanded to offer the homeowner a more comprehensive selection of products for home and garden. “With the big-box stores coming in, it forced us to diversify into more home goods and gifts as well as the plants,” says Hill. “We try to offer a unique collection of quality, all-wood furniture—we call it ‘Furniture for Life’—as well as home décor accessories, including great ceramic pots of all sizes. We offer a large selection of healthy plants with good advice from experienced nursery staff and everything you need to care for them.” Also included in the store’s selection are one of-a-kind gift items from around the world. Paradise Plants also ships orchids to the Mainland. The business has moved locations three times since its first location in a redwood greenhouse next to Davies Home Improvement Center on Kilauea Avenue, moving next to the old Orchids of Hawai‘i location on Hinano Street (now Big Island Candies) and then to its current location on Hwy. 11, Kanoelehua Ave. Leslie has an A.S. Degree in Agriculture from UH Hilo Community College and has lived on the island for 41 years. She and her partner also farm 150 acres of diversified crops in Wailea. Find Paradise Plants and Garden Center at 40 Wiwo‘ole Street. It’s the bright yellow building by the car dealers, facing Kanoelehua Avenue in Hilo.

Akamai Pest Solutions

Off the Grid Without a Paddle is the true story of two greenhorns, escapees from the gritty City Of Los Angeles, who buy a home off the grid in a tropical mountain rainforest in rural Hawaii, with fantasies of utopia and dreams of selfsufficiency, but no real idea of what they’re getting into. In their first year in an unfamiliar new world, the high-tech, lowtech, no-tech learning curve is steep and hilarious.

Author Lynne Farr (right) and her husband, Shingo Honda, joyfully embrace their new life. – Photo by Carlini Nunez

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r. Off The Grid, Mr. Self-Sufficiency, who built our house, had told us that he got up at dawn and went to sleep soon after dark. And now we knew why. Because he didn’t have any lights. He’d installed them in the bathrooms and kitchen, but he had to run the evil-sounding generator if he wanted them to work. We fell into a pattern of running it at sundown, just as the coqui began to sing. Each and every time, Shingo had to set up the battery charger between the generator and the battery bank. Almost always, he had to do it in the rain, but I never heard a swear-word out of him. Yes, we’ve all taught him choice obscenities, in English, Korean, Spanish, whatever – five-dollar expletives, of course. His favorite is colorfully Korean and means “You are a rat’s private parts,” but you don’t dare say it to anyone Korean unless you’d like a bloody nose. If you asked him today why he was so stoic about the ridiculous electrical set-up, he’d tell you it was because he (we) didn’t know it could be any different. “Shikatanai, cannot be helped,” was his motto. His uncomplaining acceptance of the daily battery charger/ generator insanity gave us voltage, over and above what we needed for the water pump, to turn on lights while making dinner, with enough left over to run them again while doing the dishes, and with, maybe, some left over for reading a newspaper or magazine. To read at night I’d push the inflatable bed up next to the motherin-law bathroom to shed some light on the subject, but often used a flashlight if we got low on energy. After 8:00 p.m. it was too late to run the generator again: sound carries for miles in the countryside at night. Flashlights and candles were an important part of our evening existence, and so it would have to be until we were making more power. Going around by flashlight gave us that kids-in-their-fort feeling. Carrying candles on a tray whisked us back to another century. But reading was easier in daylight. And so was everything else. As August wound down, we got up earlier and earlier in the morning and went to sleep before nine, calling each other “o baa san” and “o jii san,” “grandma” and “grandpa”; quite a switch for two Downtown denizens who used to leave for the party at ten or eleven and come home closer to three. When we were moving in together in Downtown [Los Angeles], I

heard Shingo use the word “ambivalent” for the first time. With some of his belongings at our new loft, some at his old loft, and some at my Zen Center apartment, he couldn’t find anything and couldn’t get anything done. “I ambivalent YOU,” he blurted, out of nowhere. I liked it a lot: here was a man who could express his feelings. Now, as off-grid novices, there was no time for either of us to be ambivalent. We were both too busy deciding what needed to be done next: Buy drinking water? Chop wood? Buy fire lighter? Fill the gas can for the generator? Do we need oil? Too soon for propane, right? Is there something we forgot? Our first month off the grid was bringing home how much we consumed in terms of energy. And water. And food. It made us grateful for any and all of it. “But we need more frugal,” said Shingo, using that other long-agolearned word to express our growing awareness. After a month in the country with no TV, our conversations no longer included the latest fear-mongering news from Washington, Wall Street, or the Los Angeles police blotter. They sounded more like excerpts from The Farmer’s Almanac. We talked about the weather and what it might be like tomorrow; what time the sun would be rising and setting – day length was important to us now; high and low tides; the phases of the moon; the dates of meteor showers and where it would be dark enough to see them (in the front yard if the night sky was clear). On this island of world-renowned telescopes, Shingo even tried to teach me a little astronomy: how the earth goes around the sun, and the moon goes around the earth. Or is it the other way around? Sorry, I’ll never get it. We couldn’t stop enthusing about the air, sea air, mountain air, fragrant air you could breath, so different from city smog and stench; the tastiness of locally grown fruit and vegetables and caught-thismorning fish – at Suisan, a fish store in Hilo, they put the name of the fisherman on the package. We couldn’t get over the brilliance of the moon and stars at night and in the early morning; rainbows and moon halos; the deep perfume of white ginger, suddenly in bloom; the absence of noise, except for our water pump and the **###** generator (insert five-dollar epithet of your choice). That generator, reminiscent of jackhammers under the windows of our L. A. loft, was a heart-breaker. At least when we turned it on we weren’t disturbing anyone but ourselves and a coqui frog. “Coqui, coqui.” “Coqui, coqui.” Oh, no! I just heard a coqui duet. There are two of them out there. Breeding. Off the Grid Without a Paddle is available at Kona Stories in Kailua-Kona, Studio Seven Fine Arts in Holualoa, Basically Books in Hilo, Volcano Garden Arts in Volcano, Volcano Art Center Gallery in Volcanoes National Park, and online from and

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July-August 2011