Connected to the Past: Keeping Hawaiian Traditions Alive Through Hula
“To see through the fragments of time to the full power of the original being ... that is a function of art.” —Mythologist Joseph Campbell
In Hawai`i, art has often been a powerful vehicle connecting the Hawaiian people to their past and inspiring us all through its truth-telling and beauty. This is seen in the work of the state’s painters, wood carvers, sculptors, weavers, and more. And it is particularly apparent in the songs (mele), chants (oli), and hula dances that reach deep into the soul of the Hawaiian culture, both keeping its ancient traditions alive and telling its sacred stories.
At Waikoloa Beach Resort, guests and locals alike enjoy hula performances several times a week on stages at both Queens’ MarketPlace and Kings’ Shops, as well as at weekly lū`au at Hilton Waikoloa Village and Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.
“Respect for the Hawaiian culture was hard-baked from the very beginning into everything we do,” says Scott Head, vice president resort operations. “The music, dance, arts, and crafts of Hawai`i are celebrated year-round throughout the resort. That directive came early on directly from our visionary devel- oper, Ron Boeddeker, and it is gladly adhered to today by every Waikoloa employee.”
On a broader scale, hula is celebrated throughout the islands, and in particular at the annual Merrie Monarch Festival held in Hilo (April 5 - 7, 2018).
Manaola halau performing a hula kahiko at Merrie Monarch Festival in 2016. Photo courtesy of Merrie Monarch Festival.
Hula to the World
Nani Lim-Yap is one of Hawai`i’s foremost practitioners of traditional dance, both as a dancer and as a kumu hula (master instructor). Though she has performed at Waikoloa Beach Resort on occasion, it is with the troupe she co-led with her sister Leialoha, Halau Na Lei O Kaholoku, that Nani is perhaps most well known. The halau won multiple awards at the Merrie Monarch Festival over the years, and along with her illustrious and talented family — including her well-known siblings Sonny Lim and Lorna Lim — she performs around the world, bringing Hawaiian hula, chant, and song to enchanted audiences eager for a taste of the islands.
“We are keeping the traditions of our kūpuna (respected elders and ancestors) and their stories alive in our time,” she says. “That keeps us connected to the things that they held sacred. In our time, it is very important for us to keep the sacred things sacred.”
Lim-Yap specializes in the ancient style of hula known as hula kahiko. Unlike other forms of hula that are accompanied by modern instruments such as a guitar, `ukulele, or double bass, the hula kahiko is most often accompanied by only a chant and a drum.
“We dance to our language,” she says. “Through the dance, the stories of our kūpuna are being told. As dancers we must be committed to telling those stories.” In that way, the chants are an equally important part of telling the story, just as they are an important part of life in all of traditional Hawai`i.
“We are taught a traditional chant before we begin a class,” Nani says. “There is a chant to enter the room; a chant to put on the skirt. That’s where the power comes from. That is where the mana comes from. We need to prepare our minds about why we came to halau. I always remember that.”
At this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival, Nani’s current halau, Manaola — formed in 2016 and named after her son — will be performing what for them will be a more modern story. It is based on the legacy of Queen Kapi‘olani (1834 – 1899) who was known for her philanthropy and deep commitment to the health, education, and well-being of the Hawaiian people in a time when huge social and cultural changes were sweeping over the islands.
“We go to Merrie Monarch to tell stories that have never been told before,” Nani says. “This year we will be telling the story of Kapi‘olani’s e orts to bring forth and preserve the Hawaiian race.”
Though the tale may be more modern than ancient, the ties to the past remains the same.
“The message is that we are connected to our kūpuna through time and space,” Nani says. “They were a special people and as dancers we must nd that connection.”
For Nani and the Lim family, the past is a family thing. Descendants of Alapa‘inui — one of the ruling chiefs of Hawai`i Island in the 1750s and uncle to Kamehameha the Great — both her father and her mother were talented musicians who would play music to entertain the family in their remote Parker Ranch home. They would also often perform at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, and as soon as they were old enough, their kids, including Sonny, Lorna, and Nani, began performing with them.
Nowadays, a third generation of the Lim- Yap family is coming of age and, following in the tradition of their forbearers, telling the sacred stories of their ancient people. Just as it should be.
Amer Ari Invitational
The 27th annual Amer Ari Intercollegiate Golf Tournament was contested over the Waikoloa Kings’ Course In early February, with Oklahoma State emerging as the champion in decisive fashion. The Cowboys took the lead on the second day of play and never relinquished it, propelled by the strong play of Viktor Hovland (-12), Matthew Wolff (-12), and Hayden Wood (-11). Texas Tech finished second, and the USC Trojans came in third. The individual champion was Justin Suh of USC (-13), who bested Hovland and Wolff by a single stroke. “It was an awesome tournament, with some truly great players and fantastic weather,” said Kevin Ginoza, head golf professional at Waikoloa. “We’re so happy to have some of the best collegiate teams in the nation coming out to Waikoloa Beach Resort every year.”
Lions and Taiko drums helped welcome the Chinese “Year of the Dog” at the exciting “Asian Fest” at Queens’ MarketPlace on Friday, February 2. The event was marked by the high energy of vibrant Lion Dancers and driving rhythms of drums from around the world. And as they do every year, revelers had their lycee (red envelope) ready with “lettuce” to feed the Lion and ensure good health and fortune in 2018. More than Chinese New Year, Asian Fest brought together the fun and fascinating Far East traditions that came to Hawai`i and are still inspiring residents and visitors from everywhere.
Mr. Fantasy Resort
Christopher Bagwell Hemmeter, 1939-2003
Christopher B. Hemmeter was one of the Aloha State’s most charismatic hotel developers in the 1970s and 1980s, and his influence is perhaps nowhere more evident than at Waikoloa Beach Resort.
It was here that one of his loftiest dreams took shape: the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa. Nowadays operated as Hilton Waikoloa Village, when the sprawling 1,240-room resort opened in September 1988, it was the largest and — built at a cost of $360 million — the most expensive hotel ever built in the islands.
But Hemmeter, who passed away in 2003, was never one to think small. When you spoke with him — whether you were a bank executive considering funding one of his massive projects or a journalist writing a story — you’d listen to his vision and soon come to believe that what he was describing was not only possible, but the best thing ever. It was his gift to dream big and make you dream big right alongside him.
A resort, he said in 1990, “must create a sense of experience. People want more than a room and a bed. Today’s traveler is looking for revival, for newness, for the unexpected. The impact must be greater than the sum of the many parts.”
At Waikoloa, the “experience” Hemmeter sought to impart was created with a combination of art, elegance, and downright fun. Originally sketched on a cocktail napkin, plans included a lagoon where guests could swim with dolphins, a Disneyland-style monorail, boats traveling on a waterway to transport awe-struck guests to their rooms, a crashing waterfall under which one could walk, multiple swimming pools, public spaces filled with Polynesian and Asian art, and themed restaurants with authentic Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and other cuisines of the world.
Opening day dignitaries included “Hawaii” author James Michener, singers Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, and business and social elites from around the state. It was one of 1988’s most lavish events.
“My dad was a dreamer,” says Hemmeter’s son, Christopher R. Hemmeter, who was given the task of procuring the art collection for the hotels. “I was just out of school, and my dad had this idea; he had seen some Chinese Imperial art when he was on a trip, and he wanted me to go to Asia to collect and commission works we could display around the resorts.”
From the artisans of Bali to the bronze foundries of Bangkok to the marble quarries of Yang Ping — a small village near the Mongolian border where green, black, rose, and white marble has been carved for more than 2000 years — the Hemmeters traveled, often negotiating prices with sign language.
“The scale of the art was often so big,” the younger Hemmeter recalls, “that it sometimes took a while to get our point across. The Chinese horses and carriage down by the meeting rooms at the Hilton, for example, is an oversized replica of a small sculpture my dad had seen. Can you imagine what it took to not only create that piece, but to transport it from Asia to Hawai`i?”
“He totally revolutionized the hotel industry here in Hawai`i,” said Larry Johnson, retired chief executive of the Bank of Hawaii, upon Hemmeter’s passing. “Until he started to build them, hotels were pretty generic — the rooms and lobbies all kind of looked alike. But he had waterfalls and birds and animals and unusual art. Coming to one of Hemmeter’s hotels, you didn’t just get a hotel but an experience.”
Some critics complained that although guests got an experience, it wasn’t an authentic Hawaiian experience. Jerry Hulse, then editor of the L.A. Times travel section, famously compared the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa to Disneyland. “What we have here is another Anaheim,” he wrote in 1990. “All that’s missing is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, a paddle wheeler and the Matterhorn.”
Hemmeter, undeterred by such criticism, would always reply, “And look how successful Disneyland is.”
He would also frequently point to the flamingo pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikīkī Beach. “That also caused quite a stir when it first opened,” he’d say. “Critics said it wasn’t Hawaiian enough, and now it’s the iconic hotel in Waikīkī.”
Hemmeter left Hawai`i in 1990 to pursue development projects on the mainland, ultimately losing much of his wealth on a failed attempt to build a supersize casino in New Orleans.
In Hawai`i, though — having built the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī, the Hyatt Regency Maui, the Westin Maui, Kauai Lagoons, and the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa — his legacy stands as a visionary who contributed greatly to the tourism industry in the state. His resorts created thousands of jobs for the local communities, attracted affluent Japanese tourists, and helped fuel an economic boom in the islands.
As today’s guests of Hilton Waikoloa Village can attest, they are dramatic, magnificent structures that have all stood the test of time. When asked once about the largerthan- life scale of his dreams, he boasted, “Julius Caesar never saw anything like it.”
News: The Gathering Place of the Kohala Coast
In December, a new coffee table book on Waikoloa Beach Resort, “THE GATHERING PLACE of the Kohala Coast,” was published. In thoroughly researched text and artful photography, the book details the history of the land on which the resort is built from its earliest days and follows the vision and development of the property through the present. Chapters focus on the many people whose hard work and dedication made Waikoloa the successful resort it is today, as well as the cultural, culinary, and recreational events that have been held over the years. A timeline is included, as well as fascinating details about Waikoloa Village, which was originally part of the whole plan.
Holidays at Waikoloa Resort - New and Favorite Entertainment Options!
Waikoloa Beach Resort earns its moniker, “The Gathering Place of the Kohala Coast,” every week of the year by providing an amazing array of entertainment options. There are hula shows, performing musicians, culinary celebrations, and much more. During the holiday season, the normally upbeat resort environment gets even more magical, with shops and restaurants decorated in festive colors and offering special cuisine, tree-lightings, Santa appearances, and musicians playing favorite seasonal songs.
John Keawe, for example, one of Hawai`i Island’s favorite guitar players and native sons, is a Grammy-winning slack key guitarist and composer. A regular performer on Waikoloa Resort stages, his 1996 recording, Christmas Is, gained popular acclaim for his enchanting instrumental takes on Christmas songs, and each year he delights resort guests with his renditions. “For me, Christmas is a family time,” Keawe says. “In fact, several of my Christmas songs were inspired by my grandkids. I overheard them wondering how Santa was going to get to the islands, so I wrote “Santa’s Coming Over the Rainbow.”
The Ultimate Movie Experience
This winter, a unique new offering will be open for resort guests and the local community: Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas at Queens’ MarketPlace. Scheduled to open around the beginning of December — “We don’t want to miss the new Star Wars release on December 15!” says Tony Dalzell, who along with his wife, Maria, own the new business — the Cinemas space houses three screens, two of which have 101 seats (one 3-D), and a third at 84 seats. A cocktail lounge and restaurant, Bistro at the Cinemas, will serve food and drink on a 5,000-square-foot covered outdoor lanai.
“The primary components are love seat-style seating with tray tables and recliners, the availability of gourmet food and alcoholic beverages, but most importantly, reserved seating!” says Dalzell. “No more having to show up early and wait in line to get a decent seat ... just show up when you want, whether before the show to enjoy a cocktail or at the last minute as the curtain is raising — your favorite seat will be there waiting for you.”
Ticket prices will range between $12.50 - $18.50, and Kama`aina Cards that provide a 10 percent discount at the concession stand will be available for local patrons.
While the first-run movies will be the main attraction — heretofore the closest theaters were in Kona or Honokaa — the culinary offerings are sure to have their own following. The pizza chef comes to the bistro with more than 10 years of experience in restaurants in California, and the general manager of food and beverage operations comes from the Four Seasons Hualalai, right down the Kohala Coast.
“We’ll be specializing in ‘fun food’ items such as Neapolitan-style pizzas and six to eight different kinds of gourmet tacos,” Dalzell says. “Hummus or pub cheese appetizer plates, grilled cheese salted pretzels, salads, and our specialty, Hatch Chili Lobster Macaroni & Cheese Burritos, will be among the many other unique items available.” Although the Bistro will be there to primarily enhance the moviegoers’ experience, it is completely open to non-movie goers as well. “It will hopefully become a destination in itself, offering a warm, fun-filled atmosphere with live music every night and very affordable food & beverage options.”
First Run, of Course!
The Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas will be the first business the Dalzells have opened in Hawai`i, although they have been visiting the Waikoloa area annually for past 20 years. “It’s become like a second home and we’ve long thought of retiring here,” Tony Dalzell says. “When an opportunity came up to sell our businesses on the mainland, the ability to make the move became a reality.
“However, we both felt that we still needed something to do. As we actively researched potential business opportunities, the idea of a first-run movie theater came to us, as we’ve long known that there’s not much to do after dark on the Kohala Coast. Knowing nothing about the business, we did quite a bit of research on what was behind the standouts in the industry and discovered that all the pieces appeared to be here: a robust tourist market combined with a lack of competition in an entertainment venue.
“During our last couple of visits, we were shown ‘The Studio,’ a large, ultra-high ceiling space next to the Food Court with an adjoining covered lanai … it was perfect!” Just don’t ask the Dalzells if they plan to offer first-run films in the Cinemas.
“Of course!” Tony says. “It’s funny, everybody asks that question … like somehow it’s preordained that a drive to Kona or Hilo will always be required to see the ‘good stuff.’ That will be no longer!”
Hawai`i Island Festival
Taking home the first-ever “winner of winners” Olelo Hawaii Award in the Kindy Sproat Falsetto Contest was Benson Kam, pictured here with his proud ohana
Three favorite annual events were held at Waikoloa Beach Resort on September 8-9: the 25th Anniversary Kindy Sproat Falsetto Contest, which brought back many past winners to compete in this year’s special contest; the Poke Contest, which drew 20 chefs to compete in making the best and most popular poke; and the Ms. Aloha Nui contest, honoring women of great stature who personify the spirit of aloha. All three events were co-sponsored by Waikoloa Beach Resort, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Poke Contest Winner
The Poke Contest amateur award went to Keali‘i Garmon for his Ahi Poke creation. The recipe included sesame oil, olive oil, avocado, inamona (a traditional poke seasoning), green onion, and a wasabi aioli.
2017 Ms. Aloha Nui
Jessica Kunishige of Hilo was crowned the 2017 Ms. Aloha Nui. She clinched the the talent portion and tallied the highest combined score of the evening.
When the Polynesian Voyaging Society first sailed the double-hulled voyaging canoe (wa‘a kaulua) Hōkūle`a to Tahiti in 1976 — the first such canoe built in Hawai`i in many generations — it set in motion a rediscovery of ancient knowledge held by the oldest cultures in the Pacific, a quest that is still ongoing today.
This past June, when the canoe returned to Honolulu from its most recent voyage — a threeyear, round-the-world journey themed Malama Honua — it was clear from the large crowds gathered at Magic Island and statewide television coverage that the support for and interest in Hōkūle`a has only intensified over the years.
Hawai`i Island’s own voyaging canoe, Makali`i, sailed to O`ahu to welcome Hōkūle`a home, with a crew that included expert navigator (pwo) Chadd Paishon.
“We’ve learned so much from our voyages,” says Paishon, who joined the Polynesian Voyaging Society in the apprentice navigator program in 1990, was a crew member on the Hōkūle`a’s 1992 voyage to Tahiti, and today is a senior captain of Na Kalai Wa`a Moku o Hawai`i, Hawai`i Island’s own voyaging society.
“Above all, we’ve learned that we are all one community, from the ocean to the upcountry, and that we must depend upon and support one another for us all to flourish. Our ancestors brought everything with them,” Paishon says. “They brought their foods, their values, their culture, their spirituality. They were self-sustaining, both on the sea and on the land. In this way, this canoe speaks of where we come from. Those are the lessons we are now teaching to the next generations.”
Provisioning the Future
One of the ways Paishon and Na Kalai Wa`a Moku o Hawai`i is passing on this knowledge is by working with local schools — 10 of them —
both in the classroom and in the school gardens, on a provisioning program for the Makali`i’s planned 2019 voyage to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
“I asked the schools, ‘Is it possible to provision one canoe ... 14 people for 30 days?’” Paishon says. “I asked them to grow the foods that do well in their communities, whether it be Waikoloa, Hawi, or Honokaa. This is what our ancestors did when they would voyage, and in so doing we are bringing the entire community together.
“The wa`a belongs to the community,” Paishon says. “And without the community the wa`a would not exist.”
Paishon says that in many ways, when the canoe is at sea, it is a microcosm of Hawai`i Island itself. “This is us,” he says, “right on the deck of the canoe, we are a tiny floating island. We take care of one another. And it’s no different when we get back to the island. We have an obligation to one another.”
That message, delivered in classrooms and talks throughout the island, is Paishon’s passion. “If we can provision one canoe,” he asks, “why can’t we then provision our entire island? Through the canoe we are creating a model for the island to act as one community, in order to sustain itself in both food and humanitarian ways.”
One Island, One Community
In 1976, Hōkūle`a was the only active voyaging canoe in the Pacific; today there are eight in Hawai`i, and 22 total throughout Polynesia and the Pacific. That’s how strong the message was when Hōkūle`a first sailed, and how deep the yearning for traditional knowledge had become.
In the years after that first and subsequent voyages, Paishon says, “Everyone wanted Hōkūle`a to come to their communities so they could be part of the experience and learn the lessons for themselves. But since there was only one canoe, she couldn’t come.”
So, in the early 1990s, a group of Hawai`i Island residents — including Clay Bertelmann, his daughter Pomai, brother Shorty, Paishon, and others, many veterans of Hōkūle`a voyages — began an effort to build a wa‘a kaulua for their own island. To gain knowledge of the customary practices of building a canoe, they were tasked with building a smaller, five-man coastal sailing canoe using completely natural materials in the traditional practices of old Hawai`i. That vessel, named Mauloa, was completed in 1991 under the guidance of Papa Mau Piailug, the Micronesian master navigator who was instrumental in teaching the original Hōkūle`a crew how to navigate by the stars and other traditional canoe knowledge, dance, and ceremony.
“What building Mauloa showed was how a canoe begins in the forest,” Paishon says, “and gave us a complete picture of what it takes. You must pick the right tree, then there are blessings and ceremonies before you can take the tree. There is a right way to bring the rough-hewn log down to the water to construct the canoe, and finally there is a ceremony when it is birthed into the ocean.”
After Mauloa was successfully built, the group began work on Makali`i, which launched in 1995, and made her maiden voyage to Tahiti that same year. Twenty-two years later, Makali`i, through the efforts of Paishon and Na Kalai Wa`a Moku o Hawai`i, is still bringing the Hawai`i Island community together, and teaching the traditional ways of the Hawaiian people.
“We continue to voyage,” says Paishon, “so the stories will be written and voyaging will continue. But for us, it’s not only about the canoe, but about sustaining our island for generations beyond us.”
Happy Anniversary Queens’ MarketPlace!
Queens’ MarketPlace at Waikoloa Beach Resort is proud to celebrate 10 years of being a member of the Hawai`i Island community. With a popular food court, a variety of enticing shops where everything from tee shirts to jewelry to art to surf wear are found, several sit-down restaurants, and a multi-screen theater complex opening soon, Queens’ MarketPlace wishes to thank all our wonderful customers and vendors for 10 great years. Here’s to another 10!
Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival Return of Cuisines of The Sun
Saturday, October 28
5 - 9 pm VIP;
6 - 9:30 pm General Admission
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Cuisines of the Sun returns with superstar culinary talent from around the world joining forces to celebrate the food and wine of sunny climates. The diversity of Hawai`i Island’s bounty will be showcased in a spectacular six-course dinner at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. Indulge your senses with this lavish dinner paired with fine wines provided by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Hawaii
In Keeping with the Times: “Right-Sizing” at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa was the first hotel built at Waikoloa Beach Resort. When it opened in 1981 as the Sheraton Royal Waikoloan — the same year the Beach Golf Course opened — it signaled the beginnings of the grand master plan that would play out at Waikoloa over the ensuing four decades. The 555-room hotel, with frontage right along the beach at Anaeho`omalu Bay, was managed by Sheraton back then, operating jointly with local company Royal Resorts. It has always been hailed as a welcoming place as much for locals as for visitors, and prided itself on being more relaxed than some of the other resorts along the Kohala Coast. In June 1999, the Royal Waikoloan closed for a $25 million renovation, and when it reopened in October, it was called the Outrigger Waikoloa Beach. In 2002, Outrigger signed a franchise agreement with Marriott, rebranding the Outrigger Waikoloa Beach as the Waikoloa Beach Marriott. In 2006, the Mandara Spa was added, and the property was renamed Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.
Nowadays, big changes are underway at the iconic property, with 246 hotel rooms being converted into 112 one- and two-bedroom suites under the Marriott Vacation Club moniker, with 10,000 square feet of meeting space converted into a sales gallery for the new product. In concert with the suites, a brand new arrival experience awaits guests, with handsome, Maui-built tiki panels having been installed at the porte cochere, and a new front desk area set against a lobby garden that sports colors of the islands, along with native plants and lava rocks. A glance west from the lobby reveals enticing ocean views, framed as if a guest has just walked into their own postcard of paradise. The remaining hotel rooms are being refreshed, and the 20-unit, two-story Cabana Wing, with full ocean views from the top floors, will become a “hotel within a hotel,” says general manager Steve Yannarell. “We’re ‘right-sizing’ the hotel,” Yannarell says. “For the Big Island, this is what was needed. We had too many hotel rooms on the coast, and a growing demand for our Vacation Club-type offerings.” The Marriott Vacation Club is a points-based program, with more than 50 destinations all over the world currently in the system. One becomes an owner with a one-time purchase of an allotment of points — “vacation currency” as Marriott says — that can be used at the destination of one’s choice. Points are refreshed each year, and as new destinations are added, the program continues to grow and succeed.
Because Hawai`i is such a popular destination, the addition of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa to the list of destinations is sure to be a hit. “Some of what we’ve done,” Yannarell says, “was done to ensure we satisfy our new customer on the time-share side.”
Hotel Guests Benefit Too
Even as the Vacation Club guests will begin to arrive and enjoy the new look and feel of the property, so too will hotel guests benefit. In addition to the refreshed guest rooms and common areas, a new lobby level restaurant called Aku Ula (Red Sunset) is expected to open mid-July. It will serve specialty coffees, pastries, and grab-and-go food during the day; and a farmto- table menu at dinner. Overseen by longtime executive chef Jayson Kanekoa — whose family has been farming on the island for generations — the new menu will focus on smaller plates served pupu style, and ingredients such as locally farmed boutique lettuce and tomatoes, and locally made boutique ice cream. The emphasis on local ingredients is something currently found at the resort’s three-meal restaurant, Hawaii Calls, but the new outlet will take the concept a few steps further. “Everything at Aku Ula will be focused on the Big Island,” Yannarell says. “We’ll have torch-lighting seven days a week, and live music. It will be eclectic and fun, and from the lobby level the sunsets are amazing!” Meanwhile, Hawaii Calls is receiving new flooring and furniture, and the Paniolo Ballrooms are likewise being freshened up. The last major renovation to the property was in 2007.
One of the main draws for the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is its proximity to Anaeho`omalu Bay and the historic fishponds that front it. It was here that the ancient Hawaiians created a fishing village, the remains of which can still be seen on the ocean side of the hotel.
A tidal surge from a March 2011 tsunami damaged a major portion of the beach and rock wall that protected the fishponds, leaving the them vulnerable to sand surges and ocean water. A magnificent row of coconut palms was lost too.
Happily, in 2016, Waikoloa Beach Resort completed a major rebuilding of the retaining walls and beach, restoring the royal fishponds to their original glory, and making the beachfront here once again a popular gathering place for paddlers, swimmers, yoga classes, and more.
Aloha Joe—Inside Hawai`i Island’s World of Coffee
At Waikoloa Beach Resort, you can find a good cup of coffee almost everywhere you turn. Most of the time, that coffee will have been grown, dried, and roasted right here on Hawai`i Island. For example, Hilton Waikoloa Village features several locations of Waikoloa Coffee Company where guests can find a signature brew; Island Gourmet Market sells an array of local coffee beans at Queens’ MarketPlace; and Starbucks sells its distinctive blends, also at Queens’ MarketPlace. But there’s so much more to the story.
Two Centuries of Flavor
The first record of coffee in the Sandwich Isles appears in 1813, when a Spaniard named Don Francisco de Paula y Marin noted in his journal that he planted seedlings of coffee on the island of O`ahu. Though not much else is known about the trees that Marin planted, Hawaiian coffee — and Kona coffee in particular — has over the ensuing two centuries become almost as synonymous with the state as dreamy beaches and coconut trees.
The first coffee was planted on Hawai`i Island by Reverend Joseph Goodrich of the Hilo mission in an attempt to make the mission, and its native Hawaiian students, a self-sustaining enterprise.
When Reverend Samuel Ruggles, an American missionary who came to the islands in 1820 with the First Company of American missionaries, was transferred to Kona from Hilo in 1828, he brought coffee plant cuttings with him and began cultivating them near the Kealakekua Church to which he was assigned.
Ruggles’ coffee trees took some time to become established, but eventually they began to thrive and were the most successful of any of the early attempts at growing coffee in Hawai`i.
The industry grew to the point that, at the 1873 World’s Fair in Vienna, an award for excellence was given to a pioneering Kona coffee trader named Henry Nicholas Greenwell. This recognition further escalated the reputation of Hawaiian-grown coffee, and caused a boost in production for many farms.
In 1880, Hawai`i’s first large-scale coffee mill was constructed by John Gaspar Machado near Kealakekua Bay, in the heart of the island’s coffeegrowing region.
But perhaps the most significant advancement in the Kona coffee industry occurred in 1892, when a variety of Arabica coffee was introduced by a sugar grower named Herman Weidemann. Due to its resistance to diseases and ability to flourish in the mountainous terrain, this Arabica strain quickly became the dominant variety grown in Kona. It still is today.
The coffee industry was such an important part of life on the island that in 1932, the Kona public school system began letting students out for “summer” break from August until November, instead of the traditional June to September. The new schedule allowed the children to help with the coffee harvest, and the break came to be known as the Kona Coffee Vacation.
In the 1980s, as sugarcane was being phased out, many of the cane fields were planted with coffee, and by 2000 coffee had become one of the most important crops throughout the state, with Kona Coffee leading the way. Today in the Kona region alone, there are an estimated 700 independent coffee farms, most just three to seven acres in size.
Seed to Table
“Coffee is part of the culture of the islands,” says Jayson Kanekoa, executive chef at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. “Every state drinks coffee, but Hawai`i is the only state that produces coffee.”
Kanekoa (pictured below right) oversees a mini-grove of 38 coffee trees that are planted outside the Marriott’s Hawaii Calls restaurant. Although the small grove doesn’t produce enough beans for the hotel’s coffee supply, Kanekoa does use the beans from the trees to produce a rub that is used to flavor fish and meat dishes in the restaurant.
“The beans are ready to pick in November,” Kanekoa says. “Guests — particularly kids — enjoy picking them, learning about the drying and roasting process, and tasting the menu items that use the rub we make from the beans.”
The coffee trees were the idea of longtime Marriott employee Oren Yamagata, whose family owns a coffee farm in Kealakekua, south of Kona. “I mentioned the idea to our general manager one day,” Yamagata says, “and he liked it. So, we cleaned an area by the pool and planted the trees.” Yamagata helped the landscaping staff understand how to properly prune and care for the trees, and it turned out to be a hit with guests.
Also outside Hawaii Calls is another “seed-to-table,” guestfriendly garden where taro, sweet potatoes, bananas, and a few other plants are grown that have played such a large part in Hawai`i’s history.
Daylight Mind Café & Restaurant
Resort guests can also find a variety of coffee drinks at Daylight Mind Café & Restaurant in Queens’ MarketPlace, a coffee-pub, featuring carefully sourced, roasted, and brewed coffees, with an emphasis on Hawai`i-grown coffees. The restaurant has partnered with several boutique, family-owned farms in the Holualoa area (just above Kona) to source beans that are just right for the drinks they serve. One blend, for example, was engineered specifically for the complexity and balance required in espresso.
Ka`u Coffee at Mai Grille
At Mai Grille in the Waikoloa Kings’ Golf Course clubhouse, Chef Allen Hess has been creating buzz not only with a menu of delectable cuisine, but with the blended, Ka‘u-grown coffee he serves.
“My family bought a 5-acre plot in the Ka`u region (near South Point) six years ago,” Hess says. “We now have about 6,000 coffee plants growing there.”
The farm grows three varieties, including Typica (“for its hardiness,” says Hess), Liberica (“for its vanilla flavors and fancier notes”), and Mocha (“which lends a robust, woody flavor”). The blend made on the farm is available exclusively in Mai Grille and — under the Jara Farms label — at several specialty stores on island.
“In recent years, Ka`u coffee has been winning awards,” Hess says. “The farmers in Ka`u are very proud of that. Our family has a finger on every aspect of the coffee production, from planting and pruning to picking the beans when they are ripest to roasting it to a perfect medium dark. For us, it’s about creating a highly enjoyable blend of the highest quality.”
At Waikoloa Beach Resort, coffee is celebrated and enjoyed, as befits one of the state’s most prized crops.
Moku o Keawe International Festival
The Moku O Keawe International Festival Hula Competition brought Hawaiian culture to life at Hilton Waikoloa Village on March 8 – 11. Several workshops in hula technique were offered and standout evening performances included Wahine Kahiko, Kapuna, and Wahine `Auwana.
Produced by Moku O Keawe Foundation, the festival is part of an ongoing effort to enrich and educate the practice and development of hula and its associated arts, and also to build, strengthen, and inspire the living cultural traditions of Hawai`i.
Sponsors included Waikoloa Beach Resort, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Big Island Candies, Sushi Shiono, and Sig Zane Designs.
Walk for a Good Cause
On May 13, more than 3,000 walkers and 160 runners will take part in the 39th Annual Charity Walk Fundraiser, sponsored by the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association. Last year, $305,690 was raised for 54 Hawaii Island charities, and event organizers anticipate that even more will be raised this year.
“The Charity Walk will be bigger and better than ever,” said Steve Yannarell, co-chair of the Walk and general manager of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. “We’re adding food booths, enter tainment, and children’s activities ... it is shaping up to be a fun day that will also benefit some amazing organizations.”
In addition to the 5k run and walk, some 30 food stations hosted by hotels and resort restaurants will be set up around Queens’ MarketPlace where the race begins and ends. “All the food booths were asked to incorporate local tomatoes into their dishes,” Yannarell said. “That got our local farmers involved and added a fun twist.”
Children’s activities booths, a comedy act by m/c Tony Silva, a live radio broadcast, and a silent auction are also planned. Statewide, more than $2 million is raised by Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Charity Walks each year, but as Yannarell says, “Money raised on Hawai`i Island stays on Hawai`i Island. I encourage everyone to come out and participate!”
When: Saturday, May 13, 2017 Time: Registration 5:30 am – 8 am; Runner start at 6:45am, Walker 7:00am Where: Queens’ MarketPlace Coronation Pavilion
The Commish - Thos Rohr, Leading the Way
Waikoloa from 1988 - 2010
Developing a long range, big-picture project such as Waikoloa Beach Resort takes a leader with keen instinct, business acumen, and an abundance of sheer persistence. Those are traits that nicely sum up Thos Rohr, president and CEO of Waikoloa Land Company from 1988 to 2010. Known by friends and associates as “The Commish” — a nickname he earned for his resolute ability to manage and organize a field of prestigious celebrities and business executives at his high-profile golf tournaments; “they were like herding cats!” he says — Rohr is widely regarded as someone who set new standards in the leisure hospitality industry in Hawai`i during his long career.
Establishing a Path
“The Commish is a pioneer,” says Scott Head, vice president of resort operations for Waikoloa Land Company, who worked alongside Rohr for several years. “He developed and promoted a golf lifestyle that is now so popular at island resorts, and knew how to publicize that lifestyle to raise the state’s profile, encourage investment, and bring people to Hawai`i.”
Rohr landed in the islands on New Year’s Day 1960, “shanghaied” from Cleveland, Ohio, by his close friend Peter Revson, who went on to became a world-class Formula One race driver. Rohr went from living with Revson high on the hog in a home on Black Point — Honolulu’s ritziest neighborhood — to sleeping in a canoe on Waikiki Beach.
“That’s when I met Danny Kaleikini,” he says. “He was walking down the beach and I was just waking up. We’ve been friends ever since.”
Sleeping in the canoe lasted but a short time. Rohr quickly made a name for himself in the hotel industry, working first with Sheraton and then with Hilton. As he rose through the management ranks, he became acquainted with many of the state’s most dynamic businesspeople, and in 1974 he was named president and CEO of Kapalua Land Company. There, he played a major role in establishing the resort’s iconic butterfly logo and, working with Arnold Palmer, bringing professional golf to Maui.
Palmer — who with partner Ed Seay designed the Kapalua Bay Course — created an event called The Golf Party to help Rohr market the resort and sell real estate. It was such a successful venture that it became the foundation for the Kapalua Invitational (now known as the SBS Tournament of Champions).
“Arnold said, ‘I’ll throw a golf tournament for you,’” Rohr says, “and that created a lot of buzz and good publicity. Golf is one of the great word-of-mouth sports there is. And, Arnold was the King.”
Seeing the Future
Rohr brought both his keen promotional instincts and his friendship with Arnold Palmer with him to Waikoloa Beach Resort. When he was named president and CEO of Waikoloa Land Company in 1988, construction was almost complete on the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa (now Hilton Waikoloa Village).
“At the time,” he says, “the plan was to build four hotels and four golf courses connected via a series of lagoons. There were no condos in the plan either, and all development was to be on the makai (ocean) side of the King’s Trail.”
Realizing that that approach was not going to succeed in a location as remote as Waikoloa was considered way back then, Rohr was determined to create a master plan that would maximize the potential of the land and resort, while drawing visitors from around the world to the Kohala Coast.
“I brought restaurateur Rob Thibaut over to look at building a restaurant,” he says. “Rob,” who owned successful restaurants under the TS Restaurants umbrella with partner Sandy Saxton, “told me we needed a little Waikiki at Waikoloa. ‘There’s no there there,’ he said.”
Taking heed of that advice, Rohr set about building the Kings’ Shops (which opened in 1991) and later Queens’ MarketPlace (first stores opened in 2007), altogether some 200,000 feet of shopping and dining space that would serve as the anchor for the resort.
Thibaut never built a restaurant at Waikoloa, but Roy Yamaguchi — a friend of The Commish and retail real estate expert Alan Beall, who was tasked with leasing the commercial space at Waikoloa — was an early lessee at Kings’ Shops, opening Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill in 1996. His prescience and trust paid off, as the location has been one of his better performing restaurants ever since.
“The resort would have never grown into the success story that it is today without the shopping centers,” Head says. “They drive interest and demand and have supported all the various resort developments.”
To commemorate his vision, achievements, and resolve — his will, his way — resort visitors will nowadays discover the symbolically named “Rohr’s Way” leading into Queens’ MarketPlace.
“The things I’m most proud of accomplishing at Waikoloa,” Rohr reflects, “are how we were able to zone the land on both sides of the King’s Trail,” which allowed the resort to expand the condominium and timeshare offerings that are just nowadays being realized, convincing Mayor Steve Yamashiro to extend the Kona airport runway for jets, and building the shopping centers.”
On the Right Course
Rohr’s accomplishments also include concepting and building the Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens, where major concerts and monthly events over the years have brought the local community and resort guests together to enjoy music, food, and culture.
Waikoloa Resort also benefitted tremendously from Rohr’s commitment to and love of golf. He oversaw renovations to the Robert Trent Jones II course, and built the Kings’ Course in partnership with designer and former PGA Tour player Tom Weiskopf.
As he did at Kapalua years earlier, Rohr brought well known golf pros including Peter Jacobsen, Brad Faxon, Brandel Chamblee, David Feherty, Scott Simpson, and Gary McCord to the resort to play in the Kings’ Cup and the Barefoot TieBreaker, along with celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, Bill Murray, and others. “Mark Rolfing got ESPN to broadcast the event,” Rohr says, “and that really helped put us on the map.” In those years, Peter Jacobsen and Cindy Rarick represented Waikoloa on their respective professional tours.
The LPGA’s Takefuji Classic was contested on the Beach Course in 2002, with Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam prevailing. That event was also notable as the first professional tournament for the then-12- year-old Michelle Wie.
Rohr’s flair for promotion extended beyond the golf course, too. In 1989, for example, he and Palmer got Bob Hope — who at one time lived in Cleveland and was a friend of Rohr’s father — to stop at Waikoloa on his way home from Thailand to record “Bob Hope’s Christmas Special” starring Hope, Naomi and Wynonna Judd, and Barbara Eden.
“If you look around today, you see an established resort with quite a lot to offer,” Head says. “But it took a lot of hard work, vision, and determination to get here.”
Sounds a lot like the qualities The Commish brought to the table.
Lions and Taiko and Chefs
Queens’ MarketPlace came alive on Friday, February 3, from 5 - 8 pm, as the Year of the Rooster was celebrated during the annual Asian Fest. The free event is a unique and popular way to experience and enjoy the music, cuisine, and customs of China, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, and other Asian cultures.
According to the Chinese zodiac, a Rooster year is supposedly full of patience and passion, bravery, some bravado, and hard work to reach success. Its motto is, “Always higher, always going on,” appropriate for Queens’ MarketPlace, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Festivities included great food, nonstop entertainment, and a spectacular Lion Dance. A centuries-old tradition, the colorful Chinese Lion Dancers performed acrobatic feats and leaps, interacted with the audience and paraded through Queens’ MarketPlace from door to door. Participants young and old “fed” the Lion small donations in red envelopes called lycee to bring good fortune in the year ahead.
On the culinary front, a number of Waikoloa restaurants provided tasty food samples, including Lava Lava Beach Club, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Charley’s Thai Cuisine, Ippy’s Hawaiian BBQ, Lemongrass Express, A-Bay’s Island Grill, Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill, Marble Slab, Daylight Mind Waikoloa, Tropics Ale House, Sushi Shiono, Island Gourmet Markets, Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Waikoloa Beach Marriott/Tokyo Marriott, Sansei Seafood, Stea, & Sushi Bar, and Mai Grille.
Chefs in the Community
Several chefs and restaurants represented Waikoloa Beach Resort at the 24th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival Heritage Festival in Waimea on Saturday, February 4. With cooking demonstrations taking place at Kamuela Hongwanji, participants included Sushi Shiono (Island Gourmet Markets at Queens’ MarketPlace); Mai Grille (Waikoloa Kings’ Golf Course); Sansei Seafood, Steak and Sushi Bar (Queens’ MarketPlace); and Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, which featured Chef Ogawa from sister-city property, Tokyo Marriott. “This is always the most delicious part of the Festival,” said volunteer organizer Margo Mau Bunnell. “Not only do the chefs love cooking for people, they really enjoy teaching and showing their style. It’s a great way to get these talented upcoming chefs out of the kitchen and interacting with their customers and fans.”
The Naupaka Flower - A Story of Eternal Love
The logo for Waikoloa Beach Resort — the naupaka flower — is at its core a symbol of hope and eternal love. Like many stories from Hawai`i’s mythology, the story of the naupaka flower is one born of loss, but buoyed by the possibility of eventual reunion.
The shrub (scaevola) is commonly found both in the mountains (naupaka hiwa) and near the beach, where it is called naupaka kahakai (naupaka by the sea). It is distinctive because at the beach the white petals grow only in half blooms on the lower part of the flower (photo, right), while the other petals appearing to be missing, and in the mountains the petals grow only on the upper half of the flower.
It is a hardy plant that can reach 10 feet in height and typically 15 feet in width. Because it is able to thrive in conditions from drought to wind to salt spray to heat, and in many types of soil from coral to cinder to clay, it is a popular ground cover for homeowners and land planners in Hawai`i.
The Naupaka Legend
There are many versions of the legend of the naupaka flower and why it grows only half a bloom. In ancient times, one version goes, there was a beautiful Hawaiian princess known as Naupaka. One day, the villagers noticed that Naupaka looked very sad. They told her parents, who approached Naupaka and asked her what was troubling her.
“I have fallen in love with a man named Kaui,” replied the princess. “But Kaui is not of noble birth — he is a commoner.” According to Hawaiian tradition, it was strictly forbidden for members of royalty to marry people from the common ranks.
Distressed, Naupaka and Kaui traveled long and far, seeking a solution to their dilemma. They climbed up a mountain to see a kahuna who was staying at a heiau (temple). Alas, he had no clear answer for the young lovers. “There is nothing I can do,” he told them, “but you should pray. Pray at this heiau.”
So they did. And as they prayed, rain began to fall. Their hearts torn by sorrow, Naupaka and Kaui embraced for a final time. Then Naupaka took a flower from her ear and tore it in half, giving one half to Kaui. “The gods won’t allow us to be together,” she said. “You go live down by the water, while I will stay up here in the mountains.”
As the two lovers separated, the naupaka plants that grew nearby saw how sad they were. The very next day, they began to bloom in only half flowers.
A Symbol Of Eternal Hope
“It’s such a beautiful legend,” says Margo Mau Bunnell, sales and operations manager for Waikoloa Land Company. “Waikoloa Beach Resort is a place where people come to relax, renew their appreciation of family, and enjoy the Hawaiian culture. Our naupaka flower logo perfectly illustrates these values.”
Other versions of the legend tell that Naupaka’s sister was Pele, the Fire Goddess, and that Pele killed both Kaui (at the beach) and Naupaka (in the mountains) to prevent them from being together.
But whatever version of the legend you read, the enduring hope is that the two star-crossed lovers — and the two opposite blooms of the flower — will one day be reunited and thus become whole.
“As a symbol for Waikoloa, the naupaka legend and the idea of becoming whole through eternal belief in the positive is very strong,” says Bunnell. “We strive to deliver experiences to our guests that not only make their vacations more enjoyable and memorable, but that will have positive impacts on their lives long after they leave. That is what the naupaka legend and the flower symbolize.”
Future Stars Of The PGA Tour
The 26th Annual Amer Ari Intercollegiate Golf Tournament will take place Feb, 1-4 at Waikoloa Beach Resort, with all rounds being played on the renowned Tom Weiskopfdesigned Kings’ Course. A total of 21 teams are scheduled to participate in the Amer Ari this year, including seven of the top 25 teams in the country.
Leading the way are #4 ranked Oklahoma State; #6 ranked Stanford University; #7 ranked University of Southern California; #10 ranked University of Texas; #12 ranked Auburn University; #19 ranked Texas Tech; #20 ranked and defending NCAA national champions University of Oregon; and #25 ranked Georgia Tech.
Casey Martin, who has been the Men’s Head Golf Coach of the defending champion NCAA national champion University of Oregon for 11 years, says “The Amer Ari is one of the iconic events in collegiate golf. It was my favorite when I played in it back in college, and it’s our team’s favorite tournament each year.”
Martin, who was a teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford University and a member of the school’s 1994 NCAA championship team, says, “This is one of the tournaments that hasn’t changed much. I say that in a good way. It’s the same golf course, and it always has one of the best fields in college golf. That means our players can relate back to when former players competed. It’s great to be able to calibrate yourself against what Tiger Woods and other great players were doing at that point in their careers. Plus, the weather is great, and you’re in Hawai`i. The Amer Ari is one of the highlights of our year.”
Last year’s individual tournament champion, Aaron Wise, went on to win the prestigious NCAA individual champion and now plays on the PGA Tour. He joins a prestigious list of past participants who have gone on to become PGA Tour stars, including Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Notah Begay, Matt Kuchar, and Bryce Molder.
This year, Wyndham Clark of the University of Oregon is ranked #1 NCAA individual heading into the Spring season.
Admission is free, and the public is welcome.
Kona Tap Room is the new name of the Hilton Waikoloa Village’s former Malolo Lounge. Featuring a variety of brews from Kona Brewing Company and other local breweries, guests will also find a menu of “locavore foods.” Created by the Hilton Waikoloa’s talented culinary team, the menu features dishes with local flavors, and food-and-beer pairings showcasing its selection of craft brews. It’s all good fun. Entertainment nightly too.
Hala-Leujah: The Old Hawaiian Art of Weaving Lau Hala
Not too many years ago, the late and beloved Auntie Elizabeth Lee (1929 – 2016) would frequently be found at Kings’ Shops and Queens’ MarketPlace, interacting with visitors while teaching them how to make lovely Hawaiian bracelets from the dried leaves of the hala (pandanus) trees that can be found in several prominent locales around Waikoloa Beach Resort and Hawai`i Island. The craft of lauhala plaiting (the term is technically more accurate than “weaving”) is an ancient one in Hawai`i, and Auntie Elizabeth was one of the people most important to its survival into modern times.
In an interview shortly after Auntie’s passing this past August, Barbara Kossow, who was a friend of Auntie and assisted her in her later years, said: “(Lauhala plaiting) was a dying art. She wanted to revive the weaving and get people interested again. Auntie Elizabeth was very generous with her knowledge. She loved teaching people to weave lauhala and she opened up her teaching to everyone.”
Guests will spot the hala tree commonly at Waikoloa Beach Resort, where it was specifically planted to draw attention to its significance in the Hawaiian culture. Along Waikoloa Beach Drive near Waikoloa Bowl, for example, some magnificent hala trees are seen, and inside Waikoloa Bowl itself others stand in healthy splendor. At the Kings’ Golf Course, a large hala tree dominates the entranceway to the clubhouse and several are seen on the first and 18th holes of the Kings’ Course.
The trees can grow as high as 20 – 30 feet, and are easily identified by the tangled roots that shoot upward out of the ground. Found throughout the Pacific, it is speculated that the tree found its own way to the Hawaiian Islands, as the seeds float. The fronds have long, spinyedged leaves, and the female tree produces a pineapple-looking fruit.
The hala tree was very important to the old Hawaiians, with every part of it used in some fashion. The fruit was eaten, used for medicinal purposes, added as decorative lei adornment, and dried segments were used as a brush to paint on tapa. The wood of the tree was used as building support material and calabashes.
The woven leaves, lau, were used for many practical purposes, including canoe sails, wall thatching, roofing material, and floor mats. Guests can stand under the canopy of a tree today and see what an effective shelter the leaves make from the elements.
In plantation days, lauhala crafters made hats to shield workers from the sun, and baskets in which to carry coffee cherries and other crops. Every family had its weavers, and each weaver had a signature style. The knowledge and technique was passed from generation to generation, and the keiki would often start learning at an early age. But as trade with the Western world picked up and new materials and goods such as leather and cloth were introduced to the islands, by the middle part of the 20th century, the art of lauhala plaiting — as were other important cultural traditions in Hawai`i such as hula and even the Hawaiian language — was dying out.
A Renaissance Of Art
Thankfully, in the late 1980s and 1990s, a new pride in Hawaiian traditions arose, and with it a new emphasis on the arts and crafts. In 1993, Auntie Elizabeth was named a Living Treasure by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for her contributions to weaving. (Auntie was also instrumental in resurrecting the art of weaving makaloa, a reed that grows along the seashore, but which no one had used in weaving in 200 years.)
In addition to bringing pleasure to innumerous guests and visitors at Waikoloa Beach Resort, Auntie’s influence can still be felt through the many students she taught — many of whom have become kumu (teachers) in their own right — and the group she cofounded in 1996, Ka Ulu Lauhala o Kona. The group sponsors an annual workshop in Kona in May.
Although the tools used in the craft have evolved, the techniques Auntie taught are very similar to what was practiced in early Hawai‘i. The dried and gathered leaves have their thorny edges removed, pieces are torn into thin strips and cleaned, and a careful process of intertwining begins. Only today, instead of sails and roof thatching, modern weavers craft hats, purses, baskets, and placemats, much of it for collectors and an eager tourism market. “I love it,” Pohaku Kaho‘ohanohano, a master weaver and teacher of the craft on Maui, told Maui No Ka Oi Magazine in a 2013 interview, “because it’s part of my culture. I’m doing what my ancestors did. This is survival for me. It’s in my blood.”
Auntie Elizabeth would wholeheartedly agree. “Take care of the knowledge,” she said to her students in her last days. She can rest assured it is in good hands.
Winging It - Avian Friends at Waikoloa Beach Resort and Beyond
The annual migration of the Humpback whale is celebrated in the Hawaiian Islands, and sightings are reported on the nightly news when the big mammals begin to arrive in local waters each fall. The Pacific Golden Plover (kolea in Hawaiian) makes the same migration between Hawai`i and Alaska each year, heading north in spring and south in fall. Though they are not rock stars like the Humpbacks, their journey is perhaps even more amazing, as they wing their way thousands of miles without any land on which to stop, rest, and refuel.
Shoreline and Golf Course Birds
“The Pacific Golden Plover is quite a remarkable bird,” says Lance Tanino, founder of Manu Conservation Birding and Nature Tours and one of the leading birding experts in Hawai`i. “They fly nonstop for three or four days to nest in the tundra of Alaska, and make the return trip to Hawai`i starting around August. The adults come first with the juvenile birds following shortly thereafter.”
Seen regularly around the waterfront areas and golf courses of Waikoloa Beach Resort, Tanino says the Pacific Golden Plover (pictured left) is one of the few native species to have thrived after human contact, as the clearing of the underbrush near the beaches and the ponds and grassy areas of the golf courses make excellent habitat for these birds.
Another frequent visitor to Waikoloa’s golfing greens is Hawai`i’s state bird, the Nēnē Goose. A year-round resident in the islands, the Nēnē is still considered an endangered species, but their population has increased significantly since the 1940s when — due to relentless human hunting and the introduction of mongooses and feral cats to the state — they were effectively extinct in the wilds, and estimates put the number of birds at fewer than 10. A captive breeding program centered on Hawai`i Island, coupled with another breeding program in England, managed to rescue the Nēnē from extinction, and by the late 1970s there were more than 2,000 of the distinctive geese with deeply furrowed neck feathers in captivity and ready to be released into the wild once again.
“They are doing better with the extensive protection by the federal and local authorities,” Tanino says, “and they love the short grass of the golf courses.” But Tanino also points out that golfers need to understand that the Nēnē are sometimes territorial and they should avoid contact with them or their chicks.
Another unique bird that guests at Waikoloa Beach Resort will also observe is the Black-crowned Night Heron (‘auku’u), a non-endangered resident bird that likes to sit on tree snags or stalk the lava rocks above the tidepools looking for fish. With its long legs and sturdy gray body, this bird appears almost hunched as it patiently and quietly goes about its business of catching fish.
“Interestingly” says Tanino, “the Black-crowned Night Heron has learned to attract fish using bread. It’ll drop the bread in the water and wait for fish to come take the bait.”
Keen-eyed birders can also spot the Ruddy Turnstone (‘akekeke), the Sanderling (huna kai, literally translated as “sea foam”), and the Wandering Tattler (‘ulili), all migrating visitors to Hawai`i’s shores. And if you’re really lucky, on the deserted stretches of sand south of Lava Lava Beach Club, you may catch sight of the elusive Bristle-thighed Curlew (kioea, named for the loud whistling sound it makes), a long-billed bird that prefers solitude as it molts all of its flight feathers before migration and is flightless and vulnerable to predators for a period of time.
In the cattle grazing lands and ranches further upcountry from Waikoloa Beach Resort and Waikoloa Village, the pueo, or Short-eared Owl, is frequently seen at dawn and dusk. Whether sitting on a fencepost, gliding on a breeze, or gracefully winging in wide circles hunting for mice in the tall grasses, the pueo is instantly recognizable. They are often spotted on the old Saddle Road near Waiki’i Ranch, their white faces and brilliant yellow-green eyes glaring back as you slow your car to take a picture.
The pueo plays a special role in Hawaiian mythology, and is considered an ‘aumakua, a spirit guardian, by many families in the islands.
It is always amusing to see a tall, slender white bird standing on the back of a horse or cow. These are Cattle Egrets, common in the green ranchlands of Hawai`i Island’s upcountry. Originally from Africa, these birds were brought to Hawai`i in 1959 specifically to control the insect population, a job they do very well.
Other birds commonly spied in the middle elevations of Hawai`i Island are several species of Francolin Quail, wild turkey, California Quail, the Kalij Pheasant, and Ring-necked Pheasant, all introduced for sport hunting in previous centuries. Common songbirds include the lovely Saffron Finch, and the bright red Northern Cardinal.
If you are a dedicated birder, you might want to check out the new Palila Forest Discovery Trail, recently opened on the western slope of Mauna Kea mountain by the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife. The trail is accessed from the Kilohana Hunter Station checkin area off the old Saddle Road. A four-mile 4-wheel-drive road leads to the trailhead, and from there signage points you to a mile-long hike through old-growth sandalwood trees and a yellow-flowered māmane forest to a habitat where the Palila, as well as several other species of birds, can be seen and heard.
Significant because the Palila are the last of the finch-billed honeycreepers found in the state, these highly endangered birds sport yellow head and chest feathers. Their numbers have been decreasing in recent years due to extended drought, invasive species, and habitat degradation. Only about 2,000 birds remain, all in this unique habitat on the slopes of Mauna Kea.
Image above - pueo - courtesy of Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB) / Kirk Lee Aeder
In the timeless, “Endless Summer” of vintage surf culture and Hawaiiana, some things never grow old. Malibu Shirts, the latest member of the Queens’ MarketPlace family of shops, is a flashback to a golden-oldie era, bringing favorite old school logos and imagery to casual retro fashion.
Malibu Shirts creates what they call “highend garments inspired by history, resulting in comfortable clothes with stories to tell.” Along with tees and hoodies, they also offer hats, stickers, vintage posters, metal signs and more, featuring the memorable designs of Primo, Pan Am, TWA, Airstream, The Monkees (who played their first concert in Hawai`i), the Grateful Dead, classic drive-ins, hotels, surf clubs, and steamships.
The first Malibu Shirt was printed in 2004 — for Malibu Surf Club, a small but dedicated group of surfers such as Les Williams. Today, they operate three shops on Oahu and two on Maui. The Queens’ MarketPlace location, which opened July 2, is their sixth store, the first on Hawai`i Island.
Each individual store pays tribute to its unique place in the sun, showcasing items from a vast collection of historic surfing memorabilia, trophies, photos, boards, books, records, posters, vintage competition tees, and club sweatshirts. Included are items won, worn, or owned by some of the sport’s biggest names: Duke Kahanamoku, Tom Blake, Dale Velzy, Marge Calhoun, Les Williams, “Rabbit” Kekai, Fred Hemmings, Larry “Rubber Man” Bertlemann, Miki Dora, and many, many more.
COMING ATTRACTION! Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas
Queens’ MarketPlace will light up island nightlife with the highly-anticipated Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas, an upscale, three-screen movie venue with full-service restaurant and bar. When the curtain goes up in the spring of 2017, movie-lovers will be able to kick back in a cushy leather seat, order a glass of wine and enjoy a first-run feature.
Guests will enter a spacious, contemporary lobby, with a bar and comfy furnishings, including an actual sample of the theaters’ leather loveseats to “test drive.” A 25-foot passageway of glass doors leads into a 5,000-square-foot outdoor lanai lounge, available to everyone, movie patron or not.
Three exclusive auditoriums, outfitted with cutting-edge sound and projection equipment, seat 85-100 people each, the largest offering Real 3-D technology. Food and beverages — from popcorn and sodas to gourmet snacks, pizza, and cocktails — may be purchased prior to the show, or ordered for delivery to your loveseat.
“The luxury cinema concept has proven to be quite a hit on the Mainland,” says Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas owner Tony Dalzell. “So we decided that would be our business model here.”
With an MBA and extensive experience in consumer marketing, primarily in the financial services industry in California, Dalzell was also owner-operator of Marina WaterSports, Inc., California’s largest watercraft and parasailing attraction. Assisting Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas is theater consultant Scott Stalcup, who has overseen more than 100 projects for AMC Theaters.
Since most of North Hawai‘i gets its movie fix in Kona or Honoka‘a — or from Netflix on their home sofa — Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas is a date night waiting to happen. The Dalzells easily saw the success potential of adding a theater to Waikoloa Beach Resort nightlife.
“It’s no secret that, after dark, one’s entertainment options around here are pretty limited,” said Dalzell, who moved to the island earlier this year with wife Maria, after visiting annually for two decades. “Retirement was an option, but we both wanted something to do. We’re happy that it ended up being something that’s a contribution to our new community.”
In addition to films, Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas will be available for rentals, concerts, and live performances. It also offers a potential boon for neighboring businesses, and will be providing about 45 new jobs in the community.
Hot Lava, Hotter Cuisine - Annual Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival Heats Up
Foodies take note! The annual Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival (HFWF) will return to the Big Island on Saturday, October 22, with a signature event, “Hot Lava, Hotter Cuisine.” The dinner will be held at Hilton Waikoloa Village in partnership with the Waikoloa Beach Resort and Waikoloa Beach Marriott.
The theme, according to HFWF’s executive director Denise Yamaguchi, “was something we came up with that would define the level of the talent coming to Hawai`i Island. It’s a play on words. Everyone knows that lava is hot, and we wanted to express that the cuisine created by these chefs will be even hotter.”
Yamaguchi points out that four of the six chefs cooking have won James Beard Awards and a fifth chef from Korea was 27th in Asia’s Fifty Best Restaurants 2016. “What could be hotter than that?” she asks.
Participating will be some of the Mainland’s most talented culinary artists, including Nancy Silverton (Mozza, Los Angeles, CA), Hubert Keller (Fleur by Hubert Keller, Las Vegas, NV), Michelle Bernstein (Seagrape, Miami, FL), and Bruce Bromberg (Blue Ribbon Restaurants, New York, NY). Favorite local chefs Hans Lentz (Hilton Waikoloa Village) and Jayson Kanekoa (Waikoloa Beach Marriott) will be representing Hawai‘i Island. And Tae-Hwan Ryu (Ryunique, Seoul, South Korea) will be bringing his talents to Waikoloa Beach Resort as well.
Year-Round & Worldwide
The addition of Chef Ryu from South Korea to this year’s lineup is telling, as it represents an expansion that the Festival has envisioned from the beginning. “From the very start, our vision for the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival was to build a world-class food and wine festival,” Yamaguchi says. “This meant inviting and attracting the best chefs and winemakers to produce the highest quality event that would be comparable to some of our nation’s best food and wine events. After six years, I am proud that we may be able to consider ourselves among the best, having earned a reputation for quality, integrity, and magnitude.
“It was also our vision to include world-class international chefs from Asia in our Festival — something that differentiates us from other festivals across the U.S.,” Yamaguchi says. “Being in the middle of the Pacific, this just made sense for us. It was to bridge relationships between chefs from the East with the West.”
In addition to bridging relationships, Chef Ryu is certain to dazzle Hawai`i Island festival-goers with his world-class cuisine. “Tae is quite a culinarian,” says HFWF co-founder (and Denise’s husband) Roy Yamaguchi. “He is creative and passionate about his cooking. His plates are attentive to detail. He utilizes his skills of modern gastronomy. His food is Michelin-caliber and I can’t wait to see what he’ll create for our festival.”
The Yamaguchis, along with HFWF’s other co-founder, Alan Wong, were recently in South Korea, where they took part in an event on Jeju Island, “Hawaii Meets Jeju,” as part of an outreach program designed to expose contemporary Hawaii cuisine to the world.
“The name Hawai`i is magic to the rest of the world,” Wong says. “We are always warmly received wherever we go. The problem is that the world doesn’t really know about the modern day Hawai`i and the cuisine being served in the state. They continue to think that we put slices of pineapple on hamburgers and pizza and that this is called a Hawaiian hamburger and a Hawaiian pizza.”
Roy Yamaguchi elaborates: “I’ve traveled to over 40 countries through cooking and I’m always welcomed with open arms. People around the world think of Hawai`i as a tropical place of beauty and peace. We’ve really come a long way through food and I think it’s something that we all strive for when we put together Hawai`i Regional Cuisine. As we elevate the level and quality of our food, we’re able to do more to showcase Hawai`i.”
Only Hawai`i Can Be Hawai`i
Cuisine is one surefire way to relate Hawai`i’s heritage to the world. With new direct flights being planned from Japan and elsewhere in Asia to Hawai`i Island, the work that the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival is doing will hopefully pay dividends in increased tourism. Sponsors, including Waikoloa Beach Resort and the Hawaii Tourism Authority, are counting on it.
“Hawaii is such a unique place, with multiple cultures all contributing to make us what we are,” says Scott Head, vice president of resort operations for Waikoloa Beach Resort. “And nowhere is this truer than in the food our guests are presented, which continues to evolve into a truly world-inspired, world-class cuisine using fresh and amazing ingredients found right here on our island. We are excited and honored to host the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival here on Hawai`i Island, and specifically here at our resort.”
“The world will come if we have created experiences you can only have while here in Hawai`i,” says Denise Yamaguchi. “While you can create a food and wine experience about Hawai`i in other places, what’s missing that cannot be replaced is our culture, the generosity and hospitality of our people, and the aloha spirit. Our advantage is authenticity and only Hawai`i can be Hawai`i.”
The good news for Hawai`i Island residents and guests of Waikoloa Beach Resort is that one of the signature events of the 2016 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is being held right in their own backyard. It’s a hot and hotter opportunity to taste what the rest of the world only dreams of. For more information or to reserve tickets, go to HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.com
Bob May Golf Academy
For the third year in a row, noted golf instructor Bob May brought his renowned Golf Academy to Waikoloa Beach Resort in June, offering island golfers and visitors a chance to learn from one of golf’s best. May notably pushed Tiger Woods to a three-hole playoff in the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla, during a year in which Woods was at the height of his dominance. The playoff ultimately went to Woods, but the golf world never forgot May’s tenacious play that day. May’s instruction includes an emphasis on that determination and tenacity for which he was so well respected on Tour, as well as his extensive knowledge of the swing. All skill levels took advantage of his Waikoloa Beach Resort visit, from beginning golfers to seasoned players, as well as juniors.
38th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk
“A tradition of giving. We’re all in this together.”
That was the theme for the 2016 Visitor Industry Charity Walk that was held on Saturday, May 14 at Waikoloa Beach Resort. The annual 3.1-mile run, walk (and snack) event was created by the Hawai`i Lodging and Tourism Association in 1978 as a way for the visitor industry to “walk the walk,” and give back to community.
Since then it has grown into a major fundraiser statewide, generating over $28 million in the last 37 years. In 2015 alone, 11,200 walkers raised over $1.8 million to help local charities, with funds raised on the island remaining on the island to support numerous non-profit groups and noteworthy causes.
Hotel and resort properties from across the island enjoyed the friendly competition of Charity Walk, challenging each other to win the race, bring out the most participants, raise the most money, and serve up the best food. In addition, those chosen as beneficiaries supported the runners and walkers with aid stations along the scenic route from Queen’s MarketPlace to Kings’ Land by Hilton Grand Vacations, and back to Waikoloa Bowl.
“The Visitor Industry Charity Walk is something we in hospitality look forward to every single year,” said Rob Gunthner, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association- Hawaii Island Chapter Chair. “But it’s not just for hospitality workers ... anyone can participate. We love it when visitors walk along with us, then join us over in the Bowl for some great music, entertainment, and outstanding food by our Waikoloa Beach Resort restaurants.”
Participants of all ages enjoyed the morning exercise and the after-event atmosphere on the expansive lawn of Waikoloa Bowl where 20-plus food stands were found, along with entertainment by DJ Tiger and Beyond Paradise, and a live radio broadcast by DC from B93, Eddy O with Native FM, and more.
The Waikoloa Nightingale
Of the iconic animals we associate with Hawai`i — humpback whales, pueo, even the beloved gecko — the donkey most likely doesn’t make the list. And while they don’t walk comically upside down on our ceilings, majestically circle the skies, or leap playfully from the ocean, donkeys were integral to the success of Hawai`i Island’s coffee industry in its early days, and hold an important place in the state’s agricultural history.
Still spotted occasionally in the lava fields near Waikoloa Beach Resort and Waikoloa Village, the Waikoloa Nightingales — as they are called for the semi-melodious braying noise they make day and night, distinct from the typical honking of a donkey — are descendants of those working animals that helped coffee farmers get their product to market almost 200 years ago.
Beast of Burden
“Donkeys first came to Oah‘u as pack animals in 1825,” tells Dr. Brady Bergin, a Waimea based veterinarian who has spearheaded efforts with the Hawai`i Humane Society in recent years to care for and find adoptive homes for the Waikoloa herd. “A few ended up on the Big Island, working the higher elevation coffee farms on the slopes of Hualālai. They’re surefooted and hearty animals, and they can pack more per pound than horses.” The donkeys proved to be invaluable for the coffee farmers for more than 100 years, packing loads of coffee cherries from the rugged mountainside fields down to the drying and roasting facilities around Kona, and from there to the coast where the beans would be shipped to market.
After delivering their payload, the donkeys would be loaded with salt, fish, and other supplies, and the Nightingales would dutifully head back uphill to the farm, sometimes making the round trip by themselves, so familiar were they with the trails and task at hand.
After World War II, with more roads in place and a surplus of Army jeeps available, the donkeys were slowly phased out. According to a chapter on the Waikoloa Nightingales in Dr. Bergin’s forthcoming book, “The Hawaiian Horse” (with Dr. Billy Bergin), “Over the years, many of these working donkeys were released into the wilderness to fend for themselves, which they were more than capable of doing in the lush tropical environment (near Kona).”
How did the donkeys end up nearly 45 miles away in the Waikoloa area?
In 1974, Bergin tells, 30 donkeys were purchased from Hu‘ehu‘e Ranch by the Waikoloa Development Company for the purpose of developing a sort of Western ambiance for this newly established community.
“This new environment suited the donkeys very well. The dry, rocky terrain scattered with kiawe (algaroba) trees and copious amounts of fountain grass provided the most ideal conditions and their most natural habitat. The population steadily grew, and their grazing migration expanded over thousands of acres, well beyond the Waikoloa Village Association land and into neighboring ranches such as Parker Ranch. Without proper management, it wasn’t long before the population was deemed out of control.”
As resort development along the Kohala Coast expanded in these years, and with the opening of Queen Ka‘ahamanu Highway, the donkeys were cut off from their traditional watering holes near the coast. New homes and golf courses were being built too, and the by-now 600 or so free-ranging donkeys came to be regarded as more and more of a nuisance.
Preserving an Icon
Attempts were made over the years to round up the wandering donkeys and relocate them to an area mauka of Waikoloa Village, where fencing could keep them mostly contained. But after a major fire swept through the area in 2006 and drought conditions became severe, the donkeys would break through fences looking for water and food, often wandering into Waikoloa Village proper. Traffic issues and resident complaints multiplied. In early 2009, one concerned Waikoloa resident, Anika Glass, formed a group called Mālama Waikoloa Nightingales to support humane management of Waikoloa donkey herds.
Glass was also instrumental in bringing the Humane Society of the United States on board to help find a solution. “(Glass) was also instrumental in securing the support of my practice, ‘ ina Hou Animal Hospital,” Dr. Bergin writes. “I was able to donate time, services, and energy to help resolve the donkey overpopulation issues.”
By the summer of 2009, in the midst of historic drought, the feral donkey population reached a tipping point. “A rancher named Stan Boteilho was leasing the land at the time,” Dr. Bergin says, “and he approached me about what to do with the 600 or so donkeys that were roaming the land.”
Dr. Bergin toured the area on ATV with Boteilho and saw firsthand the problems facing the herd, including many weak from dehydration and some seriously injured. “The impact of what I had witnessed struck me to the very core of my animal husbandry upbringing,” he writes. “I knew that I could not simply walk away.”
In November 2010, the Waikoloa Donkey Rescue and Re-homing project officially got off the ground. Boteilho put out food and water and humanely trapped the donkeys, then delivered 70 head to Dr. Bergin at ‘ ina Hou Animal Hospital within a two-day period, where Dr. Bergin would neuter the jacks and prepare the donkeys for adoption. This was the beginning of what would become the largest capture and rehoming of donkeys in Hawai`i.
Nowadays, Bergin says, there are fewer than 100 still on Boteilho’s land, with many having been adopted out to local farmers and ranchers — Hōkūkano Ranch in Kealakekua, for example, took a large number of donkeys to return them to the area they were from originally — and some going to rescue groups in California. Two are at the Honolulu Zoo.
“The long-term goal,” says Bergin, “is to keep 25 or so in a controlled herd on Stan’s land to preserve this historic and unique aspect of Hawai`i Island.”
Lessons from a Master
For the third year in a row, noted golf instructor Bob May will bring his Golf Academy to Waikoloa Beach Resort. From June 6 - July 5, island golfers and visitors will have a chance to learn from one of golf’s best.
May notably pushed Tiger Woods to a three-hole playoff in the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla, during a year in which Woods was at the height of his dominance. The playoff ultimately went to Woods, but the golf world never forgot May’s tenacious play that day.
Nowadays, May imparts his PGA Tour experience, extensive knowledge of the swing, and his renowned emphasis on focus under pressure to golfers through his Las Vegas-based Academy, and now to golfers on Hawai`i Island.
May’s approach includes both the physical and mental game, for high-handicap players as well as juniors. From fundamentals to finesse, his instruction is inspired by and emphasizes the importance of what he calls “a passion for the game.”
The Bob May Golf Academy at Waikoloa Beach Resort will offer private lessons for adults, juniors, and couples, as well as “Trackman” performance analysis. It’s a unique opportunity to learn from one of the game’s best players and most determined competitors.
Located near the Kona Pool at Hilton Waikoloa Village is the island’s latest, greatest way for kids of all ages to splash around and have fun. It’s called Fishpipe Hawai`i and it’s billed as the “world’s first rotating barrel ride.” Up to three riders at a time are zippered inside the ball, 15 gallons of filtered water is pumped in for every new group, and the Fishpipe begins spinning while the occupants slide around in the bottom having a ball. The riders tell the operator how fast they want to go, so it’s as exciting or safe as you want it to be. The ride lasts for 90 seconds, which is like being on a mile-long water slide! You know you want to!
Hitting the High Notes
The little instrument with four strings brought out a big crowd for the 16th Annual Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival on Saturday, March 5, at Queens’ MarketPlace and Kings’ Shops. Thousands of ‘ukulelelovers, luthiers, musicians, families, and friends filled three performance areas to enjoy 15 mini-concerts by ‘ukulele notables, to learn about making the instrument, and sit in on playing lessons, kani ka pila style.
The day began with a free B.Y.O.U. (Bring Your Own ‘Ukulele) class taught by leading instructor Roy Sakuma, the founder of ‘Ukulele Festival Hawai`i, now in its 46th year. From there, the music was nonstop, starting off with the enthusiastic Thunderbirds, a high school ‘ukulele band from Anchorage, Alaska. High points included classic favorites Ohta-san and Nando Suan, the exciting style of Chris Fuchigami, Brian Vasquez, Kevin Haleamau, Alii Keanaaina, Hilo’s own Brittni Paiva, the power of Paula Fuga, and Taimane Gardner, who never fails to wow an audience with her unique blend of flamenco, Hawaiian, classical, and original fusion music.
In addition, visitors got a sneak preview of the new Hawaiian ‘Ukulele & Guitar shop, coming soon to Queens’ MarketPlace, where a large selection of instruments, as well as sheet music, CDs, strings, accessories, and a fun new line of t-shirts will be offered.
Twelve lucky festival attendees were selected to take home brand new, topbrand ‘ukulele, which Sakuma shared from generous sponsors. “We hope that all the winners will be inspired to play, and to come back next year and join in the music,” said Margo Mau Bunnell, Sales & Operations Manager, Waikoloa Land Company. “This year’s ‘Ukulele Festival broke all the records. More people came out, and the music was the best yet. It’s so great to see.”
The annual return to Hawaiian waters of the humpback whales — named for the motion they make as they arch their backs out of the water in preparation for a dive — is one of the most anticipated times in the islands, both for visitors and for residents. When we see the spouting, tail slapping, and athletic, full-body leaps from the water, even the locals stop by the side of the road, or pause what they’re doing to watch in gleeful wonder.
It’s painful to imagine, but these gentle giants who visit Hawai`i between November and March were once hunted close to extinction by whalers. The practice was sustainable — even if repulsive by today’s standards — through the 1850s and ‘60s. But once explosive harpoons were introduced in the late 19th century, the kill rate increased dramatically, and consequently the population of humpback whales saw a sharp decline.
Nowadays there are an estimated 140,000 humpback whales in the world’s oceans. This encouraging recovery was largely brought about when the International Whaling Commission gave the humpbacks protected status in 1966. Still, the number is only 30 - 35 percent of the species’ original population; and while stocks have partially recovered, today’s challenges include entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and noise pollution associated with sonar blasting the U.S. Navy was conducting until a recent agreement limiting the practice was reached.
A typical adult humpback weighs 40 tons, and lives 45-50 years. During their annual migration from summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator, they travel some 3,100 miles at speeds of three to nine mph. They can travel up to 1,000 miles per month.
Consultant and Naturalist Claire Muchin Shares Insights
One of the best ways to learn more about and watch the whales more closely is through a whale watch cruise, offered at Waikoloa Beach Resort by Ocean Sports (hawaiioceansports.com), a company that has been working in Hawai`i since 1981. We asked Claire Muchin, a consultant and naturalist on the Ocean Sports boats, to share some insights on the humpbacks.
NAUPAKA NEWS: The whales are late arriving in Hawai`i this year ... what would cause that? MUCHIN: Researchers aren’t sure. Some posit that the water stayed warmer longer in the northern areas where the whales feed, so they stayed longer to take advantage of the available calories. Others theorize that the whales migrated on their “normal” schedule, but stayed further offshore when they got to the main Hawaiian Islands because the coastal waters were “uncomfortably warm.”
NN: Does that also mean they will be staying longer than usual?
MUCHIN:The whales migrate to Hawai`i just to mate, calve, and take care of calves. As soon as they’re able to accomplish the particular task they came here to do, they’ll most likely leave (to get back to the food). We’ll know more sometime in May!
NN: Describe the migration ... where do the whales go, and when?
MUCHIN:The humpbacks that come to Hawai`i are part of the North Pacific population (there are 11 distinct populations who live in each of the world’s oceans). Of the approximately 20,000 - 22,000 North Pacific Humpbacks, about two-thirds come to Hawai`i. (The rest migrate to waters off of Baja California or the Southern Islands of Japan). For the most part, the humpbacks that come to Hawai`i migrate directly north and spend their summers off the coast of Alaska (from the Gulf of Alaska to the Aleutian Islands). Migration to Hawai`i from Alaska begins in autumn. Interestingly, individual humpbacks will not spend an entire winter here. They may spend as little as two weeks here before heading back … and if a female mates successfully on the way to Hawai`i, she may turn around and swim back to Alaska without even reaching the islands.
NN: We most often think of humpbacks as the primary species frequenting Hawaiian waters, but there are several other species also, correct?
MUCHIN:Humpbacks are the whales who migrate here, but as many as 18 different species of cetaceans live around the islands year-round. We encounter some of them frequently (like spinner dolphins), though most of the others live in deeper water (like sperm whales). But we do see some species like melon head whales, spotted dolphins, false killer whales, and pilot whales on occasion in the coastal waters.
NN: Climate change and warming seas are (pardon the pun) hot topics ... how do these phenomena affect the humpbacks’ migration patterns?
MUCHIN:We’re not really sure. Climate change may have had something to do with the later arrival of the whales this year … but we did start seeing them frequently on our charters by December 15th. Up until about four years ago, we didn’t even begin operating whale watch charters until that date because the whales hadn’t arrived until then. So actually, the earlier arrival of the humpbacks the past couple of years may have been the aberration ... and what we saw this year may have been the norm.
NN: How do those same conditions affect the health of the whales and their food sources generally?
MUCHIN: That’s a complex question with a complex answer. Many of the small prey fish (like herrings and anchovies) have been schooling nearer to shore in the past year, so that’s where the whales have been found. Everything in the ocean is interrelated.
NN: What are some of the other risks to the whale population these days? Navy sonar? Hunting? Ocean trash/plastics?
MUCHIN: All of the above. Also ship strikes, since the humpback population has increased, more whales are swimming in the shipping lanes. Big ships (like cargo ships) don’t often see the whales and have run into them.
NN: What are some of the main messages you try to get across to visitors on a whale watching cruise?
MUCHIN: We try to get our guests involved in the excitement of seeing the humpbacks and sharing the ocean with them. We’ve found that humpbacks themselves are the ones sharing the important messages.
On Friday, February 5, Queens’ MarketPlace came alive with the exciting rhythms of Taiko drummers and the pageantry of the Lion Dancers, as Waikoloa Beach Resort welcomed the Year of the Monkey.
Revelers brought lycee (red envelopes) ready with “lettuce” to feed the Lion and ensure good health and fortune in 2016. Queens’ MarketPlace restaurants set up booths in the courtyard and served delicious cuisine to more than 1,000 attendees.
Throughout the month of February, Waikoloa Beach Resort — from Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Kohala Suites and Bay Club, to the Kings’ Shops and Waikoloa Beach Marriott and Spa — welcomed the Year of the Monkey with festive celebrations and Lion Dancers
25th Annual Amer Ari Intercollegiate Golf Tournament
The 25th annual Amer Ari Invitational collegiate golf tournament was contested over The Kings’ Course at Waikoloa Beach Resort on February 4-6, 2016. The USC Trojans team (pictured left) emerged victorious with a cumulative score of 29-under-par, besting crosstown rival UCLA by 2 strokes.
The individual medal was awarded to Aaron Wise of Oregon, whose stellar three-round tally of 16-under-par earned him top honors over Rico Hoey of USC (-14) and Maverick McNealy (-13) of Stanford.
A Wednesday night lu’au, hosted by Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, welcomed all 18 participating teams to the island. Plaques commemorating their invaluable contributions were given to several of the people most responsible for the founding and continuing success of the tournament. Special recognition was given to Coach Earl Tamiya of UH Hilo, for his many years of service.
Past participants of the Amer Ari Intercollegiate tournament who have gone on to PGA Tour success include Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk, and others.
PGA Tour professional Jordan Spieth spent a good part of 2015 ranked as the No. 1 golfer in the world, leapfrogging with Jason Day and Rory McIlroy for the honors. He climbed steadily toward the top of the rankings with wins at the Valspar Championship (March) and The Masters Tournament (April), with two second place finishes between the victories. He finally made it to the top slot in August and has remained in the top three ever since.
But it was only four short years ago, 2012, that Spieth was at Waikoloa Beach Resort, a standout collegiate player at University of Texas, leading a talented Longhorns team to a No. 1 national ranking and a victory at the 22nd Amer Ari Intercollegiate tournament.
It’s remarkable, really, for a player to jump from collegiate standout to best player in the world in such a short span of time. How did he do it? Was it pure talent alone? Turns out that Spieth — and a long list of top players before him, including Matt Kuchar, Anthony Kim, and Notah Begay — along with their college coaches, view tournaments such as the Amer Ari to be a perfect testing ground for the PGA Tour.
Coach Tim Mickelson of Arizona State University (ASU) says, “I encourage every player on my team to have professional golf as a goal of theirs. If they don’t want to take their golf to the pro level, there’s no guarantee I can get them to give 100 percent every day during college. The Amer Ari is one of the best collegiate tournaments in the country. It always has one of the strongest fields every year and simply participating in the event gives the college players a great feel of where they fit in college golf. If you can win the Amer Ari, you know you are in elite company.”
Photo: The victorious 2012 University of Texas Longhorns team, led by Jordan Spieth.
Hard Work, Dedication
The current top-ranked collegiate player in the country is Michael Johnson of Auburn University. He and his teammates will once again be participating in the Amer Ari this February. Is it possible that Hawai‘i Island galleries will have a chance to see the next Jordan Spieth roaming the fairways at Waikoloa Beach Resort? If you ask Johnson, the answer is a resounding yes.
“My main goal in golf is to play on the PGA Tour,” he says. “I can see myself playing on Tour for a long time. The success of Jordan (Spieth) doesn’t surprise me at all. Everywhere he has played he has won; he is a special player. So it really wasn’t a big surprise to me. It just shows me that if you work hard and are a competitor you can win. It doesn’t make me work harder it really just makes me want to win more. I want to get out on Tour and compete with the best.”
ASU’s Mickelson — whose brother Phil has had a Hall of Fame PGA Tour career — says his goal is to have his players work and prepare just as the Tour pros do so they are prepared for professional golf after their four years in college.
“I believe that there is no substitute for hard work,” he says. “If you put in the right type of work, the right amount of work, truly dedicate yourself to your goal, and have some fundamentals, then we feel that will give them the best chance at a successful professional golf career.”
Photo: Stanford’s Maverick McNealy
The 10th Annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival Winners
The 10th Annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival took place November 11 – 14 at Hilton Waikoloa Village. In addition to highlevel competition among participating hālau from Japan, Hawai`i, and elsewhere, the Festival included workshops on hula, how to make traditional gourd rattles, cultural talks, and a rooted-in-culture fashion show. Competition winners were:
Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka
Kumu Hula Nāpua Greig
Soloist: Cheyann Kalama
Ka Leo O Laka I Iāpana Ka Pā Hula
`O Kaululehua Sensei Yumi Nitta
Hālau `O Mino`aka
Sensei Mino`aka Nagamori
Sport of Kings
Photographer and Hawai`i Island resident Kirk Aeder has captured the spirit and sport of surfing over the years, including many images of A-Bay.
Surrounded by an endless ocean with no other landmasses to obstruct it, the Hawaiian Islands draw open ocean swells from all directions,” Aeder says. “Along this coast we get primarily west and northwest swells, which is ideal.”
‘Anaeho`omalu Bay, fronting Waikoloa Beach Resort, is known to Hawai`i Island surfers as one of the better spots to catch waves along the Kohala Coast.
“When it’s 20 feet at Jaws (one of Maui’s renowned surf spots) it’s 6-8 feet here,” says photographer Kirk Aeder, a resident of Hawai`i Island since the early 1990s, whose resume includes published work in Surfer, The Surfer’s Journal, and other international magazines that focus on the sport. “But the surf here is cleaner and more manageable.”
Up and down the Kohala Coast, those “more manageable” waves are found in abundance, drawing beginners and aficionados alike. Aeder lists Hapuna Beach, Waialea (Beach 69), `Anaeho`omalu Bay (or more simply A-Bay), and Pueos as having the best “high-performance waves” on this side of the island.
There’s also Pua Ka`ilima Cultural Surf Park at Kawaihae, which hosts an annual longboard competition. This break is said to have been a favorite spot of Ka`ahumanu, wife of Hawai`i’s revered Kamehameha the Great, who himself was born in North Kohala and learned to surf along the Kona-Kohala Coast.
Though the origins of surfing — called he`enalu in the Hawaiian language, which translates literally to “wave sliding” — are lost to history, Hawai`i, and particularly Hawai`i Island, is where it is acknowledged to have evolved.
“In pre-European times,” writes Ben Finney and James D. Houston in their excellent book, Surfing, A History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport, “surfing was more than just catching and riding an ocean wave. It was the center of a circle of social and ritual activities that began with the very selection of the tree from which a board was carved and could end in the premature death of a chief — as was the result of at least one famous surfing contest in Hawaiian legend.”
Finney and Houston go on, “(William) Ellis, that adventurous missionary who hiked around the island of Hawai`i, described the islanders’ mass reaction to a sudden run of good waves: ‘the thatch houses of a whole village stood empty ... daily tasks such as farming, fishing and tapa-making were left undone while an entire community — men, women and children — enjoyed themselves in the rising surf and rushing white water.’”
Surfing lapsed into the background once the Boston missionaries arrived in the islands in the 1850s and began dissuading the Hawaiian people from showing their bodies and partaking in the traditional culture they had practiced for so many thousands of years in favor of a more prudent lifestyle. But by the early part of the 20th century, surfing had seen the beginning of a revival.
Indeed, when we think of surfing, the first images that come to mind are likely of the legendary Duke Kahanamoku on Waikīkī Beach from those days; or the 1960s and ‘70s, when big wave jockeys on O‘ahu’s North Shore began riding the face of 20-foot curlers at Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay, and Haleiwa, where the Triple Crown of Surfing was born and is still conducted.
As Much a Religion as a Sport
Even though O`ahu may be more famous nowadays, there are also those, like Aeder, who know where to find the best swells and breaks on Hawai`i Island, and for whom surfing the Big Island is close to spiritual.
“I moved to the Big Island in 1993,” Aeder says, “and it really opened my eyes. There are other areas where early evidence of surfing is seen, but Hawai`i is where it really came to fruition, and a lot of that happened on the Big Island.”
He points to Kahalu`u Bay, an ancient surf spot in Kailua-Kona once used by Hawaiian ali`i (royalty) and the Ku`emanu Heiau at the north end of the bay, where the ali`i would pray for good surf and probably shaped their boards.
Aeder also points out that one of Captain Cook’s lieutenants, James King, described seeing Hawaiians surfing in his journal entry from 1779 when their ships arrived in Kealakekua Bay:
“A diversion the most common is upon the water, where there is a very great sea, and surf breaking on the shore. The men, sometimes 20 or 30, go and lay themselves flat upon an oval piece of plan [board] about their size and breadth, they keep their legs close on top of it, and their arms are used to guide the plank, they wait the time of the greatest swell that sets on shore, and altogether push forward with their arms to keep on its top, it sends them in with a most astonishing velocity, and the great art is to guide the plan so as always to keep it in a proper direction on the top of the swell, and as it alters its direct. If the swell drives him close to the rocks before he is overtaken by its break, he is much praised.”
Many other writers — Mark Twain and Jack London foremost among them — have been taken with the art and sport of surfing over the years since Cook. London’s enthusiastic account of his experiences learning to ride a surfboard in Waikīkī, first published in Woman’s Home Companion and then reprinted in The Cruise of the Snark in 1911, helped to popularize surfing outside of Hawaii. It is, London said, the “royal sport for the natural kings of earth.”
“It is special to live in such a surf-laden area,” Aeder reflects. “I drive by the water and think, ‘This is where it all began.’ I can almost picture Kamehameha out there on his board.”
Waikoloa Beach Resort Welcomes Mai Grille
Hawai`i Island’s chefs are blessed with an abundance of fresh, local ingredients from the land and sea, as well as a food culture that is rooted in deep tradition. Chef Allen Hess is taking full advantage of all that bounty at his new eatery, Mai Grille, located inside the resort’s Kings’ Golf Course clubhouse.
Hess says it is his culinary mission to take fresh- raised foods from local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, and prepare them with state-of-the-art skills. “There’s a story behind each of the ingredients,” he says. “I personally know the people who provide the food, from fresh-caught ‘ahi to local zucchini.”
Mai Grille features Hess’s well-known “slow foods” philosophy of regional cooking, which he has practiced during stints at Alan Wong, Canoe House, his own bistro, Allen’s Table, and Merriman’s in Waimea.
“‘Slow foods’ is about more than how you cook the food,” Hess says, “but about how food is raised, buying seasonally appropriate ingredients, and taking your time to put the right foods on the plate. If you are buying fresh ingredients, it’s important to serve them when they taste the best. It’s also about supporting the community ... that’s part of our whole approach.”
The former Kings’ Grille closed for a two-week renovation in September, and reopened as Mai Grille on October 5, serving daily breakfast (such as a signature BLT with two eggs) and lunch (think grilled shrimp kabobs on toasted mac nut rice; or a “20/80 burger” with 20 percent ground bacon combined with 80 percent aged ground beef), with dinner service planned for a winter start.
Lava, Lava Everywhere
If your reaction to flying into the Kona International Airport for the first time was, “We just landed on the moon,” you are not alone.
The vast fields of brown and black lava one sees from an airplane window look quite a bit like what we’d expect of a lunar landscape. Stretching from mauka to makai all along the Kona-Kohala Coast, they are a stark and magnificent sight that not even those who have traveled far and wide are likely to have seen before.
Born of the molten issue from Hawai`i Island’s family of five volcanoes — Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai, Kīlauea, and the Kohala Range — the dozen or so distinct lava fields we drive through to reach Waikoloa Beach Resort from the airport (which itself is built atop a lava flow from Hualālai) are anywhere from 156 to tens of thousands of years old. The most recent eruption in this area came from Mauna Loa in 1859; the lava flow on which Waikoloa Beach Resort is built is thought to have occurred in 1800-1801.
Islands Born of Fire
On the south end of the island, 100 miles from the Kohala Coast resorts, Kīlauea Volcano has been spewing lava continuously for more than 30 years, sitting atop the underwater “hot spot” in the 3,600-mile-long Hawaiian Island-Emperor Seamount chain.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “All the Hawaiian Islands owe
their existence to this hot spot in the Earth’s mantle that has changed location only slightly over the past 70 million years. Countless eruptions of lava fed by the hot spot built volcanoes that eventually grew above sea level to form (the Hawaiian) islands.
“But because the seafloor on which they were built was continually moving northwestward across the hot spot at a rate of 7-9 centimeters per year, eventually each volcano was torn away from the hot spot and carried northwestward, just as a conveyor belt moves material from one location to another. Such is the (eventual) fate for the active volcanoes on the Big Island, though they will be replaced by new volcanoes.”
A Language All Their Own
Volcanoes have their own language and here in Hawai`i, even their own goddess. Visitors are sure to hear stories of Pele, the fire goddess of volcanoes; discover the difference between ‘a‘ā (sharp, brown) and pāhoehoe (smooth, black) lava; drive past cinder cones and pu‘u formations; and view spatter ramparts, lava tubes and caves, and crustal overturnings by the side of the highway.
Why so much variation in the look and texture of our lava fields? “All Hawaiian lava is black when it first cools but may turn more brownish as the iron in the lava oxidizes with rain and time,” says James Kauahikaua, a geophysicist with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. “The type of lava — ‘a‘ā or pāhoehoe — is the result of sheer stresses within the liquid lava while it is flowing. Higher eruption rates characteristic of the early days of an eruption usually produce ‘a‘ā lava, whereas lower eruption rates usually produce pāhoehoe lava. There is no substantial difference in chemistry between the two forms of lava.”
The early Hawaiians made creative use of the dominant material they had on hand, using the lava rock to build boundary fences, pens for livestock, heiau (religious platforms), and fishpond seawalls among many things.
Adjacent to the fishponds fronting the Waikoloa Beach Mariott Resort & Spa, two rock structures (thought to have been constructed in the 1300s) were used for the highly structured, religious system of the Hawaiians. The men’s eating house, or Ka Hale Mua, is the larger of the two and consists of three rooms. Men visited to worship the gods and eat food together. Women were forbidden to eat with men in ancient Hawaiian times. The sleeping house, or Noa, is a one-room structure where men and women met freely and slept together.
In some areas, the pāhoehoe lava was used for carving petroglyphs, with some of the best of the state’s best petroglyph fields preserved within Waikoloa Beach Resort. With no written Hawaiian language, it is speculated that these rock carvings may be a sort of historical record of families, commemorations of significant events, or even astronomical symbols.
A tour of the Waikoloa petroglyph fields is offered every Thursday and Friday from 9:30 to 10:30 am (groups meet lakeside, next to Island Fish & Chips in Kings’ Shops).
Also running through the lava fields of Waikoloa Beach Resort is Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, which includes a section often referred to as the King’s Trail, which at one point linked communities, temples, fishing areas, and other important locations on Hawai`i Island. This was also the route the ali‘i of old traveled to visit their people for religious ceremonies and other ritual events.
Running for 175 miles from ‘Upolu Point near Hawi, through Kona, past South Point, and all the way to the eastern border of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail was officially formed in 2000 for the purposes of preserving the sensitive ecosystems, cultural sites, and indigenous species found along its route. The trail in the area of the Kohala Coast beach resorts is part of the first 75 miles to be preserved under the new Historic Trail system, and makes for a fascinating day hike.
In addition to being the pathway of the ali‘i, the original trail was an important transportation corridor for the early Hawaiian people. Although canoes were the principal means of travel, the trail allowed for overland transportation of food, water, building materials, and other necessities. Fed by connecting trails, it also facilitated trade between the shoreline fishing villages and the upland farming villages.
Though many of the old trails have been lost to erosion and changing land use, with the establishment of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, the remaining portions of the main coastline trail will be preserved and protected for future generations.
So while it may seem like you’ve landed on the moon when you first arrive, you haven’t. But you certainly have landed in one of the most unique and fascinating corners of paradise.
Ties to the Ocean
“The wa‘a shaped the Hawaiian people physically, intellectually and spiritually as much as the Hawaiians shaped the logs that became their canoes.”
—Renowned Hawaiian artist and historian Herb Kane.
According to the Kumulipo, Hawai`i’s sacred creation chant, everything in the universe is connected and everything in the universe has a consciousness. The Kumulipo describes the traditional Hawaiian view that man is the younger sibling of nature, and how it is the responsibility of man to look after the needs of nature, just as it is the responsibility of nature to care for the needs of man. When these responsibilities are met, man and nature achieve balance.
Perhaps nowhere is this balance more apparent than in the island people’s relationship to the ocean, and to the Hawaiian canoe, the wa`a. One of the most important tools in the culture and history of the islands, great double-hulled seafaring canoes were the vessels on which the original Hawaiians came to the islands from other parts of the Pacific in the first place. Once here, canoes were vital to the Hawaiians’ sustenance and survival, providing the means by which they could fish and travel between islands.
When Captain Cook arrived in Kealakekua Bay in 1779, he was greeted by some 1,500 canoes, a clear indication that the Hawaiian people centered their lives in and on the ocean. There were so many canoes, in fact, that Cook’s men thought they could walk to the shore stepping from canoe to canoe.
Fittingly, great ceremony was associated with every aspect of the canoe, starting with finding and hewing the perfect tree, a process overseen by a kahuna. The first Hawaiian canoes were crafted of koa wood, a species of hard wood endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and often found deep in the upland forests. After days of prayer and work, the chosen log would be hauled — some weighing thousands of pounds and measuring up to 70 feet in length — to a special shelter by the sea, where it was carved under the kahuna’s watchful eye and plentiful blessings into a sacred vessel that would eventually be launched into the water.
Waikoloa Canoe Club
Some wa‘a are still built in this traditional fashion, notably the Hōkūle`a and the Big Island’s own Makali`i, which have faithfully replicated those early double-hulled canoes used by ancestral Hawaiians, and have made numerous voyages around the Pacific.
But the greater majority of outrigger canoes these days are made of fiberglass and used by racing teams as well as recreational paddlers, including an increasing number of keiki (youth). Daniel Legler is the head coach of Waikoloa Canoe Club, an organization whose mission is to “strengthen family and community relationships, improve ourselves both mentally and physically, help eliminate social differences, create positive interdependence, and help preserve local customs and traditions by perpetuating the sport of outrigger canoe racing.”
Based on the beach at Anaeho‘omalu Bay in front of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and adjacent to Lava Lava Beach Club, Legler was named head coach in February. “Most of the keiki are from the Waikoloa community with some from Waimea,” Legler says. “Paddling is a great way for them to learn about the Hawaiian culture, learn about the ocean, and have some fun at the same time. When they start at that age, paddling becomes part of who they are, part of what they carry with them through life.”
Of the 200 or so paid members of Waikoloa Canoe Club, Legler estimates 30- 40 are keiki (aged 5-10 years old) and most of those are girls. In addition to the keiki and `ohana (recreational) programs, Legler also oversees the Club’s racing programs.
“There has been phenomenal support from local paddlers for a new focus on racing,” he says. “A lot of people wanted to see us be more competitive.”
With an extensive paddling resume that over the past two racing seasons includes winning the Lili`uokalani Masters title and the State Masters Long Distance Championship at the Henry Ayau Memorial, and placing high in the Hawaii State Masters Regatta Championship and the Moloka`i Hoe Masters World Title, Legler says his experience in these events, participating alongside master paddlers, changed his perspective.
“I learned so much about technique and culture,” he says, “but also about respect for the ocean, how to understand the waves and the weather. It is a humbling sport.”
A Hawaiian Tradition
Waikoloa Beach Resort guests have the opportunity to watch the canoes in action on August 29, as the Great Waikoloa Canoe Race (sponsored by Waikoloa Beach Resort and Lava Lava Beach Club) takes place in Anaeho`omalu Bay; and a busy practice schedule finds canoes and paddlers in the water almost every day of the week. Resort guests can also learn about and even try paddling for themselves, as Legler can be found at Anaeho`omalu Bay most days. Similarly, Club Beach Director Ed Teixeira is usually found on Thursday mornings on the beach sharing his knowledge of the Hawaiian traditions, language, and techniques of paddling with the `ohana paddlers.
“When someone gets in a canoe,” Teixeira says, “they are stepping into Hawaiian history. It is important for them to know something about that. In the pre- Western contact days there were canoes of all types that the Hawaiians used for transportation and fishing. In the days of Kamehameha I, canoes were used to conquer and unite the islands.
“Nowadays, the sport of outrigger canoe padding is the state sport. We have managed to take a sport of the past and make it modern, while still adhering to the traditions of the past. This is not only true in Hawai`i, but in many other parts of the Pacific also. We are very proud that Hawai`i has been a catalyst for the resurgence of canoe paddling throughout the world.”
A Farm-to-Table Bounty
Building on the enthusiasm generated by Hawai`i Island’s inaugural participation last year, the opening night of the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival is once again taking place at Waikoloa Beach Resort on Saturday, August 29, with the theme “Seven Chefs, One Big Island.” The presenting chefs include both Jayson Kanekoa from the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and Hans Lentz of Hilton Waikoloa Village. They will be joined by Floyd Cardoz (White Street, New York, NY), Michael Meredith (Meredith’s Restaurant, Auckland, NZ), Paul Qui (qui, Austin, TX), Richard Rosendale (U.S. Representative Bocuse d’Or 2013), and Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger, Wellesley, MA).
“With more than half of the agricultural lands in the state on Hawai`i Island, there is a diversity of local products for our chefs to choose from,” says the Festival’s co-founder Alan Wong. “With local beef, coffee, abalone, and kampachi sourced from Hawai`i Island, we look forward to seeing some great innovation and creativity from our guest chefs.”
But it is not only the visiting Food & Wine Festival chefs who have this bounty of ingredients from which to choose, but local chefs and home cooks also. In addition to the products Chef Wong lists, farmers on Hawai`i Island grow heirloom tomatoes, several varieties of lettuce and mushrooms, strawberries, all types of root vegetables, breadfruit, many herbs and spices, macadamia nuts, and much more. Specialty products include local honey, gourmet ice cream, sea salt, and chocolate. Mangos and avocados the size of softballs grow wild and can be bought on the side of the road in some places for as little as 50 cents. The island’s cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and food products is all on display at a number of popular weekly farmers markets. For starters, Waikoloa Beach Resort guests need look no further than Kings’ Shops, where a Wednesday farmers market takes place. Up the hill in Waikoloa Village, a new Saturday market recently started; and in Waimea, a Wednesday market and two Saturday markets are popular with visitors and locals alike.
Chefs and restaurants from Waikoloa to Hawi, Waimea to Honoka`a have long taken advantage of this abundance.
One chef who intimately understands what the land provides is Jayson Kanekoa of Waikoloa Beach Marriott. Kanekoa was born and raised near Waipio Valley on the northeastern shore of the Big Island, and says his love of cooking Hawaiian-inspired foods and flavors comes from his grandfather, a taro farmer who made his own poi. “We use locally sourced ingredients as much as possible,” Kanekoa says. His sources include JA Farms in Waimea, from which he gets a variety of herbs. “It is a great feeling to be able to share the foods I grew up enjoying with resort guests from around the world.”
Chef Scott Lutey at Sansei Seafood, Steak & Sushi Bar in Queens’ MarketPlace is adamant about using local ingredients in as many of his dishes as possible. “There is no comparison to having local produce picked daily and delivered,” Lutey says. “The flavor and texture can’t be beat. We get to know the farmers so there is a personal connection; we tour the farms to see what they do. They are all very proud of what they produce. Tourists come here to try items from Hawai`i, so aside from great products, it’s a great selling point.”
Lutey cites Hirabara Farms as his source for greens; WOW Farms and Nakano Farms for tomatoes and cucumbers; Nakamoto Farms for his baby bok choy; and Adaptations for specialty items, herbs, fruits, greens, and micro garnish. Lava Lava Beach Club also uses a number of locally grown products on their “farm-to-beach” menu, including local greens in their salads, local tomatoes in the gazpacho, and fresh-as-can-be fish caught daily in the waters near Kona. “Whenever possible we work with locally sourced ingredients. Our island is home to some of the greatest produce, dairy, and of course, fish, Hawai`i and the Pacific have to offer,” says partner Scott Dodd.
The Feeling is Mutual
The farm-to-fork movement is nothing new to Hawai`i Island. During World War II, many local farmers expanded their fields to provide fresh food to the 50,000 troops who were suddenly stationed in Waimea. Then, with the surge of new resorts on the island in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, chefs began to work closely with Hawai`i Island farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to supply their restaurants and the growing tourism industry. But it is clearly a two-way street, as the growers, ranchers, and fisherman have also come to rely on strong resort and restaurant ties for their livelihood.
Owners Kurt and Pam Hirabara supply greens for signature salads at Sansei. On less than two acres, Hirabara Farms in Kamuela manages to produce 13 types of lettuces, at a remarkable rate of 350 pounds a day.
Nakano Farms, run by Richard and Patsy Nakano, produces mainly tomatoes, but also Korean cucumbers, haricot verts, sweet corn, and melons in Kamuela. Their products are used at Sansei Seafood, Steak & Sushi Bar and other local establishments. And the Hodson family at WOW Farms in Waimea grow mainly organic tomatoes (including Mahiki heirlooms) on their 10 acres of Hawaiian Homestead land, and are known for producing some of the tastiest tomatoes in the state. WOW products are used in local restaurants and available at farmers markets for home chefs to use and enjoy.
As for seafood, many chefs (including Lutey at Sansei) use Kona Fish or Kona Cold for the freshest catch imaginable. Among the plethora of local fish they provide are ahi, ono, mahimahi, opah, kampachi, swordfish, opaka, moi, as well as lobster, shrimp, and abalone.
In the end, of course, it’s diners who reap the tasty benefits, a fact reinforced every time they dine at a local restaurant or whip up a tasty meal at home … and as the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival will once again clearly demonstrate in late August.
The Paniolo Connection
Visitors to Waikoloa Beach Resort enjoy the magnificent oceanfront location, multitude of recreational and cultural activities, and delightful shopping and dining.
But as anyone who has explored the island will attest, a rich paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) and ranch tradition can be found in the green upcountry just a short drive away from the resort, a tradition that is still a driving force in preserving the culture and beauty of the island today.
Parker Ranch is the oldest, largest, and most famous of the island’s ranches. Centered in Waimea, Parker Ranch was founded in 1816 when a young sailor named John Parker Palmer, who jumped ship in 1809 and befriended King Kamehameha I, married Chiefess Kipikane, the King’s granddaughter. The couple was granted two acres of land, and from those humble beginnings a great ranch was born.
The cattle for which the Ranch came to be renowned, and around which the paniolo culture grew, were a gift from British Captain George Vancouver to King Kamehameha I in 1778. Kamehameha set the five cattle free to roam the island, and declared them kapu (off limits). Over the next 20 years, those five multiplied into thousands, causing Kamehameha and his heirs to look for ways to contain the herd, which soon began wreaking havoc on families and gardens.
After participating in the War of 1812, Parker returned to Hawai`i permanently, and brought with him a new, state-of-the-art American musket. Kamehameha gave Parker exclusive permission not only to shoot the now-pesky wild cattle, but to supply meat and hides for local and foreign consumption.
In 1832, Kamehameha III sent one of his high chiefs to California to hire Spanish-Mexican vaquero (cowboys) to help train Hawaiians to rope and handle cattle. Because they spoke Spanish (Español), they were called “paniolo” and the island soon embraced their colorful traditions of music, cuisine, family values, and hard work.
A VISION FOR THE FUTURE
The land which Waikoloa Beach Resort now occupies was once part of the vast Parker Ranch holdings. At its height in the 1930s and ‘40s, Parker Ranch encompassed more than 500,000 acres and 30,000 head of cattle, stretching from the slopes of Mauna Kea down to the lava-strewn shoreline along the Kohala Coast.
But as market conditions and economic realities changed, Richard Smart — the sixth generation heir and last private owner of Parker Ranch — authorized the sale of low-yield pasture land along the coast for resort development. That decision turned out to be brilliant, for in addition to providing Parker Ranch with the funds it needed to continue operations, it also set the table for a tourism-based economy on the island in a time when the sugarcane industry was waning.
The first such sale Smart made was to Laurence Rockefeller in 1963, who purchased the land surrounding Kauna‘oa Bay at the north end of the coast, on which he developed Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. “It is land the cows don’t like but the tourists love — hot and barren,” Smart said in an interview with People. In 1969, the Ranch sold the land surrounding Anaeho‘omalu Bay to the Boise Cascade and Signal companies, and the development of Waikoloa Beach Resort got underway.
According to an article commemorating the Ranch’s 150th anniversary in 2012 by Jan Wizinowich, “This was a hard decision; both areas were special gathering places for the ranch ‘ohana.”
Les Purdy, who has been employed at Waikoloa Beach Resort for more than 43 years, remembers those days well. “There was almost nothing down here back then,” he says. “The Ranch had built a house on the beach near the fishponds [that now front the Marriott].You had to bring in your own water. We’d come in by boat, as there was no road access. But it was great. As a kid I would come down with my family to fish and play on the beach.”
PANIOLO PAST & PRESENT
Purdy’s father, Martin, was a paniolo for Parker Ranch for 33 years, and his grandfather, Ikua Purdy, was one of Hawai`i’s most famous cowboys. Ikua is perhaps best known for winning the steer-roping competition at the 1908 Frontier Days celebration in Cheyenne, Wyoming, competing alongside two other now-legendary paniolo, Archie Ka‘au‘a, and Jack Low. The trio wowed the Mainland crowds with their cowboy hats decorated with colorful flower lei, but more so with their exemplary skills as cattlemen.
A statue of Ikua Purdy is on permanent display at Parker Ranch Center in Waimea and many other examples of the still-active paniolo lifestyle are easy to find. Anyone interested in seeing a master saddle maker at work, for instance, can stop into Kua‘aina Saddlery at Pukalani Stables — the center of Parker Ranch’s horse breeding operation for many years — and strike up a conversation with Pete Gorrell, who will tell fascinating stories of the cowboys of yesteryear, as well as share the secrets of working with leather.
Also at Pukalani Stables is the Paniolo Heritage Center, where a collection of historic saddles, photos, and artifacts from the Ranch’s early days is found, as well as the Paniolo Hall of Fame. Additionally, an annual 4th of July Rodeo takes place at the nearby Parker Ranch Arena; and a traditional Paniolo Parade is held as part of the Hawai`i Island Festival each September, where both horses and riders are adorned with intricate and colorful flower lei on a parade route that leads along the main highway in Waimea.
For visitors to Waikoloa Beach Resort, as well as for appreciative residents who enjoy its graceful ways, the paniolo connection is alive and well on Hawai`i Island.
Asu State Captures Amer Ari
The Amer Arti Invitational, the prestigious annual collegiate golf tournament hosted by The University of Hawai`i Hilo and staged at Waikoloa Kings’ Course, was held February 5-7, 2015. Seventeen teams from across the United States and one team from Japan participated, with the Arizona State Sun Devils emerging victorious. The University of Washington Huskies placed second, 2 strokes back; with USC and Oregon tying for third 3 strokes off the pace.
Individual honors went to Cheng-Tsung Pan of Washington with scores of 65- 65-69—199 (-17), bettering Maverick McNealy of Stanford by 2 strokes.
Over the years, some of the brightest young stars in the game have played the Amer Ari before finding success on the PGA Tour, including Jordan Speith (Texas, 2012), Notah Begay (Stanford, 1994), Matt Kuchar (Georgia Tech, 1999 and 2000) and Anthony Kim (Oklahoma, 2004).
Free Wiliwili The Waikoloa Dry Forest Initative
Hawai`i Island is uniquely beautiful, with its vast lava fields of black and brown, its perfect beaches and bays, rolling green upcountry, and towering mountains. There’s nowhere else like it on earth.
But as lovely as it is today, the landscape looked much different 200 years ago, when much of the upcountry was blanketed by thick sandalwood forests, and many other genus of trees flourished on the mountain slopes. Among the most magnificent of the endemic flora is the wiliwili tree, which was once found in abundance in the drier, lower elevations.
Once common on the terrain now occupied by Waikoloa Resort’s golf courses and the dry forest areas surrounding Waikoloa Village a few miles mauka, the lands on which the wiliwili trees thrived became degraded over time by ungulates (hooved animals such as goats, pigs, and cattle), invasive plants, fire, and dumping.
PRESERVE, PROTECT, AND RESTORE
Enter Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative, a group whose mission is to “preserve, protect and restore a remnant native Hawaiian dry forest ecosystem through land management, outreach, education and grass roots advocacy.” Founded 10 years ago by a group of concerned residents, including Beverly Brand and members of the Outdoor Circle, a 75- year lease for 275 acres was procured from the Waikoloa Village Association to create a sanctuary where the wiliwili trees and other dry forest species could be protected and restored. Located just southwest of Waikoloa Village, the land was fenced off, and restoration work was begun. “The fence helped get rid of the ungulates,” says Jen Lawson, Executive Director of Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative. “That was the first important step.”
Next, a squad of volunteers started working on cleaning up the land, and readying it for replanting. “Wiliwili trees were populous on the island at one time,” Lawson says, “but we’ve lost about half of the entire population here in Waikoloa over the last 10 years, and likely the same overall.” She speculates that there are around 60 trees left in the preserve, maybe 200 in the Waikoloa zone, and no more than 1,000 on the island, but stresses that because the trees are not protected no data has been collected.
In addition to degradation of habitat, Lawson says many of the trees are simply dying of old age. With a maximum life span of around 350 years, if no seedlings (Lawson calls the young trees “keiki”) are sprouting, the species becomes even further threatened.
Under Lawson’s guidance, the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative has been busy planting trees, and not just the wiliwili. As they worked the land, the group also discovered several rare uhiuhi trees, so they started replanting those as well.
“These trees can survive in super-harsh environments,” Lawson says. “They just need a little help from us. Both of these species were significant in Hawaiian culture, so it’s important for them to survive. The uhiuhi tree was used in making tools, weaponry, and housing. It is a dense wood … heavier than water. The wiliwili tree is super light, and was used in making the ama (float) on outrigger canoes and surfboards.”
A field biologist by training, Lawson says the group’s goal is to one day improve access to the site by improving the road, as well as have the preserve open for self-guided tours. She also hopes to construct an interpretive center with staff on-site.
For the time being, “We try to accommodate people as much as we can,” she says. “We interact with all the schools, and our Future Foresters Program brings kids in every other Saturday. We’ve also had groups from the resorts come up by appointment … a group from Hilton Grand Vacations was up recently and really enjoyed the experience.”
REASON TO HOPE
Lawson is also passionate about getting both wiliwili and uhiuhi wood (from dead trees only) into the hands of artists so that, much like koa, the qualities and beauty of each tree will come to be further appreciated. Legendary Hawaiian surfer, surf historian, and Olympian Duke Kahanamoku (1890- 1968) once noted that the olo (18- 24 feet long) board designs of the old Hawaiian ali‘i were often made from the wood of wiliwili trees.
Though the task of restoring the dry forests of Waikoloa is a big one, Lawson is optimistic. “With a rainy year like 2014,” she says, “more than 500 keiki came up out of the ground and about one-third of them made it!”
That ray of hope, along with the additional exposure and support the preserve received last September during the Wiliwili Festival — scheduled to coincide with one of the best flowering seasons in recent memory — and Lawson feels the group’s efforts may be starting to turn a corner toward recovery and restoration of the dry forest.
“I tell the school kids who come and visit us here that, ‘If something is bothering you in the environment, do something about it!’” she says.
With positive examples like Lawson and the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative leading the way, the future for Hawai`i’s keiki — both human and tree — has been planted.
Let Us Entertain You
From hula competitions to big-name bands such as America there is always something happening at Waikoloa Beach Resort. Hawai`i is blessed with a wealth of cultural traditions, brought to the islands over the past two centuries from the world over. From Portugal to Japan, from China to the Philippines, and of course from almost every Pacific Island group, this rich heritage is easily seen in the food, dance, art, and music that visitors encounter during their stays. This is particularly true at Waikoloa Beach Resort, where this cornucopia of home-grown talent is complemented by world-class bands and shows that the resort presents on a regular basis.
A Happening Place
“We made a decision a couple of years ago to expand the scope of our entertainment efforts,” says Scott Head, Vice President Operations for Waikoloa Beach Resort. “Nowadays, our resort guests know they can expect exciting entertainment whenever they visit; and the local community does too. Whether it’s the many authentic cultural programs found here on a daily and weekly basis, or the marquee talent such as the band America, who were just here in September, everyone knows Waikoloa Beach Resort is the happening place for entertainment on the Kohala Coast.”
In addition to America — which graced the Grand Ballroom stage at Hilton Waikoloa Village on September 27 and played songs from their more than four-decade catalogue of music, including “Horse with No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” and “Sister Golden Hair” — over the past years Waikoloa Beach Resort guests have seen mega-bands such as Chicago, Journey, and Earth Wind & Fire.
“The response to these shows has been overwhelming positive,” Head says. “These are the kinds of events that really distinguish the resort and engage not only our out of town visitors but the local community as well.”
Special occasions will find acts such as the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra who brought their Swing Era sounds to the Waikoloa Beach Marriott in August. Comedy is even on the schedule at the Voodoo Room at Kings’ Golf Course Grille, with Kona Kozy’s Comedy & Magic Show. Kozy, who has been described as “a kahuna of magic and comedy” is the #1 ranked activity on island.
“It’s all about striking a balance,” Head says. “We want our guests to enjoy all the Hawai`i Island culture and ambience that makes the Big Island so special, while at the same time delivering the big shows that everyone in the community will be interested in seeing.”
Christmas in Hawai`i is nowadays celebrated much the same as it is elsewhere in the Western World, with tree-lightings, Santa appearances, gifts, and holiday feasts. And though these traditions weren’t embraced in the islands until the Boston Missionaries brought them in the early 1800s, the original Hawaiians did celebrate what was called Makahiki season. Makahiki consists of four lunar months — November through February — and during this season war was kapu (forbidden), religious ceremonies were observed, offerings were made to the ali`i, and the people spent their time feasting, playing sports, and practicing good will toward others.
Waikoloa Beach Resort guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a full schedule of holiday entertainment Hawaiian style, with everything from the Sasha Knowles Dance troupe performing “Nutcracker with a Twist” to the Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Handbell Choir.
And if you’re a fan of your favorite holiday songs played on a Hawaiian guitar, you will want to see “John Keawe’s Hawaiian Christmas” on December 23. Keawe, one of Hawai`i Island’s favorite guitar players and native sons, is a Grammy-winning slack-key guitarist and composer. His 1996 recording, Christmas Is, gained popular acclaim for his enchanting instrumental takes on Christmas songs.
“My Christmas album was all slack key instrumentals,” Keawe says. “I’ll be playing some of those songs during the show, as well as some other Christmas songs that include my wife and grandkids singing and dancing hula. For me, Christmas is a family time. In fact, several of my Christmas songs were inspired by my grandkids. I overheard them wondering how Santa was going to get to the islands, so I wrote “Santa’s Coming Over the Rainbow.”
Not to be outdone, Waikoloa Beach Resort’s many restaurants and talented chefs will be dishing up seasonal fare with Hawaiian touches over the next couple of months. At Hilton Waikoloa Village, the culinary magic kicks off with a grand Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 27. In addition to a carving station with turkey and prime rib of beef, patrons will be treated to a variety of island-style dishes such as five spice pork belly with coconut sticky rice, and pan-seared fresh island fish, along with a variety of locally flavored desserts such as chocolate macadamia nut pie.
At Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, special Christmas fare will be served both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On December 24, a Royal Luau is on tap, featuring delicious Hawaiian food including kalua pig fresh from the imu pit and holiday desserts. And at Hawaii Calls Restaurant, a Christmas dinner buffet will be offered both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, where a bountiful feast will include lamb chops, mahi mahi, prime rib, chilled jumbo shrimp, and egg nog cheesecake, along with other holiday treats.
“It’s always the right time of year to visit Waikoloa Beach Resort,” Head concludes. “But with the special entertainment we have planned and the unbeatable food at all of our restaurants, it’s hard to beat being here during the holidays.”
The tagline for Waikoloa Beach Resort is “The Gathering Place of the Kohala Coast,” and it is well earned. With more shops, restaurants, concerts, sporting events, and cultural activities than anywhere else along the stretch of coastline from the airport to Kawaihae, there really is a lot going on at Waikoloa.
“Everything we do at Waikoloa Beach Resort is geared toward both enhancing the guest experience and supporting the local community,” says Scott Head, Vice President Operations. “Whether it be the many authentic cultural programs found here on a daily and weekly basis, or high-quality entertainment that comes in for special occasions, resort visitors and the Hawai`i Island community alike benefit.”
Among the many happenings at Waikoloa Beach Resort are:
Each week throughout the resort, numerous activities are offered that spotlight everything from Hawaiian culture — such as hula shows, ‘ukulele lessons, lei making lessons, and petroglyph tours — to local musicians, a Wednesday farmers’ market, and more. Family fun is emphasized with monthly movies under the stars and monthly concerts.
WHEEL… OF… FORTUNE
During the month of September, Wheel of Fortune, which reaches 28 million weekly viewers, will return to Waikoloa Beach Resort with its cast and crew of 270 to tape 20 episodes at Hilton Waikoloa Village. The shows will be divided into four themed weeks: “Wheel Goes Waikoloa,” “Best Friends,” “Hawaiian Adventure,” and “Second Honeymoon.” The episodes are slated to air in November and February.
The renowned band known as America will grace the Grand Ballroom stage at Hilton Waikoloa Village on September 27 and play songs from their more than four-decade
catalogue of music. You can be sure they’ll crank it up with mega-hits “Horse with No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” “Sister Golden Hair,” and many more. This is one of several major concerts sponsored by Waikoloa Beach Resort, which over the past years have also featured marquee names such as Chicago and Earth Wind & Fire.
HAWAI`I FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
Hawai`i Island and Waikoloa Beach Resort hosted the opening night of the Hawaii Food & Festival on Friday, August 29. Themed “Aloha ‘Āina, Aloha Kai — Love of the Land, Love of the Sea,” the six-course sit-down gala dinner was held at Waikoloa Beach Marriott in partnership with Hilton Waikoloa Village. Participating chefs included Charles Charbonneau of the Hilton Waikoloa Village and Jayson Kanekoa of Waikoloa Beach Marriott, along with several visiting chefs from Hawai`i and the Mainland. “To have the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival here at Waikoloa Beach Resort is a true testament to our resort’s commitment to the culinary culture of the island,” said Chef Charbonneau. “Not only does this event showcase the bounty of local produce, meats and seafood, but it raises money for some very worthwhile causes.” Last year, for example, the Festival raised more than $200,000 for local beneficiaries committed to sustainability and cultural and educational programs in Hawai`i.
TASTE OF THE RANGE
On September 26, the 19th Annual Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival will be held at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Thirty of the state’s top chefs will converge on Waikoloa Beach Resort to prepare dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, and wild boar; along with a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices, and beverages. While “tasting,” attendees can meet Hawai`i’s food producers and talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing our food. They can also enjoy exhibits related to local agriculture and healthy foods.
THE GREAT WAIKOLOA CANOE RACE
Hosted by the Waikoloa Canoe Club, the 12-mile Great Waikoloa Canoe Race is one of outrigger canoe racing’s premier events on the Big Island. The 2014 race took place on August 23, staged in Anaeho‘omalu Bay. Canoe building and paddling are two of the more significant aspects of traditional Hawaiian culture, and this race gives both the local community and visitors to the island a chance to see and interact with dedicated paddlers whose stated mission is “to strengthen family and community relationships, improve ourselves both mentally and physically, help eliminate social differences, create positive interdependence, and help preserve local customs and traditions by perpetuating the sport of outrigger canoe racing.”
SWINGIN’ WITH THE TOMMY DORSEY ORCHESTRA
“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing,” Duke Ellington once said. On August 17, the Waikoloa Beach Marriott sponsored the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in their Naupaka Ballroom, and the community came out to swing and dance to the tunes of one of the greatest big bands of the Swing Era. Presented by the Kahilu Theater, this jumping night of live music featured 25 musicians, singers, and dancers on stage, along with tributes to Benny Goodman, Harry James, and Artie Shaw. Hilo’s Hep Cats made a special appearance.
HAWAI`I ISLAND FESTIVAL— 30 DAYS OF ALOHA
This month-long celebration seeks to perpetuate the cultural traditions and aloha spirit of the Big Island through various signature and affiliated events. Among those held at Waikoloa Beach Resort in August were: Investiture at Anaeho‘omalu Bay; the Ms. Aloha Nui 2014 Pageant, honoring the “beautiful, boldest, and large” women of Hawai`i; the ever-popular Poke Contest; and the amazing Kindy Sproat Falsetto Concert, this year honoring the late Pua Garmon, the event’s longtime and beloved chairperson who recently passed away. Suffice to say, there’s always something happening at Waikoloa Beach Resort … “The Gathering Place of the Kohala Coast!”
Tropics Ale House
Waikoloa Beach Resort welcomes its newest restaurant, Tropics Ale House, which opened for business in August in the space formerly occupied by Buzz’s Sand Trap. Guests will find 24 craft brews on tap — including a nice selection of West Coast and local IPAs — eight rotating on a regular basis, along with what managers Sergio Ellis and Brian Flynn promise will be “the best pizza on the Kohala Coast!” Alongside pizza, regular menu items such as sliders and ribs will be complemented by lunch and dinner specials. To-go orders are welcome (perfect for hotel guests) and several flat screens will be showing the days sports in a relaxed atmosphere overlooking the Beach Golf Course. Tropics is under the same ownership as Tropics Tap House in Honolulu, well known for its lively entertainment, jubilant atmosphere and popular pizza.
Located within Waikoloa Beach Resort (a right turn at the fifth stop sign), Tropics Ale House is open for Lunch and Dinner daily, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., with Happy Hour 3-6 p.m. Live entertainment is provided Friday and Saturday night, with breakfast and Bloody Mary bar offered during football season.
Left: May working with 2005 U.S. Women's Open Champion Birdie Kim
As anyone who plays golf regularly knows firsthand, the game can be both fun and frustrating … often on the same hole. We buy new clubs, spend hours at the practice range, and try every new swing technique we see on the Golf Channel … all in the hopes of shaving a few precious strokes off our handicaps.
One of the most effective ways of improving your game is taking lessons from a PGA professional; better yet, a professional who has played on the PGA Tour. For guests at Waikoloa Beach Resort, other hotels and resorts on the island, as well as for residents of Hawai`i Island, that opportunity is coming your way during the month of July, as the Bob May Golf Academy takes up residence at the Kings’ Course from July 2 - 31.
May burst into the national golf spotlight at the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla. Though he had played on the 1991 Walker Cup team (with Phil Mickelson) and won the British Masters in 1999, it was at Valhalla that he really shone. There, he tied Tiger Woods — then in the midst of an historic year — at the end of 72 holes and the two played what has become a legendary three-hole playoff. Though Tiger prevailed, May’s determination, calm demeanor, and shot-making skills impressed golf enthusiasts around the world, and inspired Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck to write, “May played like a champion. Woods played like a god…”
Mickey Holden from The Golf Channel prepares to interview May before this year’s PGA Championship
It looked like a turning point for May, a Southern California native who played his collegiate golf at Oklahoma State University. Indeed, he had breakout years on the PGA Tour in 2000, 2001, and 2002. In addition to pushing Tiger to the brink at the PGA Championship, he won more than $2 million in prize money and finished in the top 25 more than 20 times during that span, raising him to the elite level of the PGA Tour.
Unfortunately, he says, “I injured my back at the Byron Nelson in 2003 and didn’t touch a club for more than two years.” He made a comeback in 2006/2007, finishing second once and in the top 10 several times, but the pinched nerves he experienced a few years earlier and the nagging pain that ensued never really allowed him to compete at the level he knew he was capable of on a consistent basis. “Plus,” he says, “my kids were getting a little older and my focused shifted to them. I wanted to change my quality of life.”
Kim and hugging it out with Tiger Woods at the 2000 PGA Championship
The decision to start a golf academy and share his insights into the swing and the mental side of the game came to him one day on the practice range in his hometown of Las Vegas. “A buddy of mine who owned the course said, ‘You should open a golf academy,’” he says. So with his friend, Jeff Gallagher, another PGA Tour standout, he did just that. “I used to travel in a big bus when on Tour,” May says, “and Jeff used to travel with me quite a bit.”
The two traveling buddies launched the Bob May Golf Academy in 2012, with two locations now open in Las Vegas. As to his teaching philosophy, May says he learned a lot from the golf professional from whom he took lessons as a kid, Eddie Merrins. Affectionately known as “Little Pro,” Merrins espouses a method he calls “Swing the Handle” that is widely praised. “As a tour player, I don’t want to hear the swing goes here to there,” said Fred Couples. “I mean Swing the Handle, how much simpler can it get?”
But in addition to teaching swing mechanics, May equally emphasizes the mental side of the game. “I learned so much from Little Pro,” he says, “I was always thought of as a non-emotional player, but that’s what Little Pro taught me. He said he shouldn’t be able to tell if I was playing good or bad … you don’t want to be on an emotional roller coaster on the golf course.
“Getting nervous is natural, but it’s what you do with it that makes a difference. I’ve played in all the majors, and so I’m personally familiar with all the emotions that someone can have on a golf course. If you are properly prepared and emotionally in check, then you are ready to play your best and reach your goals. Winning a golf tournament is not the goal; winning a tournament is the reward for reaching your goals.”
Private, one-on-one lessons with Bob May for adults, juniors, and couples, as well as all-day clinics, all with “Trackman” performance analysis, can be scheduled by calling (702) 595-1950 (Las Vegas). Discounted package rates for multiple lessons with the same golfer are also available. See waikoloagolf.com for details
So while you may not be in a playoff with Tiger Woods anytime soon, nor playing against the best players in the world on the PGA Tour, May’s teaching philosophies can help you become a better player and reach your goals, whether those goals include breaking 100 for the first time or breaking 80 for the first time.
“I’m hoping to bring my knowledge of the game not only to the locals on the Big Island, but to guests of Waikoloa Beach Resort,” May says. “I feel very fortunate to have played at the highest levels of the game. But for me it is equally rewarding to be able to share my knowledge and give back to the game that has given so much to me.”
Spoken like a true champion.
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune, reaching 28 million weekly viewers as America’s top-rated game show, makes a triumphant return to Hawai`i to tape on the Big Island for the program’s 32nd season. Featuring footage captured on-island, in September, the 20 episodes will fall into four themed weeks: “Wheel Goes Waikoloa,” “Best Friends,” “Hawaiian Adventure,” and “Second Honeymoon.” The arrival of the 270-person cast and crew to Hilton Waikoloa Village and Waikoloa Beach Resort marks the fifth time Wheel of Fortune has taped in Hawai`i since 1996. The episodes are set to air weeknights in November and February on KHON2 in Hawai`i, and on 210 syndicated stations on the mainland.
Memorable cuisine adds greatly to a memorable vacation, and in Hawai`i, dining is one of the true pleasures of your stay.
For guests staying in Waikoloa Beach Resort, there are more than 30 dining options scattered throughout the resort, serving everything from deliciously prepared and exceedingly fresh seafood to pizzas and burgers to local-style barbecue to ethnic favorites. Venues range from sit-down meals in scenic settings, to grab-and-go snacks and fast food for busy schedules.
Four years ago, to celebrate the excellence and diversity of Hawai`i’s cuisine, two of the Aloha State’s most prominent chefs, Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s Restaurants) and Alan Wong (Alan Wong’s Restaurants), launched the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival. Noted for bringing together the “who’s who” of internationally acclaimed master chefs, master sommeliers and top-tier winemakers from Hawai`i, the mainland U.S., Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan, this year’s Festival takes place August 29 – September 7.
The big news for Hawai`i Island this year is that the opening night of the Festival (Friday, August 29) will be held at Waikoloa Beach Resort. Themed “Aloha ‘Āina, Aloha Kai — Love of the Land, Love of the Sea,” the six-course sit-down gala dinner is being held at Waikoloa Beach Marriott in partnership with Hilton Waikoloa Village.
“With strong support from Hawai`i’s hospitality and visitor industry, the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival is able to continue to expand to our neighbor islands,” says Roy Yamaguchi. “We hope to bring the Festival and our celebrity chefs to all of the major Hawaiian Islands by 2016 to benefit the Hawai`i’s culinary and agricultural community statewide.”
“With more than half of the agricultural lands in Hawai`i on Hawai`i, the Big Island, there will certainly be a diversity of local products for our chefs to choose from,” says Alan Wong. “With local beef, coffee, abalone and kampachi sourced from Hawai`i Island, we look forward to seeing some great innovation and creativity from our guest chefs.”
Participating chefs at the Waikoloa dinner include Charles Charbonneau (Hilton Waikoloa Village), Jayson Kanekoa (Waikoloa Beach Marriott), Sheldon Simeon (MiGrant restaurant, Maui), Mark & Tedd Pomaski (Full Moon Café, Hilo), Marcel Vigneron (Modern Global Tasting, Inc., Los Angeles), Sherry Yard (Helms Bakery, Los Angeles) and Jenn Louis (Lincoln Restaurant, Portland).
“To have the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival here at Waikoloa Beach Resort is a true testament to our resort’s commitment to the culinary culture of the island,” says Hilton Waikoloa’s Chef Charbonneau. “Not only will this event showcase the bounty of local produce, meats and seafood, but it raises money for some very worthwhile causes.” Last year, for example, the Festival raised more than $200,000 for local beneficiaries committed to sustainability and cultural and educational programs in Hawai`i. Charbonneau says he also relishes the opportunity to work with other chefs, and points out that several of his kitchen mates that evening were born and raised on Hawai`i Island, giving the event a very authentic flavor.
Chef Kanekoa of Waikoloa Beach Marriott, for example, was born and raised near Waipio Valley on the northeastern shore of the Big Island. Kanekoa says his love of cooking “Hawaiian inspired” foods and flavors comes from his grandfather, a taro farmer who made his own poi. “It’s great to be able to share the foods that I grew up eating with visitors from around the world,” he says.
Among the visiting chefs, Sheldon Simeon, executive chef at MiGrant restaurant on Maui, says he had so much fun at last year’s festival that it was a no-brainer to participate again. “Plus,” he says, “being born and raised on Hawai`i Island, I was very excited to take part in the Friday night dinner. My cooking is influenced by my Filipino heritage. That’s what is super-cool about growing up in Hawai‘i … if you grew up here, you have a sophisticated palette, even if you don’t realize it. You’re familiar with cuisines from all over the Pacific … Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Chinese … all the foods we grew up with. What I’ll be contributing at the Food & Wine Festival dinner is something with a Filipino influence…I guarantee you that!”
Pomaski, who own Full Moon Café in Hilo, are first-time participants in the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival. They too grew up on Hawai`i Island, and though both eventually left for the mainland, taking separate paths to culinary success, they moved back to Hilo last October. “My brother always says this island is like a pantry for us,” says Mark. “We buy our fish locally, and as much of our produce locally, as well. And, we integrate ourselves into the community, something I learned when working for Roy Yamaguchi. You have to give back.”
The Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival is the perfect opportunity for these talented chefs, emerging and renowned alike, to give back to the Hawai`i Island community, while at the same time showcasing the creative cuisine that helps makes Hawai`i such a special place to visit.
On Sunday, March 30, nearly 1,000 athletes gathered at Waikoloa Beach Resort to compete in the 2014 Lavaman triathlon. The event, which consists of a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer ride and a 10-kilometer run, is considered one of Hawai`i’s premiere races, drawing entrants from around the world.
This year’s overall female winner was Magali Tisseyre (33) from Victoria, British Columbia; and overall male winner was Tim Marr (35) from Honolulu. Highlighting the age diversity of the athletes, a total of seven competitors were ages 70 and older, with two aged 79.
More than 150 keiki aged 5-14 showed up at Anaeho’omalu Bay on Saturday, March 29, to compete in the LavaKids Aquathon, with 9-year-old Henry Eggers of Cheyenne, Wyoming, taking first place in the boys division; and 8-year-old Jada Keen of Kailua- Kona taking the girls title. This popular swim/run competition has taken place adjunct to Lavaman for 13 years, and race director Gerry Rott has recently announced plans to expand the scope of LavaKids significantly, offering year-round programs for kids to “take control of their own health.”
DREAMY DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS
Hawai`i is considered one of the most romantic places on earth, and Waikoloa Beach Resort is no exception. The year-round 80-degree weather, temperate swimming waters, gentle trade winds, and swaying palm trees are the perfect spot for a destination wedding, and enough to tempt couples back year after year for their wedding anniversaries, special occasions and annual fun-in-the-sun vacations. At Waikoloa Beach Resort, Hawai`i’s natural attractions are enhanced with an unbeatable array of amenities ranging from golf to world-class dining to luxuriant spas to shopping for unique items from original artwork to tropical chic fashions.
“It is so easy to relax and reconnect with your loved one here at Waikoloa Beach Resort,” says Scott Head, Vice President of Resort Operations. “Guests can fill their days with shared activities such as bike riding, snorkeling and standup paddle boarding, or seek out secluded corners to quietly while away their time in paradise. Whether they are looking for the perfect romantic dinner or that special gift, guests to Waikoloa Beach Resort have unlimited choices and will easily find what they are looking for.”
Waikoloa Beach Resort has also proven to be an ideal spot for a destination wedding. At Hilton Waikoloa Village, for example, four outstanding wedding locations are available, including Hale Aloha, a Plantation-style chapel with ocean views and doors and windows that open up to let the warm breezes blow through. Koa wood furnishings and a lovely stained glass picture window add gracious Hawaiian touches to the ceremony. “Waikoloa is a very special place to have a wedding,” says Ms. Robin Paulos, Catering Manager at Hilton Waikoloa Village. “In addition to the amazing location, it is our goal to ensure that every aspect of your special day happens exactly as you dreamed it would. We will prepare your favorite dishes, serve your favorite libations ... you name it and we are at your service.”
At the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, guests can choose from a number of very attractive wedding packages, or create a completely customized event that speaks to their specific needs and desires. Included in every package are the basics: wedding site, minister, flower lei (a must in Hawai`i!), music, and upgraded accommodations for the bride and groom’s entire stay. Add-ons to wedding packages can include champagne, cake service, additional flowers, cheese platters, and a stay in the resort’s luxurious Cabana Suite on the wedding night.
Mr. Enoch A’ana of Pele’s Wedding & Events is the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa’s wedding and events partner. His passion to create the perfect wedding makes for very satisfied couples. “We’re excited about every element,” he says, “from the way the tables are set, to the moment you enter as bride and groom, to your final farewell.”
Couples don’t have to be getting married to find the romance of Waikoloa Beach Resort. Depending on shared interests, anything from a late afternoon round of golf to a long sunset stroll on the beach followed by a candlelit dinner can make for a very romantic experience.
Here are some suggestions on ways to make YOUR vacation at Waikoloa Beach Resort more romantic:
There are dozens of romantic ways to spend your dreamy days and starry nights at Waikoloa Beach Resort … make your Hawaiian vacation time special!
Visit WaikoloaBeachResort.com for information and updates on golf, dining, and other opportunities throughout the resort.
Cocktail at Lava Lava Beach Club
Order your favorite cocktails, kick off your shoes, and dig your toes in the sand, and a smile immediately comes to your face. That’s a surefire recipe for a romantic experience. You can do just that with your loved one at Lava Lava Beach Club, where tables are set up in the sand close enough to hear the splashing waves of the ocean. Stay for dinner under the stars and your evening will be complete.
Late afternoon round of Golf
If you and your significant other enjoy playing golf together, sign up for a late afternoon tee time on the Beach Course. The crowds and the heat of the day will be past, and what you’ll have instead is a leisurely stroll in the park, in idyllic light and temperature, with a colorful sunset and breaching whales.
photo courtesy of Waikoloa Village Beach Resort Golf
Table 12 at Roy’s
Everyone has their favorite dish at Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill at Kings’ Shops, from locally caught and expertly prepared fish dishes to locally sourced farm fresh vegetables, all bearing the trademark European sauces and spicy Asian flavors that have made Roy Yamaguchi one of Hawai`i’s most respected chefs. To make your dinner even more romantic, ask for table 12, located in the back corner of the restaurant with windows on all sides looking out upon the serene lake behind Kings’ Shops.
photo courtesy of Waikoloa Village Beach Resort
Shoreline walk along ‘Anaeho’omalu Bay
This expansive stretch of white sand beach that fronts the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is a great place to spend a romantic day. Activities here include snorkeling in protected waters, windsurfing and standup paddle boarding, swimming, or enjoying quiet hours doing nothing more strenuous than reading a book. Behind the beach are two ancient Hawaiian fishponds that once served Hawaiian royalty, and a walking trail follows the coastline to the neighboring Hilton Waikoloa Village, passing tide pools, ponds, and a turtle sanctuary where green sea turtles can often be spotted sunbathing on the sand.
photo courtesy of Waikoloa Village Beach Resort
Champagne Sunset Sail
There’s no better way to end a day than with a sunset cruise with Ocean Sports along the beautiful Kohala Coast on a power catamaran. Their Paniolo Barbeque Buffet is included in the cruise and includes BBQ ribs, fried chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, green salad, guava dinner rolls, and dessert — all prepared by an award-winning local chef. Sip on beverages from their complimentary open bar featuring island brews on tap, the Captain’s Signature Cocktails, and refreshing tropical juices. Toast the elusive Green Flash with Champagne at sunset - a perfect end to an island day.
photo courtesy of Waikoloa Village Beach Resort
Sunset Romantic Dinner at Buddha Point
Let the skilled staff of Hilton Waikoloa Village set up a special oceanfront table for you overlooking a colorful sunset at Buddha Point. The Red Sunset option includes a chef’s tableside preparation of chilled crab and avocadotini with cognac aioli; and butter poached cold water lobster tail with grilled Angus tenderloin among other delicacies.
photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village
GOLF’S FUTURE STARS SHINE AT WAIKOLOA KINGS’ JAN| FEB 2014
When Jordan Spieth teed it up as part of the U.S. Presidents Cup team in October, it showed clearly that he had reached an elite level among the world’s best golfers. When you consider that 2013 was his rookie season on the PGA Tour — a season that saw him win once and net nine top-10 finishes out of 23 events played Chips— Spieth’s status among the stars of the sport is that much more amazing.
But it was only two years ago that Spieth and his Texas Longhorns were competing in the annual Amer Ari Tournament at Waikoloa Beach Resort. One of collegiate golf’s most important tournaments, many participants in this event have gone on to successful careers on the professional tours and throughout golf. Past medalists include some of today’s best-known PGA Tour stars, including Notah Begay (Stanford, 1994), Matt Kuchar (Georgia Tech, 1999 and 2000), and Anthony Kim (Oklahoma, 2004).
In February, you can see golf’s future stars up close and personal as they tackle the Waikoloa Kings’ Course, when the Amer Ari returns for its 24th playing (February 5 – 8, 2014). A total of 20 teams are scheduled to participate this year, including seven of the top 25 ranked teams in the U.S. Golf fans will get a chance to see No. 2-ranked Georgia Tech — led by No. 1-ranked NCAA player Ollie Schniederjans — along with No. 3-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 11-ranked Stanford University, and No. 15-ranked UCLA. This year’s field is among the best of any tournament in the country.
“We are proud to have the Amer Ari played on the Big Island,” says Earl Tamiya, men’s head golf coach at the University of Hawai`i Hilo, which is the tournament host. “It’s a chance to see some of golf’s brightest young stars in action.”
The Kings’ Course has proven to be an ideal layout on which to contest the Amer Ari over the years. Requiring a combination of length to handle the 7,074-yard tournament tees and accuracy to avoid the lava rock out-of-play areas and yawning bunkers, even the most accomplished players can have their hands full. And then there are the ever-present trade winds that are so typical of Hawai`i golf.
“The public is welcome to come watch the action,” says Kevin Ginoza, head golf professional at Waikoloa Beach Resort. “It will be interesting to see how these talented collegiate golfers handle the challenges of the Kings’ Course, particularly if we get some wind.
“But one of the other great things about the tournament being played at Waikoloa Beach Resort is that resort guests can play the same course,” Ginoza says. Designed by the renowned team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, Ginoza says, “The Kings’ Course demands respect and delivers reward. It’s got the length and the trade winds to protect par, and delivers the right mix of tough challenge and exciting play for a great day of golf.”
Resort guests also enjoy the Beach Course, an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that winds its way past historic petroglyph (Hawaiian rock carvings) fields, and through dramatic lava formations before emerging at the signature ocean side 7th hole. The 7th green sits on a lava peninsula, framed by a sweet curve of coconut palms, while waves crash on the rocks below to send sea spray billowing into the air. In whale season, it’s not uncommon to spot the spouts and splashes of humpback whales as they breech and slap the surface, or spinner dolphins playing just offshore.
At just more than 6,500 yards from the back tees, the Beach Course is a fun and scenic round of golf for all players…and just perfect for budding Jordan Spieths!
Annually ranked as one of the best golf resorts in the United States by the national publications, Waikoloa Beach Resort offers everything a golfer — or a golf fan — could ever want.
BIG ISLAND BOUNTY
A traditional lū‘au includes an imu pig, shown being removed from the earthen oven where it is cooked. The lū‘au tradition in Hawai`i dates back almost 200 years. When first introduced by King Kamehameha II in 1819, it represented a complete break with ancient Hawaiian custom which saw men and woman eat their meals separately, and commoners and women of all ranks were forbidden to eat certain delicacies.
But in 1819, Kamehameha II abolished many of the “outdated” traditional religious practices, and to symbolize this break with the ancient ways, he brought men, women and ali‘i together for a regal feast, and the lū‘au was born.Today’s lū‘au are often spectacular affairs with Polynesian music, chanting and dancing, and of course bountiful plates of food. One of the best examples of the traditional lū‘au that resort guests can experience is found at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.
“Our Sunset Luau is definitely traditional,” says Chef Jayson Kanekoa. “We do an imu pig that goes into the ground at 8:45 am and comes out at 5:45 in the afternoon… plus traditional poke and poi as well as comfort foods.” (Waikoloa Beach Marriott is renowned for their poke, having won first prize in the annual Great Waikoloa Poke Contest for three years running.) Following dinner, the Sunset Luau presents a Polynesian review during which guests enjoy traditional songs and dances from Hawai`i and elsewhere in the Pacific.
Born and raised near Waipio Valley on the north shore of the Big Island, Kanekoa says his love of cooking “inspired Hawaiian” foods and flavors comes from his grandfather, a taro farmer who made his own poi. “It’s great to be able to share the foods I grew up eating with visitors from around the world,” he says.
TASTES OF THE WORLD
In addition to excellent lū‘au, the cuisine of the islands offers a great diversity, reflecting the many peoples and cultures who have migrated to Hawai`i over the years. At Waikoloa Beach Resort, visitors can find authentic Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Italian cuisines among others, as well as a very popular and unique blending of local ingredients with traditional American preparations aptly called Hawai`i Regional Cuisine.
In all, Waikoloa Beach Resort features close to 30 different dining options, from sitdown meals in scenic settings, to grab-and go snacks and fast foods for busy schedules; from juicy burgers in the Kings’ Grille after a round of golf, to an aromatic cup of coffee enjoyed during a morning stroll. Some of Hawai`i’s best-known and well-established chefs have eateries at Waikoloa Beach Resort, including Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill), Peter Merriman (Merriman’s Mediterranean Café), and D.K. Kodama (Sansei Seafood, Steak & Sushi Bar).
Nationally known chains such as Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Dairy Queen/ Orange Julius, Marble Slab Creamery, Starbucks Coffee, and Subway Sandwiches & Salads share the Waikoloa food stage with local chefs and restaurants unique to the Big Island, such as Charley’s Thai Cuisine, Island Fish & Chips, Paradise Pizza & Grill and Lemongrass Express.
“At Ippy’s Hawaiian Barbecue,” Aiona says, “we serve a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch. It’s a mix of food from all the different cultures that came to Hawai`i… foods I grew up with on the Big Island. We have Korean chicken, teriyaki beef, plantation-style beef stew…a mix of what plantation workers would have eaten, but dressed up a bit by me. And yes, we serve two scoops mac, one scoop rice,” he says, referring to the beloved side dishes of the traditional plate lunch in Hawai`i.
Aiona’s second eatery at Waikoloa Beach Resort is The Three Fat Pigs Restaurant and Gastropub. “A ‘gastropub’ is a place for us younger chefs to cook creatively, offer a great selection of craft beers, and do it in a fun setting,” Ainoa says. “At Three Fat Pigs the menu changes all the time, depending on what’s seasonal and local. We also have a big selection of craft beers from Maui Brewing, Kona Brewing, Sierra Nevada and elsewhere. It is really a place for me to share what I know about food and have fun doing it!”
BAREFOOT & HUNGRY
At the beachfront Lava Lava Beach Club you can get some sand between your toes and enjoy lunch or dinner prepared by the same folks who have been pleasing visitors and locals alike for many years at Kona’s renowned Huggo’s. Surrounded by swaying coconut trees and tropical trade winds, Lava Lava features fresh fish tacos and burgers as well as Chef Jeff Readman’s creative preparations of steak, Hawaiian seafood and more.
“Lava Lava is an absolutely perfect spot for a restaurant,” Readman says. “The water is right there in front of you. We’re a casual, fish tacos type of restaurant during the day, but more fine dining during the evening…even though you can still come in with no shoes and no shirt. In that regard, it’s unique in the state…the only four walls are in the kitchen…everything else is open to the outdoors.”
With a dinner menu that includes everything from hukilau chowder to ahi burgers to lobster tails, Lava Lava sources as much as they can locally. “The ingredients we find on-island are some of the best I’ve ever seen anywhere,” Readman says. “The lettuce, seafood, beef, mushrooms…it is all wonderful, and cooking with such fresh ingredients is a treat.”
A special beer dinner is planned (Nov. 9) with suds from the Big Island Brewhaus, and Readman says they are working on a series of wine dinners too.
RESORT FARE EXTRORDINAIRE
Over at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, in addition to a popular, thrice-weekly lū‘au , seven dining options range from the Lagoon Grill (casual dining overlooking frolicking dolphins in the Dolphin Lagoon) to Kamuela Provision Company, a Pacific view sit-down dinner restaurant where steaks and fresh seafood are featured along with a Wine Spectator-awarded wine list. For a great breakfast buffet with a lagoon view, Big Island Breakfast at Water’s Edge is the popular choice, and after a day of fun, several tempting options await you for dinner, including Dona & Toni’s Pizza, Imari Teppan & Sushi, and Kirin Chinese.
In Tune with the Islands
Music and dance tell you as much about the people, culture, and traditions of a place as any guide book ever could. When you hear mariachis serenading, you understand something about the romanticism of Mexico; likewise, the swinging beat of ragtime jazz clues you in to the festive, rollicking mood of New Orleans.
In Hawai`i, it is the hula dancers, ukulele and guitar players, and the falsetto singers who reflect the cultural depth and poetic soul of the Hawaiian Islands. At Waikoloa Beach Resort, the beautiful sounds and sights of island-style music and dance are seen and heard every day of the year.
“You can be sitting poolside at one of the resorts, strolling through our shopping centers, or enjoying a meal... chances are an authentic Hawaiian musician or dance troupe will be there to entertain you,” says Scott Head, Vice President of Resort Operations. “There are also special performances throughout the year where we bring in bands such as Chicago for our guests and the local community. We believe music and dance are relaxing, entertaining for the entire family, and often educational, too. That’s why providing high-quality local entertainment for our guests is a priority throughout the resort.”
John Keawe is a perfect example of a well- known local musician who enjoys sharing his talents with Waikoloa Resort guests. A Hawaiian musician and slack key guitar player from Hawi in the North Kohala district of the Big Island, Keawe has toured throughout Hawai‘i and the Mainland U.S., but says he particularly relishes his regular Tuesday evening (7 pm) performances on Center Court Stage at the Kings’ Shops. “My passion since the 1970s has been to write songs and use the Hawaiian slack key,” Keawe says. “My songs are very reflective of life on the Big Island. When people hear me sing — particularly on songs such as “The Big Island…Is My Home” — I hope they get just a little better understanding of what a special place the Big Island is.”
On the first, second, and fifth Wednesdays of each month (7 pm), Hula dancers are entertaining, but reflect the deeper cultural roots of the Islands. Kahulanui (The Big Dance) performs on Center Court Stage at Kings’ Shops to the delight of listeners. A four-man band, Kahulanui’s music is inspired by three generations: from grandfather Robert Kahulanui Naipo, to dad Rodgers L.L. Naipo Sr., to grandson and Kahulanui band leader, Lolena Naipo Jr. Lolena remembers the stories his grandfather would tell of being a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band during an era when horns and drums were a part of Hawaiian music, a style which influences his playing today.
The Poetry of Hula
Hula dance has become beloved around the world. But there’s nothing quite like experiencing a hula performance in its birthplace of Hawai`i. Stop by Kings’ Shops any Friday afternoon around 6 pm and you will find a talented local halau (troupe) showcasing their talents. Aulani’s Hula Halau (who also perform at Queens’ MarketPlace) showcase their talents on the third and fifth Fridays of each month; while Na Kamali`i O Kona Halau performs on the first Friday of each month; and Halau Waiau performs on the fourth Friday of each month.
“The resort is a nice forum for our youngsters,” says Lani Isaacs, executive director of ‘Alohi Polynesian Dance Academy, whose halau performs on Fridays at Queens’ MarketPlace. “They study the art of hula during the week, and when they get to perform what they know it is truly an educational experience. I tell my audiences that I hope they truly experience the essence of Hawai`i while they are here, and we want to show that there is more to hula than what is depicted in Hollywood movies. The hula is an art ... it is not just coordinating hand and foot movements ... it is a discipline. What makes the hula different than other dance disciplines is that it is a study of our language, our history, our traditions ... our dancers are perpetuating their culture through the hula.”
Queens’ MarketPlace comes alive with hula every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the center also features live music by local artists every third Saturday at the Coronation Pavilion (6 - 8 pm). A good family experience, the Coronation Pavilion offers hardscape and lawn seating and is conveniently located close to the Queens’ MarketPlace Ono Food Court, where you can find everything from pizza to Hawaiian barbecue to Subway sandwiches to ice cream.
“In 2013,” Head says, “the Queens’ MarketPlace decided to have monthly ‘mini- concerts’ in the Coronation Pavilion area to feature local groups from the Big Island that played different genres of music.” Indeed, there has been something for everyone to enjoy, from the soulful jazz music of Tropical Vibrations to the melodic vocals of Betsy Curtis; from a Bluegrass concert by Friends of Bluegrass to the hip-hop-contemporary style of Mystic Rythmz.
Upcoming monthly mini-concerts include Ekolu Mea Nui with popular Hawaiian music entertainers Kunia Galdeira, Kevin Kealoha and Grammy Award winner Sonny Lim; Krazzy Bone, a rock and roll band from Hilo; and Hawaiian Soul artist Pomai Longakit (of Pomai and Loeka).
Concerts, Movies & More
But the entertainment at Waikoloa Beach Resort doesn’t stop with music and dance. Every fourth Saturday of the month, families gather for the ever-popular “Movie Under the Stars” night at Queens’ MarketPlace. This monthly event is free to the community and offers a safe outdoor setting for everyone to enjoy family friendly movies.
Hawaii Island Festivals 30 Days Of Aloha
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Saturday, September 7