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May 2008

Hawai`i News

The Great Waiomona (Wyoming) Centennial Celebration

Paniolo Events to Be Celebrated in Wyoming and Hawai`i


Bronze statue honoring famed paniolo Ikua Purdy in Waimea on the island of Hawai`i

Photo from Paniolo Preservation Society


Waimea, Island of Hawai`i - Savvy stewards of the land and founders of a culture that has endured in Hawai`i for more than 200 years, Hawai`i’s cowboys will be honored in 2008 for their contributions to this island state’s heritage and culture.

Both Hawai`i Governor Linda Lingle and Harry Kim, mayor of the County of Hawaii, have declared 2008 “Year of the Paniolo” (Year of the Cowboy).

In Waimea, the acknowledged headquarters of Hawai`i’s ranch industry, a calendar of events is planned centering on rodeo champion Ikua Purdy, who roped and rode his way to victory at the 1908 Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.

The Great Waiomina Centennial Celebration – Waiomina is Hawaiian for Wyoming - will include trail rides, rodeos, concerts and a large component of education to reach into the public and private schools around the state.

The Celebration is being spearheaded by Paniolo Preservation Society (PPS) a Waimea based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving paniolo tradition as an integral part of the history of Hawai`i and the American West.

“The Waiomina Celebration honors generations of Hawai`i paniolo as stewards of our `aina (land) and perpetuators of the Hawaiian culture and all things ‘cowboy.’ The Celebration especially commemorates paniolo Ikua Purdy, who set the cowboy world on its ear by winning the steer roping competition at the 1908 Cheyenne Rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming,” says Dr. Billy Bergin, President of PPS.

Preparations for the Waiomina Centennial Celebration have been underway for the last year and a half and a “ Sister City” bond between Cheyenne and Waimea has been established. A result of these preparations is the national recognition garnered for two famous Hawaiian cowboys

In October 2007, Purdy, a former Parker Ranch paniolo, was inducted into the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame; a delegation from Hawai`i, including family members and PPS representatives, were in attendance at the Wyoming induction.

A second ranching great, John Palmer Parker, founder of historic Parker Ranch on the Island of Hawai`i, will be inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Great Westerners this April. Parker was nominated for recognition by PPS and the museum’s acceptance of Parker as a “Great Westerner” will draw additional attention this year to the role ranching has played in Hawai`i’s heritage and in the American West. The Hall of Great Westerners, limited to 200 Americans with Western ties, includes Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower, John Muir, Willa Cather and Samuel Houston.

PPS plans to have a large delegation of Hawai`i artisans, cowboys and dignitaries at July’s Cheyenne’s Frontier Days; a two-year exhibit of paniolo history will be displayed in Cheyenne’s Old West Museum starting in May.

A reciprocal visit from Cheyenne is expected this August for the Great Waiomina Centennial Celebration fete that includes trail rides, a paniolo music concert, the Old Hawaii on Horseback extravaganza, barbecues and rodeos.

A focus for the celebration is PPS’s goal of public awareness and education regarding Hawai`i’s ranching and paniolo heritage. Students in North Hawai`i schools are having their history curriculum enhanced and poetry, story and art contests are planned. A curriculum is being created that will be available to all schools in Hawai`i.

"Paniolo are often recognized for their skills at riding horses and roping cattle, but they have contributed so much more to communities throughout the islands. From introducing methods of land and water conservation to making advances in veterinary medicine to spearheading botanical surveys and agronomical improvements, they have helped shaped Hawaiian history and the Hawaiian way of life,” explained Dr. Bergin.

Ranching had its start in the Hawaiian Islands with Captain James Vancouver’s presentation of a small herd of cattle or pipi (Hawaiian pronunciation of beef) to King Kamehameha I in 1793. Today there are 800 established ranches in Hawai`i with around 75% of the state’s inventory of cattle situated on the Island of Hawa`i. Fifth and sixth generations of Hawaiian cowboys continue to raise, herd, brand and market cattle in the traditions of their fathers and their fathers before them.

Established in 1998, PPS works to increase public awareness of the historic, present-day and future significance of Hawaii’s ranching industry, with emphasis on the roles and traditions of the paniolo. A long-range goal of PPS is to establish a Ranching and Paniolo Cultural Center that will house artifacts and natural history representing the paniolo heritage, as well an archival center for historical documents, maps and photos. For more information on the Waiomina Centennial Celebration, contact Penny Keli`i Vredenburg, at 808-769-0215, or visit www.paniolopreservation.org.


Winona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha Beamer

1923 – 2008

Aloha mai Kākou:

As you know by now, Aunty Nona Beamer passed away at her home in Lahaina yesterday morning (April 10, 2008.) Matriarch of the Beamer `ohana, she was at the same time beloved alumnus of the Kamehameha Schools and treasured kupuna of Hawai`i and our people. Our personal memories – whether it be a humorous story, a loving hug, a history lesson, or a touching hula – make her a part of each of us. Indeed, our lives have all been touched by the wisdom, vision and courage of this very special woman.

Photo by Jean SmithAunty Nona was a beacon of cultural identity for Hawaiians everywhere, but one who embraced people of all ancestries into our beautiful culture. Revered and respected for her cultural knowledge and experienced wisdom, she was a living library of oli, hula, mele and other Hawaiian practices and traditions that placed her among the treasures of Hawai`i. We are truly grateful for the role she has had in reviving and strengthening the culture of our people.

However, she was much more than a cultural treasure. She was a woman of uncommon moral courage who challenged views tainted by bias and prejudice and leadership marked by arrogance and spite. We remember her defiance of policies that discriminated against hula when she was a student here at Kamehameha. We remember her struggle to make Hawaiian culture a part of the fabric of our school when she was a teacher here at Kamehameha. And we remember her always as a strong and courageous leader during any of the time that her alma mater has been challenged. Her courage will always inspire us to stand up and choose the right. Today, Hawaiian culture has its rightful place in our school and Kamehameha’s reputation as a respected and esteemed institution continues. We are truly grateful for the role Aunty Nona played in shaping Kamehameha into the school that we are today. Our students, families, faculty, staff and leaders have worked hard to honor and follow her example to ensure Pauahi’s legacy remains vibrant and meaningful.

Cultural icon, trusted kupuna and courageous leader, Aunty Nona was the good and industrious person of Pauahi’s vision, exemplifying all those “noble traits of character” she possessed. Our lives are better because of hers and Kamehameha is proud to call Aunty Nona one of our own.

Mahalo and Aloha, Aunty Nona.

Dr. Michael Chun
President and Headmaster
Kamehameha Schools


Frank De Lima: Making a Difference

By Steve Kajihiro

During the University of Hawai’i football team’s run to the 2008 Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, I was impressed with Frank De Lima’s generosity. Frank composed three songs to honor the Hawai’i Warriors and gave them away for free. His generosity prompted me to visit his website, where I learned of his passion to helping the children of Hawai’i. This led to an interview with Frank De Lima, where I wanted to show everyone a side of Frank that most don’t see. ~SK

While growing up in the Hawai’i, one of my best memories from elementary school was watching Frank De Lima speak and perform for us in the school’s cafeteria. One of things that I did not know about Frank De Lima was that he is not only funny but was also trying to teach us students a lesson and make a difference in our lives.

Everyone who grew up in Hawai’i knows Frank De Lima, but for those who don’t, Frank is one of the legends of comedy in Hawai’i, known for his skits and his ethnic jokes. He has done musical parodies like the famous song “Lucille” and to that same tune, his recently donated Warrior song, “What June Jones, You Going Leave Us Now?” Frank has also won numerous Na Hoku Hanohano Awards which is Hawai’i’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards.

Prior to becoming a comedian, Frank attended the seminary for eight years studying to be a Catholic priest. During those years, he worked at the Catholic Youth Organization every summer, learning lots of fun songs and skits that children enjoy.

But after living the parish life for almost a year, Frank realized that with his personality, he could not emotionally handle the demands that come along with priesthood. Frank then left the seminary and became a comedian. One of the things that inspired him to become a comedian goes back to his childhood days. Frank said, “I was a kid that liked to imitate and started doing skits from as far back as I can remember.  I started professionally in 1975.” He said his biggest supporters are his mother Pearl, his manager Millie Fujinaga, family, friends and a lot of local entertainers.

But once Frank became established as a local comedian in Hawai’i, he felt that there was something more he needed to do for the children. He said, “When I was a kid, I loved Bozo the Clown and Captain Kangaroo and listened to them when they gave their words of wisdom.  I thought I could do the same, and started my program.”

That program is the Frank De Lima Student Enrichment Program. In 1980, Frank committed to making a positive difference in every child’s life in Hawai’i by doing yearly presentations at elementary and intermediate schools around the islands.  Today, he visits over 160 schools a year!  It takes two years to cycle through the 300 schools in Hawai'i. 

He believes that through his comedy he can teach the students the importance of education, family, and humor. Frank has several different age-appropriate presentations and one of the things he teaches is the “3 Bs” which he describes as: Being safe, Being responsible and Being respectful.

As I reflect back to my elementary school days, Frank did make a difference in my life and I’m sure he touched many of my friends’ lives, too. So the next time you see Frank De Lima perform tell him, “thank you!” for everything he does for the children of Hawai`i.

Frank will be performing on the following dates and locations:

  • Friday, May 9th at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
  • Sunday, May 11th at the Pagoda Hotel for Mother’s Day brunch and dinner shows
  • Friday and Saturday, May 16th and 17th at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center
  • Sunday, June 15th at the Dots in Wahiawa for Father’s Day brunch and dinner shows
  • Saturday, November 1st at the California Hotel in Las Vegas

For more information or to donate to Frank De Lima’s Student Enrichment Program, visit his website at: www.frankdelima.com.

Steve Kajihiro is a 1989 graduate of Aiea High School and an alumnus of the University of Hawai’i. He is a photographer and owns JAMK Photography in Everett, WA. Steve is also the owner of www.IslandSportsMedia.com.


Hawai`i Travelers Impacted by Airlines Shutdown


Anyone planning to go to Hawai`i should be aware that there are fewer flights available and airfare is escalating due to airline shutdowns and rising fuel prices. In Hawai`i, 62-year old Aloha Airlines abruptly shut down all flights on the last day of March. Three days later, ATA with 13 flights between Hawai`i and the West Coast, also shut down all operations, leaving travelers scrambling. Hawaiian and go! airlines increased their number of flights to accommodate the demand, but within a week, rumors started circulating about trouble in Mesa, go!’s parent company.

KC Huggins of HGS Travel reports that Hawaiian Air (HAL) is flying the Oakland-Honolulu route that ATA used to offer and because of this, HAL will have one direct flight daily from Seattle to Honolulu over the summer instead of two. Northwest and Alaska Airlines also offer only one direct daily flight from Seattle to Honolulu.

Hawaii Radio Connection reported HGS travel agent Terry Uemura saying that round-trip airfare between Seattle and Honolulu is currently running between $800 to $1,000.

~NWHT Staff


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