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October 2007

Hawai`i News

University of Hawai`i Warriors
Penalized for Pre-Game Haka

By Rochelle delaCruz

The University of Hawai`i Warriors perform a new version of the haka, a Maori war chant, in their pre-game warm-up against the Rebels at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Photo by Steve Kajihiro

At the first away game of the football season against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the University of Hawaii Warriors were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for doing the haka, a Maori war chant that the team began performing two years ago as a pre-game ritual. Because of a complaint, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) suggested that the football team not perform the haka during road games but made no rule against it.

In an article for the Honolulu Advertiser, June Jones, head coach for the UH Warriors said he conferred with officials before the game and was told the haka would be allowed as long as the UH team was not on the playing field or facing Louisiana Tech players. The Warriors then went ahead with the ritual, performing it on a grassy area separating the field from the locker rooms, facing the Hawai`i cheering section and not the Bulldogs who were on the field.

The team was immediately hit with a 15 yard penalty and when the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs won the coin toss and opted to receive, the Warriors had to kick off from their own 15 yard line.

Jones thinks his team was being singled out as other college teams have pre-game rituals. He says that the haka is “cultural and not unsportsmanlike….a positive thing for the conference. The haka has international recognition. It brings our conference identity. It’s talked about all over the world.”

Despite the penalty, the Warriors went on to beat Louisiana Tech 45-44 after the Bulldogs failed in their two point conversion pass attempt. At the end of the game, UH performed the haka again as a celebration for the Hawai`i fans.

The Warriors were revising the haka over the summer but because of their rigorous pre-season practice schedule, the team was not able to finish it in time for the start of the season. In the week they spent in Houston between the Louisiana Tech and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas game, they perfected a new version that made their pre-game ritual less Maori and more Hawaiian.

At the next road game against UNLV, the Warriors unveiled the new, revised haka. In consultation with Hawai`i recording artist Tony Conjugacion, UH Warriors Brad Kalilimoku, Keala Watson and Ryan Keomaka wrote the words and Guyton Galdeira choreographed the movement.

With most of the UNLV Rebels off the field, the Warriors performed the new haka in the pre-game warm up at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas for nearly 15,000 Hawai`i fans. So many of these fans are Hawai`i transplants now living in Nevada that sportscasters in Hawai`i kept referring to the game as one being played on “the 9th Hawaiian Island.” After watching the haka, the announcers for the pay-per-view televised game praised and complimented the UH Warriors for their performance.

Kalilimoku said that the new haka, now called ha`a, shows team pride of where they’re from. “Hawaii’s is a special place and we’re a special team.”

Quarterback Colt Brennan said that in addition to motivating the team, the ha`a is also a tribute to their fans. “We’re representing a culture that is very unique.”

UH went on to win the game, beating UNLV Rebels 49-14, and the ha`a (a Hawaiian word that means “dance with bent knees”) made its debut in Hawai`i the following week in the fourth game of the season against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

Final score of that game: Warriors-66, Buccaneers-10.

Photo by Steve Kajihiro


Hawai`i Superferry: Is It Sunk

By NWHIT Staff

When the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the Superferry needed to complete an environmental impact statement (EIS), it spelled a potential delay of the scheduled inaugural sailing of its new ferry, the Alakai. Superferry officials then made the decision to begin service from Honolulu to Maui and Kauai two days earlier than planned by offering fares of $5.00 each way. Tickets sold out in hours and the Alakai set sail.

When ferry passengers disembarked at Kahului and Nawiliwili harbors on Maui and Kaua`i, they were greeted by noisy opponents and protest signs. On Kaua`i, demonstrators jumped into the water to stop the ferry from docking at Nawiliwili and a judge on Maui ordered the Superferry to cease service until an (EIS) was completed. The endangerment of lives on Kaua`i and the court injunction on Maui stranded those passengers and vehicles that were on the Alakai’s maiden runs to those two islands.

In the beginning, the state had exempted the EIS for the Superferry which gave the company the green light to build their vessels. Hawai`i Governor Linda Lingle said, “We’ve never required an environmental assessment on one vessel in our state’s history.” But those in opposition said the 350-foot ferry that can carry 850 passengers and 250 cars poses threats to the environment that other boats do not. A compromise that the EIS be performed while the Superferry continues to operate, does not look promising.

While the official resistance is the lack of an EIS, many neighbor islanders oppose the ferry for other reasons that run the gamut: a fear that easy access would turn the outer islands into overbuilt and overpopulated Honolulu; the worry that invasive species could be easily spread; suspicions about military usage. What is real however, is the discovery of three trucks that arrived on the ferry’s maiden voyage, awaiting the return to O`ahu loaded with approximately 900 rocks from ` Iao Valley. `Iao stream rocks are the type commonly used for imu and this has fueled fears that the ferry service would make it easy to deplete resources on the outer islands that are no longer available in heavily populated, urban areas.

At this point, the only thing that all parties can agree on is that the saga of the Hawai`i Superferry is a fiasco. The ferry is currently not running because the courts are demanding an EIS and the safety of demonstrators is at risk. And the state now plans to conduct an assessment on the impact of the ferry on island harbors, a process that could take as long as eight months.

John Garibaldi, president and chief executive of the Superferry, said it may be forced to shut down after investing $300 million and hiring 300 employees.

Many in the islands are afraid that this sends the message that Hawai`i is no place to do business.


Tradition or Tourism? The Tug of War over Ahu`ena Heiau

By Rochelle delaCruz

A scuba class holds lessons in Kamakahonu Bay between the King Kamehameha Hotel and Ahu`ena Heiau. Hawaiian groups are protesting the hotel's claim that it owns Ahu`ena.
Photo by NWHIT

Ahu`ena Heiau on the grounds of the King Kamehameha Hotel at Kamakahonu Bay in Kailua, Kona on the island of Hawai`i is the site of recent protests by Native Hawaiian groups. Kamakahonu was the personal residence of King Kamehameha the First from 1812 until his death there in 1819, and the first capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

At issue is the recent purchase of the hotel by Pacific Hotel Company of Santa Barbara, California and eviction from the office in the hotel lobby of Kulana Huli Honua, guardians of Ahu`ena. Kulana Huli Honua has been responsible for upkeep, security and educational programs at Ahu`ena since it was restored in the 1970s by David Kahalemauna Roy. Roy’s daughter Mikahala is the president of Kulana Huli Honua and continues her late father’s commitment. The eviction suggested that the new owners see no need for collaboration with Kulana to maintain the traditions of Ahu`ena.

The Native Hawaiian groups are also protesting the hotel’s recreational activities in the vicinity of the heiau, such as the nightly lū`au for tourists.

Pacifica Hotel Company claims ownership of Ahu`ena Heiau but Article 12, Section 7 of the Hawai`i State Constitution protects traditional religious practices of Native Hawaiians.

Kulana Huli Honua filed suit against the hotel owners and the state for not protecting Ahu`ena and similar sites in public trust. A recent court settlement allows Roy to use the free office space in the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel until Dec. 1st. After that date, she must leave the office but may continue conducting Hawaiian religious practices at the heiau. Educational events are not addressed in the settlement.

The question about ownership was withdrawn because of legal technicality but Roy’s attorney Robert Kim said he plans to introduce an expanded lawsuit.


Second Chance Leads to Opportunity for the Heisman

By Steve Kajihiro  

Do you believe in second chances? I’m sure the University of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan does. I won’t go into details of the past but Brennan got into some trouble as a freshman while at the University of Colorado and was dismissed from the football team. Brennan got his second chance in football with the help of the fans and the University of Hawaii.

Colt Brennan became even more popular with Hawai`i fans by showing up with the eight Hawaiian islands dyed in his hair.
Photo by Steve Kajihiro

On September 15, 2007 at the UH vs. UNLV game in Las Vegas, Nevada, I met Randy Miyamoto, a local radio personality from All Sports Hawaii who told me how he helped bring Colt Brennan to Hawaii.

Randy said that several years ago when Hawaii wide receiver Ashlie Lelie left for the NFL, Coach June Jones was looking for a receiver with speed and height. Randy said that his friend and “frat” brother David “Taz” Murtaugh was a coach at Saddleback Community College in California. Coach Taz informed Randy that he had a receiver named Jerard Rabb and thought Rabb may be of interest to Hawaii. Coach Taz sent Randy a highlight tape of Rabb but was told to check out the quarterback too. The quarterback was Colt Brennan.

Randy said he gave that highlight video to coach Rich Miano, who passed it on to Coach June Jones and quarterback coach Dan Morrison. Later in the spring, Rabb and Brennan were invited to Hawaii for a recruiting trip. Rabb eventually went to Boise State but Brennan was invited to walk on since there were no UH scholarships available.

“The rest is history and Colt has a cult following as he has embraced the islands and we have embraced him with his charm, poise and his love for the islands and its people. He is treated like a celebrity and his numbers prove it!!” states Randy.

Brennan currently holds 20 NCAA records, including the career record for the most games gaining 400 yards or more of total offense. In 2006, Brennan was the WAC Offensive Player of the Year and was selected as a 3rd team AP All-American. Brennan finished 6th in the Heisman Trophy voting last year. And last year when Brennan was urged to enter into the NFL draft, he decided to remain at UH and continue playing with the Warriors for his senior year.

As of this writing, Brennan is averaging 420 yards per game, with a 77.4 completion percentage, and 12 touchdowns.

Watch for Colt Brennan as he goes for the Heisman Trophy in 2007.

Steve Kajihiro, a graduate of Aiea High School and the University of Hawaii who now lives in Everett, Washington, is a sports photographer.


Life Before Cell Phones

Local Boy Gets Big Surprise on Assignment to Kauai

By Ray Smith

In August 1979, I had to travel 6,000 miles back to Hawaii to learn my own phone number.

There's a story here obviously.

Like many of today's seniors, my youth was in the era of 'crank' telephones.  Years later good fortune landed me in Geneva, Illinois with a job at Telephone Engineer & Management, one of two trade magazines serving the Independent (non-Bell) telephone industry.  When GTE invited our publication to profile one of its more exotic properties, Hawaiian Telephone, I gladly jumped on an airplane.  

I had grown up in Hawaii, my dad a pastor on the very rural island of Kauai before and through World War II.  Back then there were no hotels, stop lights, street signs, few tourists. And telephone service was provided by locally-owned Mutual Tel until it was acquired by GTE in 1967.

Our 1979 facilities tour on my native island of Kauai included meeting with Ezra Kanoho who was GTE island manager, later to serve in the Legislature as a state senator.  One interview was with Service Office Manager Herb Apaka whose brother had been a star end on our Kauai High football team when I was a teen sportswriter in the '40s.

Ray Smith on the Kellogg-magento

As it was beginning to sound like "old home week," in walked a petite retiree introduced as "your operator in Koloa when you were a boy!" I stared open-mouthed as Carol Yamamoto recited: "Let me think now, Reverend Smith was on Line 31 and number 4W226.  In those years we had to memorize all the numbers." There were 200 subscribers on a 10-party open wire service that ran through a vintage PBX in this onetime sugar plantation town which today is the gateway to thriving Poipu Beach resort. 

I grew up with a Kellogg magneto--turning one short, two long to ring up the next door neighbor. There were no printed directories so I didn't even know our phone had an actual number.  But "Central" did, and she placed our calls by name, gave us time-of-day and even tracked down playmates upon occasion.  Truth is, I never knew Mrs. Yamamoto even though we kids bought crack seed at her father-in-law's Yamamoto Store kitty-corner from the little green shack out of which she worked under the monkeypod tree.

Reflecting back, toll to distant Lihue twelve miles away was a dear 15 cents. Calls to Oahu over 90 miles of ocean were beamed by RCA AM radio, one of the first point-to-point commercial circuits in the world, later replaced by microwave. During wartime, operators worked fearsome hours. Mrs. Yamamoto told me "we thought the Pearl Harbor attack was a hoax.  Local traffic got busy and our two inter-island circuits were tied up. Then the radio station confirmed the worst and we stayed at the boards all day."  Soon the Garden Island became the training site for up to 10,000 troops and my mom, Gertrude, put on a headset as a censor.  She monitored GI calls home and hated having to disconnect young men when they unintentionally told a loved one something forbidden.

In another interview for that '79 assignment, Community & Government Relations Director Ward Russell described when he sailed across the 17 miles of channel between Kauai and Niihau. Bought privately from the monarchy, tiny Niihau's several hundred pure-Hawaiian residents had no phones. Russell recalls, "Back in '53 I sailed over there with the owner, Alymer Robinson. When we landed he sent word back home that we were okay--by carrier pigeon. I mildly suggested we could easily run a line from the dock up to the one village on the island. He said 'no way!'" Medical and other emergencies have been by shortwave radio.

Deprived? Who's to say. Not me. 

Ray Smith is a retired journalist and publisher who lives in Wheaton, Illinois. He attended Koloa School and graduated from Kauai High in 1950. His mother Gertrude taught kindergarten at Lihue School and his father Howard was the pastor of Koloa Union Church.


Falsetto Winner!

Christopher Agpoon of Keaukaha on the island of Hawai`i won the Clyde "Kindy" Sproat Falsetto and Storytelling Contest with his rendition of "Pua Melie". As part of the Aloha Week Festivals, this was the 16th year of the annual event, held at the Hapuna Beach Prince Ballroom on the Kohala Coast of Hawai`i island. Among the many prizes for first place is a contract with Hula Records Recording Company.

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