I think that you all know about the Menehunes…those legendary lahui kanaka (tribe of Hawaiian people) who accomplished a lot but were seldom, if ever, seen! If I have preference as to the mea (people) I enjoy profiling, it’s those folks who are usually among the best friends we have…those folks we can ALWAYS rely on to get things done…those folks who, like our beloved Menehunes, accomplish a lot but prefer to work in the background, shying away from the public spotlight…I’d like to introduce you to a few of these folks over the next few months (they could actually be some of your best friends)…
Born in 1932 in Hana, Maui to Howard and Harriet Kinney, our profile person moved to Kilauea, Kaua`i when he was two years old. KIHA KINNEY…truly, truly, truly a Menehune guy…you want something done? He’s your guy!!! Just ask the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association/Northwest Region (KSAA/NWR) about him. The KSAA/NWR Scholarship Program has gone from a virtually empty bank account to over $20,000 in the past few years and while many lahui were involved in the fund raising, the one constant through the years was Kiha. Ask the Catholic Diocese of Seattle and their Knights of Columbus group and they will tell you that Kiha Kinney has been a very active, very important part of many critical programs through the Seattle Catholic community for years! Who is this guy? A 1951 graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and an outstanding athlete, Kiha was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War. After the war ended, Kiha went back to Kaua`i where he worked for Hale Kaua`i Electric until deciding to go to college on his GI Bill. Kiha initially went to the Milwaukee ( Wisconsin ) School of Engineering before graduating from the Milwaukee Institute of Technology in 1958. His outstanding academic record convinced Boeing to hire him immediately after his college graduation so he and his wife Eleanor (a Kaua`i gal) moved to Seattle in 1958 and Kiha has been here ever since. Kiha retired from Boeing in 1995. Kiha’s beloved Eleanor returned to God a few years ago but he is now proudly playing Tutu kane (Grandpa) to his five mo`opuna (grandchildren) Kiana, Kaila, Makenna, Keone and Kyle, telling them about their wonderful Tutu wahine Eleanor. Kiha’s daughter Cindy lives in Bellingham while daughter Lehuanani and son Kyle live in the Seattle area. When asked if he had a hobby…he smiled and said “Yes, I like to do volunteer Let’s see…Kiha moved here in 1958, so he has been pretty much an `oiwi a Wakinekona (like “a native son of Washington ”) for over 56 years…that’s a long time huh? But what’s that saying…”You can take the boy out of Kaua`i but you can never take Kaua`i out of the boy?” Kiha has never lost his love for Kaua`i and is seriously looking at buying a Hawaiian homestead Land house there. He wants to be a manu hau (snow bird) splitting time between Kaua`i and his beloved `Ohana here. Many of you have seen Kiha (quiet, handsome, dignified, always well dressed and so polite) because he is present, and is usually involved in some way, at many Hawaiian community activities in this area. But, like the menehune, Kiha prefers to just get the job done…and stay low profile!
There are many menehunes amongst us, within our Northwest Hawaiian Islander community. I kinda wish they’d stand up once in a while and be recognized for the important role they plan in spreading Hawiian style lokomaikai (good will)! You know what? I know that you know some menehune type folks…email me (email@example.com) and tell me about them…
Until next time, be kind to each other…me ke Aloha pumehana kakou (warmest wishes to all) …Danny