State quarter icons narrowed to 8
King Kamehameha and an outline of the islands make the cut
Unless there's an upset, Hawaii's quarter should feature King Kamehameha I, the word "Aloha" and the outline of the Hawaiian Islands.
A commission narrowing down suggestions for the nation's last state quarter yesterday placed the three icons in most of five final sketches.
THE FINAL EIGHT
Here are the icons, listed according to popularity by a commission working on the design of Hawaii's quarter:
1. Outline of the islands
2. King Kamehameha I and "Aloha"
3. State motto
4. Diamond Head, hula dancer, lei and surfing
The word "Aloha," picked to represent the warmth of the Hawaiian people, and Kamehameha, who unified the Hawaiian archipelago in 1810, both made it into three of the five designs. Only one of the drafts did not include the sloping outline of the island state.
Rounding off the top eight symbols still in contention are the state motto (Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono: The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness), surfing, Diamond Head Crater, a female hula dancer and a lei. All could still earn a spot on the commemorative coin, which is set to be released in the fall of 2008.
About 40 commissioners, chosen to represent all islands and different ethnic groups, spent two hours at the state Capitol yesterday before unveiling their concepts.
Commissioner Nick Tomihama, a 16-year-old coin collector who attends Mid-Pacific Institute, said he was surprised with the level of agreement between the different members.
"Our group is so diverse, just like our state, and I didn't think it was going to be easy to break down" the ideas, said Tomihama, who is representing Oahu as a member of the Honolulu Coin Club. "We are very close to figuring out a final design."
His group proposed a quarter with a surfer riding a wave toward the island chain, a concept Tomihama said reflects a popular sport that Hawaiians introduced to the rest of the world.
Another layout, presented by Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, shows the image of Kamehameha, the islands and the state motto. The theme, Apoliona said, is "Hawaii: Diverse but unified."
"It's about balancing the elements of the island chain," she said.
Commissioners will meet for the last time on July 20, when they are supposed to select five complete coin themes for Gov. Linda Lingle, who will then forward them to the U.S. Mint for approval, said Lenny Klompus, spokesman for the governor. Artists with the U.S. Mint program will draw the themes into the coins and return them to commissioners for any revisions.
Finally, commissioners will pick the three best layouts and give them to Lingle, who will make the last decision, Klompus said.
The quarters are scheduled to be minted in fall 2008, but they could be delayed because four other states -- Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska -- are also submitting quarter designs, said Marsha Wienert, state tourism liaison.