Keepers of culture named
The seven join more than 100 selected since 1975 by Honpa Hongwanji Mission
Seven Hawaii residents have been named Living Treasures of Hawaii for their work in preserving the traditions, values and cultures of the islands.
The honorees were nominated for their dedication in health and social work professions, accomplishments in athletics and creative arts, and philanthropic and volunteer service.
The program sponsored by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, the largest Buddhist denomination in Hawaii, has named more than 100 Living Treasures since it was inaugurated 32 years ago.
A Feb. 9* banquet at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel will celebrate their contributions.
» Malia Craver, 79, has worked for more than 30 years to implement hooponopono, the Hawaiian practice of conflict resolution, counseling people involved in family disputes and domestic violence. She worked with dysfunctional families, especially abused women and children, in social services programs of the Family Court, Salvation Army and Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center. She was invited to speak on the practice of hooponopono at the United Nations 2000 Conference of Non-Government Organizations. She has received accolades from several Hawaiian organizations, including the 2001 Ke Kukui Malamalama Award from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
» George Naope, 78, a co-founder of the Merrie Monarch Festival, has taught hula in Hawaii and around the world for more than 50 years. Naope is considered a walking encyclopedia of traditional hula and chant, and is co-author of the two-volume "Lost Secrets of Ancient Hawaiian Hula." He has judged hula competition in several countries and founded hula festivals in Japan and California. He earned a doctorate in music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. The National Endowment for the Arts presented him the nation's highest honor in folk and traditional arts last year.
» Dr. Terence Rogers, 82, dedicated his career to improving health in Hawaii and giving island students the opportunity for a medical career. Under his guidance as dean, the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine grew into an accredited four-year degree program. He was a co-developer of the Imi Hoola program to give native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders help preparing for college medical training. An expert in the physiology of survival, he did research with astronaut trainees for the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. He is author of the "Textbook of Physiology," which is used internationally.
» Norman Sakata, 80, has been active as a volunteer in several organizations, in addition to his demanding career as a Big Island coffee grower. He initiated the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival to promote the coffee industry and recognize its pioneers. He has been active in the Boy Scouts of America for 50 years, including 21 years as Explorer Scout leader in Kona. He has worked in campaigns to support the Makana Foundation and Hawaii Lions Eye Bank, for which he helped raise $250,000.
» Barbara Smith, 86, music professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii, was instrumental in expanding the curriculum to include teaching and performance of Asian and Pacific music. She established the UH master's degree program in ethnomusicology, which has produced leaders in the field in several countries. An accomplished performer in Western classical instruments, she undertook taiko (Japanese drumming) and was the first non-Japanese* to study with master koto teacher Michio Miyaji, and received his permission to teach the ancient string instrument. She edited "The Queen's Song Book" collection of Queen Liliuokalani's compositions.
» Dorothy "Aunty Dottie" Thompson, 85, director of the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, has spent 35 years guiding development of the event into an internationally known forum to display and teach about Hawaiian dance. The festival was foundering as a tourist-oriented event without financial support when she volunteered for the director job after 33 years with the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation Department. In 2000 the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs applauded her as the "outstanding non-Hawaiian perpetuating the Hawaiian culture."
» Wally Yonamine, 81, was a pioneer in his athletic career in the 1950s, the first man of Asian descent to play football with the San Francisco 49ers. Sidelined by an injury, he turned to baseball, spending 12 years as a professional player in Japan. The Maui native became a successful businessman in Japan. He returned to Hawaii to establish the Wally Yonamine Foundation to promote high school education through sports. It sponsors an annual baseball tournament and distributes about $10,000 per year in college scholarships to athletes. He established the Leukemia Foundation in 1983 at the University of California at Los Angeles.
About 500 people are expected to attend the awards banquet Feb. 8 at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel. Tickets are $60. For reservations, call Dianne at 522-9200.
The Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Mission seeks nominations each year from island organizations and individuals. Modeled on Japan's recognition of Living National Treasures, the awards program was the inspiration of Honolulu insurance executive Paul Yamanaka.
Friday, January 19, 2007
» Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii's 2007 Living Treasures Banquet will be held 5:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel, not Feb. 8, as reported in a Page A5 story Saturday. Also, honoree Barbara Smith was the first non-Japanese person but not the first woman to study with master koto teacher Michio Miyagi, as stated in the story.