Duke’s sense of aloha still resonates today
At the Hawaii Tourism Authority conference last week (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 8), industry experts told us that three of Hawaii's most important market virtues are:
» aloha spirit,
» rich Hawaiian culture and heritage (song, dance, language), and
» perfect weather year-round (warm weather, beautiful natural scenery).
These experts said that Hawaii must counter the upcoming and strong competition for airline seat capacity from destinations that have had an even greater loss of airlift than Hawaii.
Two of these affected destinations are Las Vegas and Disneyland. Recently, many folks have received several offers of free hotel rooms in Las Vegas. These competitors with deep pockets make it obvious that Hawaii must promote its greatest market virtues now.
At the top of the list is the aloha spirit. You can't always put into words or ads what the aloha spirit is because it is a sense, a way of living one's life. This sense was exemplified by the great Duke Kahanamoku throughout his lifetime.
Watching Michael Phelps swim to capture the Olympic gold medal Sunday in China gave me an inkling of the feeling and excitement that the people of Hawaii experienced when their own Duke Kahanamoku swam to capture the gold in Stockholm, Sweden, 96 years ago.
Kahanamoku became famous during the 12 years and four Olympic Games that he competed in. But even more important is the legacy he left us, his spirit of aloha that continues to be the fiber that is woven into Hawaii, its people, its land and its culture.
Sunday marks the opening of the seventh annual Duke's OceanFest in Waikiki, presented by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation. This year's competition will take place where the Duke grew up, the new Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon. It will begin with a ho'omana ceremony, a celebration of this great Hawaiian and his spirit of aloha.
During the ho'omana ceremony, a koa paddle with "Duke's Creed of Aloha" engraved on it will be given by National Geographic Adventure to the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation and will be a part of every event during this OceanFest. It is important to note that the ho'omana ceremony is not an award ceremony; it is a spiritual occasion.
Even though we always celebrate Duke as Hawaii's greatest waterman, his spirit of aloha continues to have a powerful role in Hawaii today -- his legacy as that of Hawaii's ambassador of aloha.
Many years ago Duke wrote; "Aloha is the key word to the universal spirit of real hospitality, which makes Hawaii renowned as the world's center of understanding and fellowship." Duke had it right, and when the rest of the world finds out that Hawaii is "the world's center of understanding and fellowship," they will come.
The ho'omana ceremony starts at 11:45 a.m. Sunday in Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa. Everyone is welcome to come and be a part of this historic event.
Bob Hampton is president of Waikiki Beach Activities, which operates Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel's beach service.
Editor's note: The Star-Bulletin and Midweek are among many sponsors of Duke's OceanFest.