1970 to 1979


POSTED: Monday, August 17, 2009


March 11: Hawaii legalizes abortion, becoming the first state to do so. Gov. John Burns, a Catholic, lets the bill become law without his signature.

Oct. 9: 2,000 hotel workers represented by the ILWU go on strike lasting 76 days in what becomes the longest hotel workers strike in Hawaii's history.

Oct. 23: State Sen. Larry Kuriyama, 49, is gunned down in the carport of his Aiea Heights home while his wife and five children watch television inside. The crime, which occurred during a period of violent organized crime, remains unsolved.



Jan. 1: Transit workers strike against the Honolulu Rapid Transit Co. The two-month strike strands more than 70,000 commuters and leads to the establishment of the city's public transportation system.

June 4: The $62 million Sheraton Waikiki Hotel opens. With 1,900 rooms, it is Hawaii's largest hotel.

July 1: A major strike by West Coast and Hawaii dockworkers begins, with about 15,000 members stopping work until October when President Nixon halts the strike for 90 days. The strike resumes the day after Christmas and continues until February, lasting 134 days in all.



March 22: One hour after Congress votes for it, Hawaii's Legislature ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment.

July 20: The Stop H-3 Association and other environmentalists file a lawsuit in federal court to halt development of the highway.

Dec. 31: Hawaii's visitor count exceeds 2 million for the first time.



Feb. 14: The first group of American POWs from the Vietnam War lands in Hawaii en route to the mainland.

May 20: Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's tough questioning as a member of the Senate committee investigating the Watergate scandal makes him a national figure.

May 22: Gov. John Burns signs a law establishing public access rights to Hawaii beaches.

Dec. 16: The first Honolulu Marathon is held with 162 entrants. The race eventually becomes one of the largest of its kind in the world.



Jan. 28: The energy crisis sees island motorists lining up at service stations, and Hawaii becomes the first state to restrict gasoline sales.

Nov. 5: Lt. Gov. George R. Ariyoshi is elected the first U.S. governor of Japanese-American ancestry. He had served as lieutenant governor to John Burns.

Dec. 31: The Sugar Cane Act expires, ending quotas and tariffs that had maintained U.S. sugar prices and eventually causing the shutdown of many of Hawaii's plantations.



Feb. 10: The National Guard is called in to restore order at the antiquated Hawaii State Prison on Dillingham Boulevard as it is taken over by prisoners.

April 8: Former Gov. John A. Burns, 66, debilitated from a long battle with cancer, dies.

Aug. 16: “;Hawaii Calls,”; a radio show popular with islanders and mainlanders for 40 years, ends due to high production costs.

Sept. 12: Aloha Stadium opens. It cost $33 million and seats 50,000. The stadium's “;rust-proof”; aluminum begins to degrade and years of legal battles ensue.



Jan. 4: Hawaiian activists begin efforts to end the Navy's use of Kahoolawe as a bombing target. They land on the “;target island”; to draw attention to their cause.

June 4: After setting sail from Maui, the voyaging canoe Hokule'a arrives in Tahiti, demonstrating that ancient Polynesians could navigate the Pacific.



Jan 3: Following a long-standing dispute, residents of Waiahole Valley learn that they will not be evicted from their homes to make room for a subdivision. Gov. George Ariyoshi agrees to buy the valley for $6 million.

March 7: George Jarrett Helm Jr. and James Kimo Mitchell disappear while trying to swim from Maui to Kahoolawe in an effort to reclaim the island for native Hawaiians.



Jan. 24: State health officials remove leprosy patients—carrying some as they cry in protest—from their longtime home at the state-run Hale Mohalu facility in Pearl City and move them to Leahi Hospital near Diamond Head. In September, the state cuts utilities and removes the single nurse at the dilapidated facility in an attempt to force out the few remaining residents.

March 16: The Hokule'a voyaging canoe capsizes amid high waves and gale-force winds 12 miles off Lanai. The next day, crewman Eddie Aikau volunteers to paddle his surfboard to Lanai for help and is never seen again. His act of heroism is memorialized in a local saying: “;Eddie would go.”;

July-August: A two-month Constitutional Convention creates sweeping change in Hawaii's political landscape. The convention results in term limits for state office holders, a mandatory balanced state budget and establishment of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.



July 8: Ten youths, ages 12 to 17, gang-rape a Finnish visitor at Nanakuli Beach. At separate trials, the younger boys are sentenced to a juvenile facility; the older youths are acquitted in 1981. An outraged public protests the verdict in demonstrations at judiciary buildings and the state Capitol. The story gains international attention.

Dec. 8: Both the UH-Manoa and UH-Hilo women's volleyball teams win national championships.