Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Red Hat Society Web site
has local chapter contacts

Question: How do we get in touch with the local chapter of the Red Hat Society? Is there also a Pink Hat Society, for the younger generation? If so, how do we get in touch with them?

Answer: There are 17 chapters of the Red Hat Society -- basically a social organization aimed at women 50 and older exulting in their maturity -- on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.

"It's a big movement of older women who feel very empowered," said Leila Nagamine, the "Queen Muddah" of the Na Huapala Chapter on Oahu.

There are now about 17,000 chapters nationwide and in 20 foreign countries, boasting 300,000 members.

The best place to get information about the organization and to find a local chapter is to go online at, Nagamine said.

However, call her at 239-7289 and she can give you information about her group, as well as some of the other chapters.

Nagamine usually advises interested women to visit different chapters to see which one best fits their needs and personalities. At this point, she said, she may encourage all who call her to start their own chapters, and "we can certainly mentor them."

Although most of the Red Hatters are between 50 and 65, younger women may join, although they should really be at least in their 40s, Nagamine said.

The younger women are known as Pink Hatters.

"The Red Hatters wear red hats and purple outfits, and the Pink Hatters wear pink hats and lavender or lilac outfits," Nagamine explained. "It's really kind of crazy."

Other than being at least 50 and "delighted to wear a red hat and a purple outfit to any event we do," there are no rules and no dues.

"We're called the disorganization," Nagamine said, laughing.

The Na Huapala Chapter started at the end of October and now has 40 members.

"We have so many great women, from a judge to a homemaker and everybody in between," said Nagamine, who works at home as a representative for various local companies producing custom logo goods.

"Our ladies are islandwide, from Makakilo to Waimanalo and all areas in between," she said. "We meet approximately once or twice a month in the Honolulu area and tend to be a bit fun-loving and loud."

Nagamine said the whole organization is based on a poem, "When I Grow Old I Shall Wear Purple," which "laments the fact that younger women usually spend so much time nurturing and trying to be proper that the miss out in life."

According to press information found on its Web site, the Red Hat Society is "the new women's movement changing the perception of aging women in the United States and around the world. This growing organization of women is uniting under the umbrella of a red hat to have fun and bond in sisterhood as they travel through the aging process together."

Its founder -- the "Exalted Queen Mother" -- is Sue Ellen Cooper, of Fullerton, Calif.

A national magazine article in 2000 about Cooper, a part-time commercial artist, and her friends donning red hats and purple clothes attracted the first major interest. Another story six months later generated overwhelming response, and the Red Hat sisterhood was on its way.

Cooper's first book, "The Red Hat Society: Friendship and Fun After Fifty," is due out March.

Q: I live within walking distance of the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus. Our neighborhood is a frequent parking area for the students in the dorms, as well as day students. The dorm students generally park anytime from Sunday p.m. through Friday p.m. Many of the students seem to be unaware of the requirement of leaving 4 feet on either side of a driveway clear. What city agency do I call to get permission to paint the 4-foot area red? Or can I just do it?

A: As a private citizen, you are not allowed to paint any public street curb red.

Not only because it is public property, but because there may be areas in judging distances and the fact "that not all residents in a particular area may want the curbs painted, resulting in additional complaints for property damage," explained Honolulu police Lt. Stephen Logan.

Meanwhile, because of budget constraints, the city Department of Transportation Services no longer paints curbs red to signify no-parking areas, except at passenger and commercial loading zones and at bus stops, he said.

HPD realizes the problems caused by off-campus student parking during the school year. When available, additional officers are assigned to the area to address the issue, Logan said.

"In the past, we've worked with the UH staff to educate the students on current parking regulations, and try to gain voluntary compliance," he said. "Unfortunately, for some violators, enforcement is the only tool that seems to work."

In that case, the "best tool" is calling 911.

"This should, at least, have a long-term effect on the individual violator," Logan said.

HPD also encourages you, and others with similar complaints, to attend the Manoa Neighborhood Board meetings (the first Wednesday of every month, 7 p.m., at Noelani Elementary School). The next meeting is set for March 3.

"This is a very active neighborhood board that is attended by most city agencies and could generate additional programs with the university," Logan said.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
E-mail to


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --