Erika Engle

Group 70 partner
to teach Hawaiian
culture to U.S. planners

SOME of the 5,200 members of the American Planning Association are in for schooling on the Hawaiian culture at the group's annual conference in San Francisco.

We're not talking lei-draped, pareu-wrapped hula dancers, either.

The teacher will be George Atta, a partner at Honolulu-based planning company Group 70 International Inc. He has worked on several projects involving indigenous people and community planning, including the cultural landscape for the Keanae-Wailuanui area of Maui, a part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Atta's Indigenous Planning division counterparts will talk about American Indian issues, but he believes an introduction to Hawaiian cultural concerns will be of great value.

Atta will outline the framework of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the history of Prince Kuhio and the homestead act. That will require an explanation of Hawaiian culture and values relating to land, he said. For instance, Atta will contrast the ahupuaa, or ocean-to-mountain concept in Hawaii, with the watershed planning concept more familiar to his mainland colleagues.

"It's not just a physical geography," Atta said. "It's a whole social design concept."

Within an ahupuaa, conditions "must allow a person from cradle to grave to be self-sufficient," he said.

The goal of the association's Indigenous Planning division is to teach the industry.

There had been a feeling that "much of the APA's subject matter and focus did not address indigenous people very well, and that many of the planning principles or values, the land values and the value-structure of indigenous people, were not discussed."

Got age?

The search is on for Hawaii's outstanding older worker of 2005.

Virginia-based nonprofit Experience Works, a training and employment organization for mature workers, has launched its eighth annual search for potential honorees from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as America's Oldest Worker.

The group considers applicants who work at least 20 hours a week for pay, and who can travel to Washington, D.C., in late September for award festivities.

Applicants may be carded, as those chosen for the honor have to be at least 65 years old. Rules and application forms can be found online at www.experienceworks.org or with a toll-free phone call to (866) 397-9757. The entry deadline is May 31.

Buzzbit ...

Gentry Waipio Shopping Center is preparing for the grand opening of its second phase at 9 a.m. April 2.

Maile will be cut, a "lion" will dance and a band will play to celebrate along with Blockbuster and local eateries Loco Moco and Big City Diner.

The center is on Waipio Uka Street, across from Central Oahu Regional Park.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: eengle@starbulletin.com

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