Papa Ola lōkahi is saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka, statesman and voice for the people of Hawai‘i. He was 93 years old.
Daniel Akaka served in Congress for more than 40 years, first in the House of Representatives, and then in the Senate. He was an advocate for education, veterans’ affairs and Hawaiian affairs, especially. He was known to work the halls of Congress with aloha. He developed relationships with both parties
He was supportive of Hawaiian programs in health, education, housing and others. In 1997, he was responsible for the revision of the Office of Management & Budget’s Circular 15 (OMB 15) to tease out Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders throughout all federal offices, institutes and agencies, which ultimately led to our own box to check in the Census. This was an early, but critical, move toward recognition of Native Hawaiians as a distinct people.
“He was such a strong voice for our people,” exclaimed Sheri-Ann Daniels, Papa Ola Lōkahi executive director. “He was approachable and he got things done. He was a true statesman.”
Photo by Kilipaki Vaughan, POL boardmember, March 2009.
Senator Akaka always welcomed Papa Ola Lōkahi whenever we travelled to Washington D.C., the perfect antidote to homesickness. His office exuded warmth and familiarity. Aunty Millie, his wife, sat down and talked story as if we were in her parlor. And the Senator never failed to end a meeting by singing “The Rainbow Song.”
Senator Akaka was awarded the Ka‘ōnohi Award by POL in 2005, for his significant contributions to Hawaiian health and well-being.
All of us on the board and staff of Papa Ola Lōkahi, the five Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems, and the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program will miss him. All of our aloha to Aunty Millie, his children and their families, and to all the Akaka ‘ohana.
# PAU #
Babette Galang and Kathleen Kang Kaulupali, both students of Papa Henry Auwae, recently shared a presentation about these "Healing Stones" in Waikīkī before taking POL staff down to see them earlier this week. They are part of a small group of stewards that have been cleaning and maintaining the site since 1988.
The following is excerpted from a report to the Queen Emma Foundation and the Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources by Fields Masonry, 1997:
Centuries ago, from the island of Raiatea, four healers from the court of the Tahitian chief came to Hawaii: Kapaemāhu, Kapuni, Kīnohi and Kahaloa.
The four healers travelled throughout the islands ministering their miraculous cures to those who were ill. Their fame spread throughout the Hawaiian islands. Their services were sought after by chiefs and commoners alike.
They resided at a place called Ulukou in Waikīkī, near the Moana Hotel. When the time came for the four to return to their ancestral home, they requested four stones be placed, two at their place of residence and two at their favorite bathing place. On the night of Kāne, thousands transported four huge stones from the quarry in Kaimukī (former site of the King's Daughter's Home, at the juncture of 5th and Wai‘alae avenues) to Ulukou. Ceremonies and rituals lasted through another cycle of the moon and then four healers departed to their homeland, never to return. The four stones have been moved to several locations since, an in 1980, the City Department of Parks and Recreation relocated them to the current site at Kūhiō Beach Park.
Under the guidance of Papa Henry Auwae, Hawaiian organizations and the City & County worked to provide a proper setting for the stones. This included building a paepae (platform) for the stones to be placed and a fence to prevent further desecration. They have been placed in the same vertical and horizontal orientations as they were previously.
Planted nearby are naupaka kahakai, ‘ohe, and Hawaiian tobacco.
The haumana of Papa Auwae regularly go to Nā Pōhaku to clean and maintain this sacred site. They also share the history and significance with interested groups.
We at Papa Ola Lōkahi are sad to hear of the passing of our past-president Aunty Wilma Holi.
Aunty Wilma Healani Holi came from Hanapēpē, Kaua‘i, where her family still maintains their traditional salt pond. She is a direct descendant of Lot Kapuāiwa, Kamehameha V.
Aunty Wilma was a teacher and librarian on Kaua‘i for more than 40 years. According to a bio she submitted to DLNR, she received a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with emphasis in Health and Physical Education, followed by a Master’s Degree in Education from Pepperdine University in 1979. In 1996, she received a second Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Active in her community, she was recruited to the board of Ho‘ōla Lāhui Hawai‘i, the Native Hawaiian Health Care System serving the island of Kaua‘i. During her tenure as president, she also served on the board of directors of Papa Ola Lōkahi, eventually serving as our 3rd president.
On Kaua‘i, she was a staunch supporter of HLH’s efforts to establish the island’s first community health center—Kaua‘i Community Health Center—which has two locations, and a pharmacy that continues to make medications available at a discount across the Hawaiian Islands. She travelled with POL to Washington, D.C. to advocate for Hawaiian health programs and resources. Later, she participated in the efforts to establish a College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i – Hilo.
"We are sorry about her passing," says David Peters, chief executive officer of Ho‘ōla Lāhui Hawai‘i. "We wish for her family comfort in their time of grieving."
She was active in her community on Kaua‘i and beyond. She occupied Kaho‘olawe in the early days and her testimony before the U.S. Navy is preserved in history in the film Kaho‘olawe Aloha ‘Āina. More recently, she presided over Contested Case Hearings related to Mauna Kea and testified as a witness.
Her life’s work is extensive and includes hurricane recovery efforts and involvement in education, athletics, housing, and mentoring students.
Aunty Wilma is survived by two Godchildren Raiātea (niece) & Kapono Makanaonālani; sisters Gwen, Belle Ka‘iwi, Mona Joy and Henrietta Helm.
Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, February 10th at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 4580 Ehiku Street, Līhu‘e. Casual attire.
Condolences may be sent to PO Box 368, Hanapēpē, HI 96716.
Above photo of Aunty Wilma Holi was taken at Washington Place at the 2005 Ka‘ōnohi Awards, over which she presided. Photo by Caitlin Scott.
For some, having a day off from work or school to celebrate an American Civil Rights activist may seem out of place or unnecessary, especially for those born and raised in Hawaiʻi. Today I invite you to look through a different lens.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not only fight for Black/African Americans but for all people. Dr. King stood for equality and social change, peaceful conflict resolution, and social justice in every aspect of one’s life. His actions proved that one does not have to hold political power to create change or to stand for a purpose. Martin Luther King once said “everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You do not have to have a college degree to serve. You do not have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Dr. King was also inspired by Hawaiʻi and values that are held here. When Dr. King first came to Hawaiʻi, it was during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. He was inspired by the spirit of aloha that resides in these sacred islands, and the Hawaiians who lead by example through doing.
If you feel lead to take charge and stand for the Hawaiʻi values that inspired Dr. King, there are many avenues you can choose. You could participate in traditional Hawaiian events and/or activities that you and your family design in order to give back and take care. Take some time today and gather your family and friends and find a loʻi, a park, or a beach and mālama the ʻāina. Spend some time with kūpuna and plant something or weed a garden. If ʻāina based activities are not within reach, help a friend you know is in need with some kind of service. Paint a room. Visit kūpuna and spend time playing a game, singing a song, going for a walk, listening to their stories or anything you can dream up that can help another and lift their spirits. In those moments you exude greatness, you become the living message of aloha, and you become the healer.
Together we create the change by being people of greatness through aloha.
~ Trina Jones-Artis, graduate student and POL project assistant
Above: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and fellow Freedom Marchers don fresh plumeria lei prior to their protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. (©AFP/Getty Images)