The Legacy: Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park – Celebrating 57 Years

Double-hulled canoe passing in front of Hale o Keawe heiau (temple) during the park’s Annual Cultural Festival. photo courtesy of the National Park Service
Double-hulled canoe passing in front of Hale o Keawe heiau (temple) during the park’s Annual Cultural Festival. photo courtesy of the National Park Service

By Lara Hughes

May June 2018 cover 200 px W
Originally published in Ke Ola Magazine.

Since opening in 1961, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau, a place of refuge, has been a cultural beacon for residents and visitors alike. Kawailehua Domingo, a descendant of South Kona and currently the park’s interpretive supervisor, is the third generation in her family to work at the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Over the years, she has helped organize the park’s largest event, the Annual Cultural Festival, serving in a multitude of roles. Kawailehua explains, “Our goal during the festival is to convey the feeling and association with the historical period of the 1500s to the 1700s. Sharing the Hawaiian culture is a great reason to get together, and our festival gives visitors an enhanced one-on-one experience they will never forget.”

Kahaka‘io Ravenscraft is the park’s current cultural demonstrator and interpreter. His predecessor was Uncle Charlie Grace, a well-known cultural practitioner and traditional ki‘i (tiki) carver. Kahaka‘io is responsible for creating many of the themes involving the various festivals and ceremonies that take place at the park throughout the year. He says, “A big part of why we do the festival is to create that connection between the people and the land, the place and the resources.”

It is in that same spirit that Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau will be celebrating its 57th anniversary as a national historical park. The festivities are planned for Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24. Admission is free and open to all.

The Place: Honoring Our Wahi Pana

Kahaka‘io holding traditional lauhala baskets. photo by Lara Hughes
Kahaka‘io holding traditional lauhala baskets. photo by Lara Hughes

‘Wahi pana’ is a Hawaiian term that means a sacred place, a legendary place, or a place with a pulse. It is how Kahaka‘io refers to Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau and also the cultural festival and ceremonies that have been, and continue to be, conducted there. For him, the greatest importance lies in the act of bringing life to the place, keeping its heartbeat strong and demonstrating how the Hawaiian culture can thrive. “There is life in a place when fishermen are doing their traditions, when they are practicing their techniques and passing it on. When lauhala weavers collect lauhala (Pandanus leaves), when they do their work and they make their beautiful products,” he says, “that process is what brings life to the place.”

Kahaka‘io feels connected to the traditions and processes that are shared and celebrated at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau. His kūpuna (ancestors) practiced, used, and lived by the same methods, knowledge, and mythology. He says this has provided him with a sense of identity and pride to carry the traditions forward to the coming generations on a local and even global scale. “It can inspire people to learn about Hawaiian culture and traditions. I think my favorite part of being here, especially during festival time, is connecting with so many diverse people that are out there. It’s like cultural exchange. You meet people from all over the world and you see just how connected we really are.”

The People: A Local and Global Community

Kawai Domingo and her grandma, Katherine Domingo. photo courtesy of Kawai Domingo
Kawai Domingo and her grandma, Katherine Domingo. photo courtesy of Kawai Domingo

One of the many things that the cultural festival provides is a space for the community to come together. Whether it is through volunteering, taking up a role as a cultural demonstrator, or attending as a guest, it is apparent that participants have incredibly unique and amazing experiences. This is further evidenced by the fact that they continue to return each year. “We have a few visitors who plan their annual vacation during our festival,” says Kawai, “We also have a family that comes every year from the different Hawaiian Islands, who use our festival as their family reunion. They share their knowledge of weaving coconut fronds with visitors from all over the world and are able to spend time with each other and create new memories, year after year.”

Local clubs join in to lend a helping hand as well. Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club donates their canoes and time to the event. Captain Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa and his brother-in-law Dale Fergerstrom have been bringing their own wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled canoes) every year since the early 1990s and taking visitors out on canoe rides in Hōnaunau Bay. “An astonishing number of local and even Hawaiian kids have never been on a canoe, so even if it’s for a short time, it’s an exposure,” says Kiko. “You see the eyes open and light up, and exposing them to something like that makes them think about what it is that they would like to do.” He continues, “A society or a civilization is a tapestry or a net of many different interlocking skills and abilities, and it’s wonderful to get to see other people’s abilities.”

In years past, crafts such as kapa (cloth made from bark) printing, lei making, basket weaving, and hula have been shared and celebrated. There has even been a traditional hukilau (type of fishing) celebration to signify the closing of the festival. In this demonstration, there are three sections of lau (rope) with tī leaves tied to it that is taken into the ocean. Everyone is invited to participate, and the lau is joined together and kept low in the water. Everyone begins slapping the water. This scares the fish, and since the lau is low in the water, the fish do not want to swim under it and instead swim toward the shore. People on shore pull the lau in slowly and the fish can be seen in the shallow waters. Kahaka‘io performs an oli (traditional chant) and everyone sings “Hawai‘i Aloha” and the fish are set free.

Hukilau celebration at the Annual Cultural Festival. photo courtesy of Kawai Domingo
Hukilau celebration at the Annual Cultural Festival. photo courtesy of Kawai Domingo

The History: Deep Ties to an Important Past

The history of Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau dates back to as early as the 1400s. Around the 1500s the ali‘i (chiefs) had begun to establish land boundaries and centralize their power. The kapu (sacred law) system was enforced by these ruling chiefs, and it placed a large amount of control over the maka‘āinana (commoners). It was during this time that Hōnaunau was first settled and that a pu‘uhonua (place of refuge) was established. Later in the 1600s, Hōnaunau became a royal center.

Kahaka‘io carving ki‘i at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau. photo by Lara Hughes
Kahaka‘io carving ki‘i at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau. photo by Lara Hughes

In the 1900s, the area that would become the national park was preserved by Charles Bishop, who added it to the Bishop Estate. In 1961, the National Park Service became the stewards of the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park.

The modern-day Annual Cultural Festival began in 1974, with original funding coming from programs offering money to national parks so that they could celebrate the bicentennial of the American Revolutionary War. The very first cultural festival lasted for six days. Today the festival’s duration is two days long and is annually held in the last full weekend of June, marking the dedication of the area as a national park.

The area has seen many changes, however it has also held onto many constants. Kawai herself has spent a lot of time growing up at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau. “My grandmother Katherine Domingo retired in 1997, after 25 years of service, and my dad works in the maintenance division. So when people ask me how long I’ve been here, I usually respond, ‘All my life’.” In the late 1980s and early 1990s, both of Kawai’s parents worked on the weekend and it was easiest for her and her brother to go to work with their father. “Every weekend we got up at 5 or 6am, before the birds woke up, and we helped my dad cleaning offices, wiping down tables and picking up leaves and rubbish in the park grounds. I remember having to pick up lots of noni (traditional medicinal plant) in the park grounds and I hated it. Now, the smell of noni reminds me of my childhood.” She still has a hard time believing that she works at the park herself, “I never thought I would be working here, but here I am almost seven years later!”

Kawai is one of many park rangers at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnauanau with a unique story and diverse background. Speaking to other rangers, you hear different stories of where they come from and how they came to be there. Another park ranger, Emily Welch, hails from the US mainland and has been at the park for just over two years. “No park ranger has the same story as to how they got here,” she says and goes on to point out, “The one thing that we have in common is that we all wanted to be here.”

The Future: Keeping the Pulse Alive

Kahaka‘io says, “We’re always looking forward, and what we are hoping to see on a cultural level is to enhance our cultural practices, to inspire carvers to learn how to carve their ki‘i (statues) and to carve their wa‘a, to inspire people from other islands and other places to recognize sacred places in their areas and learn what it means to take care of those places.” Kahaka‘io calls it mo‘okuene (stewardship). “Serving the ‘āina (land), and bringing that sense of balance back to a place and restoring that pulse.”

Kawai hopes to see the park remain as a place where everyone is welcome. “This park protects one of the best preserved pu‘uhonua in the Hawaiian Islands. That’s unique and special, and that’s something we want to continue to do, protect this wahi pana for future generations to be able to connect and visit.” ❖


Hālau wa‘a (canoe house) at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau. photo by Lara Hughes
Hālau wa‘a (canoe house) at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau. photo by Lara Hughes

57th Anniversary and Annual Cultural Festival: Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24, from 9am to 3pm. Admission is free.

To volunteer, contact:
Kawailehua Domingo kawailehua_domingo@nps.gov or the Interpretation Division at 808.328.2326

For more information: nps.gov/puho/index.htm

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The Big Island Press Club: Then and Now

Originally written for and published by Ke Ola Magazine: https://keolamagazine.com/

By Paula Thomas and Lara Hughes

Celebrating 50 Years

Click the cover to see this story in our digital magazine.
Originally Published in Ke Ola Magazi

The Big Island Press Club is the oldest running media and journalism organization in existence on Hawai‘i Island. In September, the club celebrated 50 years of protecting the public’s right to be accurately informed. A dinner was held at Nani Mau Gardens in Hilo to commemorate the auspicious anniversary. Pulitzer prize winner Kirstin Downey was the event’s keynote speaker. In attendance were BIPC founding members Jim Wilson and Eugene Tao, Hawai‘i media professionals, senators, representatives, council people, students and a multitude of community members. Mayor Harry Kim issued a proclamation and declared September 21, the day of the celebration, to be known as Big Island Press Club Day.

In reflection, founding member Jim Wilson commented, “I’m very proud… the club is still in action after 50 years and has a very good record in fighting for openness in government… that is quite an accomplishment.” BIPC president and recent UH Hilo graduate Lara Hughes called for the continued support of journalists and media professionals in the islands and elsewhere, “Our freedoms reflect the successful efforts and sacrifices reporters and media members of the world have made. It is important to consider the coming generations and what we might do for them.”

Historic Beginnings

In the spirit of ensuring a free press, open government, and connection among members of the media back in August 1967, journalists and news broadcasters got together to create a club on Hawai‘i Island. These young men and women worked for the newspapers and radio stations, all competitors for scoops on breaking headlines. To quote former Tribune-Herald news editor Hugh Clark about these times, “Radio folks did not talk to each other and never to the newspaper guys or vice versa.”

1970- Eugene Tao (l) presents Member of the Year award to Walt Southward and Hugh Clark (far right).
1970- Eugene Tao (l) presents Member of the Year award to Walt Southward and Hugh Clark (far right).

As a founder looking back on the events of 50 years ago Gene Tao reflected, “The club was organized during a time when there was a brutal labor strike against the Tribune-Herald. It had really divided the community.” As the story goes, Bill Arballo, a radio guy from KIPA and stringer for United Press International, encouraged a steak fry. Shortly following that, noted correspondent for the Honolulu Advertiser, Walt Southward, hosted a meeting at his home. The stage was set, and the next meeting at the Hilo Country Club launched the official start of the Big Island Press Club.

Within a year, club members had passed so many good times on Friday’s in an old parsonage next to the Tribune-Herald which housed its very own bar, its social purpose was solidified. Says Gene of the change in social climate, “The Press Club was a good gathering place for all media.” The club mended the fences between the news and radio guys. It helped members get past the strike in 1967 and got people working together over issues of open and transparent government.

Early club members hailed from the three AM radio stations on Hawai‘i Island as well as from the seven newspapers statewide. Bill Arballo, from KIPA radio and UPI, was a co-founder along with Jim Wilson, then advertising director and later publisher of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Tribune-Herald reporters Gene Tao and Hugh Clark, along with Southward (who later became a noted PR specialist) and radio DJ Clift Tsuji made up the core group of founders. Advertiser Cartoonist Harry Lyons crafted a logo for the club in a tribute to the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele, as she sat at a typewriter making the news. It was delivered to the club with a message: strive to be more than the flourishing Honolulu Press Club. To this day, there are only two press clubs in the state of Hawai‘i.

1977 Hugh Clark in BIPC newsletter.
1977 Hugh Clark in BIPC newsletter.

Once the Club got going, the first big challenge came in the form of having an “Openness in Government” provision approved by the Charter Commission. Nearly 18 months later, an open-meetings open-records provision was part of the Hawai‘i County Charter, and the Club had won its first major battle.

For the initial two years Bill served as the club’s charter president, and in 1970, he and other BIPC members launched an original show called the Imu at the Naniloa Crown Room. The first successful evening, complete with song and dance by members including Hal Glatzer and George Durham, set the stage for a decade-long run of satire-fueled annual fundraising roasts.

Legacy Scholarships

Hilo High School journalism teacher Yukino Fukubori was asked to join the club soon after its launch. She refused unless the club would create a scholarship for students interested in media studies. Cobbling together membership dues wouldn’t work long term; but as luck would have it, when roving reporter Robert C. Miller spoke at the club’s first event, attendee and at the time state senator “Doc” Hill was so moved he donated $1,000 toward a scholarship, and Yukino joined the club.

BIPC members launched an original show called the Imu at the Naniloa Crown Room to raise funds for their scholarships.
BIPC members launched an original show called the Imu at the Naniloa Crown Room to raise funds for their scholarships.

Now, 48 years later, there are six scholarships awarded annually in amounts that total over $4,500. One of the scholarships today comes from funds donated by Yukino herself.

Each year at a dinner held in late April–May, these commemorative scholarships go to Hawai‘i Island students enrolled in college full-time and pursuing a career in journalism or a related field.

Much of the funding comes from donations made by the family and friends of members who have passed on and wish to keep the club’s legacy alive. Thanks to the persistent work of former Star Bulletin reporter Rod Thompson who served as club treasurer for 11 years, the BIPC has wisely invested and protected these funds for the continued support of future generations of Hawai‘i’s media and journalism students. The club became a bona fide nonprofit organization in 2004, making donations tax-deductible. Robert Duerr, of Hawaii Fishing News, took over from Rod as treasurer and has served in the position for the past 14 years.

Patsy Iwasaki, Erika Engle, Kamakaila Waipa, Cashman Aiu, and Bob Duerr at the 2014 Scolarship Dinner. photo courtesy of Denise Laitinen
Patsy Iwasaki, Erika Engle, Kamakaila Waipa, Cashman Aiu, and Bob Duerr at the 2014 Scolarship Dinner. photo courtesy of Denise Laitinen

Janis Selland Wong, who worked for the Tribune-Herald as a reporter and recently retired from running her own freelance writing and editing business, was among the first students to earn a scholarship in 1969. Janis reflects, “That I received the BIPC scholarship 48 years ago and the program continues today is testimony to the Club’s dedication and commitment to future journalists as well as defending the public’s right to know.” She now serves on the board of the BIPC as a director and as the membership committee chair.

Scholarships not only help to perpetuate the journalism profession but keep the BIPC connected to the upcoming generations of would-be media members.

Program covers from Imu, the BIPC annual fundraising roast performance.
Program covers from Imu, the BIPC annual fundraising roast performance.

On a Mission

Each year the BIPC announces an emeritus award and a deserved dishonor award. The Torch of Light award goes to a person or organization that works to uphold the public’s right to know. Last year the club honored State Senator Lorraine Inouye for her legislative advocacy during the 2015 Puna lava flow where press was initially banned. This year, the club is giving the award to Nancy Cook-Lauer of West Hawaii Today for her investigative reporting work, which shed light on former Mayor Kenoi’s misuse of a county-issued p-card.

BIPC past president, Denise Laitinen, with Torch of Light Winners Sen. Lorraine Inoye, and Nancy Cook-Lauer at a scholarship dinner.
BIPC past president, Denise Laitinen, with Torch of Light Winners Sen. Lorraine Inoye, and Nancy Cook-Lauer at a scholarship dinner.

The Lava Tube dishonor award goes to an individual whose lack of communication keeps the public in the dark.

The Big Island Press Club also sponsors newsmaker luncheons and networking events with guest speakers including award-winning TV investigative reporter-turned-PR specialist Keoki Kerr and Hawaii Newspaper publisher Dennis Francis, among others.

The BIPC has also helped sponsor the student-organized UH Hilo Media Symposium for the past two-years running and has welcomed students to serve as directors on the board. Some of these students have even gone on to hold officer positions.

Continuing Support

As Hugh noted in his history of the BIPC, “legal battles are everywhere.” Jim commented, “We will always face the issue of access. Open government will always be an issue for reporters.”

Members Denise Laitinen, Lara Hughes, Don Barth, Teresa Barth, Gene Tao, Bob Duerr, Betsy Duerr, Jan Wong, and Rod Thompson. photo courtesy of Denise Laitinen
Members Denise Laitinen, Lara Hughes, Don Barth, Teresa Barth, Gene Tao, Bob Duerr, Betsy Duerr, Jan Wong, and Rod Thompson. photo courtesy of Denise Laitinen

Gene adds a new layer to the conversation, addressing the technological advances that media professionals and the global community face today, “There is too much fake news because people don’t have good training. It’s what has got us all confused. That’s why I think that education is important. Two things I want to see the Press Club continue is education and to be the watchdog for the people.”

Providing scholarships to students and a networking platform for media professionals while upholding the public’s right to know has been the mission of the BIPC since its founding, and it may be more important than ever in today’s political climate and this era of fake news.

It is a tribute to the early founders that a club like this exists here on Hawai‘i Island. We can all take a moment to be grateful that it is still going strong, and hard at work on its First Amendment-inspired mission that benefits us all.

If you are interested in supporting the club by becoming a member for a $25 annual dues fee, serving on a committee, or making a donation, visit bigislandpressclub.org. ❖


 

To see this article as it was originally published online, and other articles published in Ke Ola magazine, please visit: https://keolamagazine.com/then-now/big-island-press-club/

 

 

Women in the Workforce: You are Your Own Leader

Recent Statistical History of Women at Work

Women in the workforce have come a long way since the 1960s. Statistics presented by the U.S. Department of Labor (2012) show women’s labor participation is up by 53 percent since 1963. There have been several initiatives put into place by lawmakers in order to promote equality for working women. These include the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (U.S. Dept. Labor, 2012).

Despite the fact that there are more women in the American workforce than ever before, and despite all of the legislation passed to help women succeed regardless of discrimination, females still face difficulties and adversity.

Present Day Statistics

Currently, women in the U.S. take home less income than men. The median weekly earnings of women workers, ages 16 and over in 2013, was $706 dollars. The median weekly earnings of men, ages 16 and over was $860 dollars. In other words, on average, women make $0.82 for every $1.00 that men make. This might not seem like a huge difference, but over the course of a year it means that women take home roughly $36,712 while men take home $44,720 for doing the same job (U.S. Dept. Labor, 2015).

Another recent statistic shows that the majority of students who are attending college today are women. Forbes (2012) reports that universities are made up of 43.6 percent men and 56.4 percent women. Female domination of higher education prevails across all schools whether it be public, private, or not-for-profit institutions. This is interesting if you compare the ratio of males to females who are of eligible college age. There are more males than females in the age range of 18 to 24 who are of college age, at 51 percent vs. 49 percent (Borzelleca, 2012).

This could possibly be explained by the fact that there is more of a demand in leading occupations that do not require a college degree in fields that women typically don’t enter. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor (2015) reported that the in-demand, higher-paying occupations for 2010 to 2020 include; accountants and auditors, brick masons, cargo and freight agents, carpenters, cement masons, cost estimators, and database administrators. The percentage of women actually employed in these fields? Aside from the field of accounting a very low percentage of women actually work in these occupations, approximately zero to 39 percent, which are dominated by men and require only a high school diploma (U.S. Dept. Labor, 2015).

Women in Male Dominated Roles

So, what if women decided to become cement masons or decided to work in a male dominated field? Take the case of Lilly Ledbetter, as reported by the National Women’s Law Center (2015). She was one of the few female supervisors at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Gadsden, Alabama.   She worked there for close to two decades. After overcoming sexual harassment and being told by her male counterparts that they didn’t think a woman should be working there, she found out through an anonymous tip that the salaries of the three male managers with whom she worked were grossly higher than her own. Ledbetter then filed a complaint and her case went to trial. She was awarded $3.3 million and new legislation was signed into action by President Obama on January 29, 2009, restoring the Protection Against Pay Discrimination Act, which some would claim “had been stripped away” by the Supreme Court in its earlier ruling in the Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. case (National Women’s Law Center, 2015).

Ledbetter did not give up and she took an active role in making things better for women: financially, legislatively, mentally, and socially. This is also not ruling out the fact that women have a lot of adversity to face and overcome.

Progress Toward Equal Pay

What is being done about inequality in the workforce? Aside from legislative acts and amendments, the White House under President Obama reported that raising the minimum wage will greatly impact women.

Obama said in a speech at Central Connecticut State University on March 5, 2014 that, “Most people who would get a raise if we raise the minimum wage are not teenagers on their first job- their average age is 35. Women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs. These Americans are working full-time, often supporting families, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with our economy’s productivity, they’d already be earning well over 10$ an hour today. Instead, it’s stuck at $7.25. Every time Congress refuses to raise it, it loses value because the cost of living goes higher, minimum wage stays the same (The White House, 2015, p.1).”

Congress is 18 percent women and 82 percent men. One argument regarding women’s lower income on a national level, is the idea that if you were to remove all of the male CEO’s earnings, maybe women would actually be making wages comparable to men’s wages. However, this only opens up another question; why are there so many more male CEO’s than female CEO’s and are their wages the same or are they being paid more? Catalyst (2015) did a statistical overview of women in Fortune 500 Companies and found that only 14.6 percent of executive officer positions were held by women and Fortune 500 board seats actually occupied by women were 16.9 percent (Knowledge Center, 2015).

Leadership and Mentorship

Women are reportedly often-times viewed as ‘risky’ investments to employ in typically male dominated roles. For example, the Harvard Business Review (2015) states that women are twice as likely to be hired from outside of a company as opposed to being promoted internally. They went on to claim that, “This finding might suggest that women are very likely not emerging as winners in their firms’ own CEO tournaments (Ibarra, Carter, & Silva, 2015, p. 6).” Aside from that, they cited a study conducted in 2008 of more than 4,000 full-time employed men and women. These were individuals who were considered high potentials and had graduated from top MBA programs worldwide. The study revealed that the women were paid $4,600 less in their first post-MBA jobs. They also occupied lower-level management positions and reportedly had less career satisfaction as compared to their male cohorts (Ibarra et al., 2015).

Another factor to consider is mentorship. According to one study, more women actually have more mentors than men do. However, the same 2008 study suggested that women’s mentors have “less organizational clout (Ibarra et al., 2015, p. 4),” and a follow up survey conducted in 2010 shows that men received 15 percent more promotions than women did. Something that could be considered quite interesting, is that 67 percent of the people involved in the study found their mentors on their own (Ibarra et al., 2015). So, does this mean that women aren’t picking mentors that can help them advance? Are women actively sabotaging themselves? Or are there vast differences in how women are mentored vs. men?

There is of course the dilemma of the double standard. Men who are mentoring or working with other men can go out for a drink together and no one thinks twice about it, whereas if a male co-worker, mentor, or boss goes out for a drink with a female co-worker, things are often viewed differently by society and sometimes by the individuals involved. Aside from that, real or perceived interests may be the responsible underlying motivation rather than professionalism.

Conclusion

These are all things that women should consider keeping in mind. Overall, there is a lot of work to be done as far as women’s equality in the workplace is concerned, but as individuals we are also responsible for our own reality. There are a few exceptions to this rule as our world is dominated by freewill, however, if we remain diligent our goals and ambitions can be reached. This is being clearly demonstrated as the steady increase in percentages of women CEO’s and females in the job market, in general, rises.

Women should not be discouraged, angry, or become indignant but rather, be as pro-active in their own lives as possible. In the end, you are your own leader. Rather than putting yourself down, raise yourself up, and even more importantly, raise up those around you, and you will succeed.

Bibliography

Anderson, Melissa J. “Why Do We Need Male Mentors and Sponsors? The Glass Hammer.” The Glass Hammer RSS. N.p., 23 Mar. 2013. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

Borzelleca, Daniel. “The Male-Female Ratio in College.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 04 Feb. 2015.

Francis, David R. “Why Do Women Outnumber Men in College?” Why Do Women Outnumber Men in College? N.p., 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

Ibarra, Herminia, Nancy M. Carter, and Christine Silva. “Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Review, 01 Sept. 2010. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

“Knowledge Center.” Knowledge Center. Ed. Catalyst. N.p., 03 Mar. 2014. Web. 05 Feb. 2015.

“LEDBETTER v. GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER CO., INC.” SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES (2007): n. pag. http://www.supremecourt.gov. The Supreme Court, May 2007. Web.

“Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.” National Women’s Law Center. N.p., 29 Jan. 2013. Web. 05 Feb. 2015.

“Median Weekly Earnings by Sex, Marital Status, and Presence and Age of Own Children under 18 in 2012 : The Economics Daily : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

Office of the Press Secretary. “NEW WHITE HOUSE REPORT: The Impact of Raising the Minimum Wage on Women and the Importance of Ensuring a Robust Tipped Minimum Wage.” The White House. The White House, 26 Mar. 2014. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

U.S. Dept. of Labor. “In-Demand, Higher-Paying Occupations (2010-2020).” Women’s Bureau (WB) In-Demand Occupations (2010-2020). N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

U.S. Dept. of Labor. “Latest Annual Data.” Women’s Bureau (WB). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013. Web. 08 Feb. 2015.

U.S. Dept. of Labor. “Leading Occupations.” Women’s Bureau (WB). N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

U.S. Dept. of Labor. “Women, Work & The Work Ahead.” 50 Years Later N.P., n.d. Web. 2012.

Local Entrepreneur Enlists the Help of Nine UH Hilo Interns to Launch the ‘Firm of the Future’

claire-group
The Fall 2017 Akau Accounting interns with UH Hilo alumna and business entrepreneur Claire-Ann Niibu-Akau, pictured front-and-center. Photos by Darryl Holland.

UH Hilo alumna launches a new accounting firm and offers internship opportunities to students

UH Hilo alumna Claire-Ann Niibu-Akau just launched her accounting firm of the future. Niibu-Akau graduated in December 2015 with a degree in accounting. She opened her business Akau Accounting this Fall, and is looking to innovate her field. She says, “I’ve been doing bookkeeping and accounting for about 20 years, but I began this firm in November. I wanted to continue to support small businesses in Hawaii.” Niibu-Akau has hired nine UH Hilo student-interns to help her revolutionize her practice through technological advancements. The Akau Accounting organizational structure is designed to be a virtual on-line accounting practice. This allows for remote anywhere-in-the-world bookkeeping for clients and also provides the company’s student-interns with flexibility. Niibu-Akau, her employees and interns are able to work at the hours that best fit their schedules and meet client demand from virtually anywhere in the world.

Internship program to provide a diversified and innovative environment

Niibu-Akau hired nine student-interns after participating in the UH Hilo College of Business and Economics Internship and Job Fair. One of her main goals is to help people in the community, and she feels that having interns is a large part of that. As a recent graduate, Niibu-Akau knows what the importance of a good internship experience can provide for students.

“I know that students are very capable and I believe that if given the opportunity, our UH Hilo students have great potential for self-development and personal growth.”

Of the nine students that have been hired, seven are focusing on accounting and two are focusing on marketing. Niibu-Akau says, “The cool thing is that the interns are so diverse in skill and background.”

The Akau Accounting interns hail from different areas of the globe including China, the Marshall Islands, Hawaii and the Mainland United States. They come from culturally diverse settings and bring expertise from various walks of life. Niibu-Akau expects that the interns will also help a lot of small businesses in the community. “Interns bring a lot of great ideas, a high level of energy and will grow in their knowledge.”

Meet the interns

Jiaqi Wu – Marketing Intern

jiaqiwuA junior business administration major from China, Wu says, “Internships can give me a good opportunity to put my marketing knowledge into practice.” Wu is hoping to build her marketing skills and get more professional experience by working in a real business practice setting.

Yuye Zhao – Marketing Intern

yuyezhaoIn her junior year, Zhao hails from China. She is looking to gain first-hand experience in the business world, “I suggest students take more internships to gain more real world experience. If they only study the classes, they may be far away from the real business world.”

Will Lewis – Accounting Intern

willlewisAn accounting major in his junior year, Lewis graduated from High School in California. He began the internship after being referred by friends in the CoBE department, “After speaking with Claire, it became evident that she had a very forward thinking vision for her business. The integration of technology into the accounting profession, as well as the business being built upon technological developments and tools really excited me.”

Wyatt Nelson – Accounting Intern

wyattnelsonNelson is an accounting major in his senior year at UH Hilo. “Being able to look at the inner workings of a business just by analyzing its finances is a prospect that I have always found fascinating, that coupled with the opportunity to provide financial advisory to others made accounting a field that I believe suits my talents and who I am very well.” Nelson also holds roles in various clubs on campus including the Accounting Club and the Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity, and organizes tutoring sessions for accounting students.

Calvin Myazoe – Accounting Intern

calvinmyazoeAn intern majoring in accounting who will be graduating in May 2017. Myazoe attended high school in California and used to work for a bank, “I was advised by my supervisor at the time to attend college and study accounting… the more I got into it and understand concepts, slowly though progressively, I started liking it.” Myazoe is involved in the Micronesian United – Big Island Club and also the Pacific Islander Student Center. His advice to students? “Manage their time wisely. Everything in college is done by yourself. You do nothing, there’s no progress. Whereas, if you do your best, you put yourself in a position to succeed.”

Manuel Fernandez – Accounting Intern

manuelfernandezA sophomore at UH Hilo who grew up in California and is majoring in accounting, Fernandez has a very streamlined interest in this internship. “I hope to learn how to navigate the Quick Books platform and implement year-end adjusting entries to reconcile the client’s accounts for year end financial statements.” Fernandez lost two of his fingers in a carpentry accident, “The tragedy of cutting off my fingers afforded me the opportunity to pursue what was just a thought; my accounting degree and CPA license.” Fernandez also holds a role as the vice president of professional activities in the Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity.

Krizha Tumaneng – Accounting Intern

krzhaA senior pursuing a double concentration in business administration of management and marketing, she is also a double major, working to achieve a degree in accounting as well. Tumaneng hopes to learn financial, management and marketing skills particular to the accounting field through her internship experience. Tumaneng is a member of the American Marketing Association on campus.

Xiaoting Liu – Accounting Intern

xiaotingliuAn accounting and finance major, Liu attended school in China before coming to Hawaii. This is her final semester at UH Hilo and she has been participating in internships regularly, “Internships definitely help me to build my experience and utilize what I have learned in the classroom, and bring it into a real business world [setting].” Liu is interested in building on her teamwork skills and accounting knowledge. She is an auditor at the Ron Dolan CPA Firm and the vice president of finance for Delta Sigma Pi.

Rissa Domingo – Accounting Intern

rissadomingoDomingo is a senior majoring in accounting who grew up in the Marshall Islands. She thought that this internship would provide a great opportunity to improve her skills and learn about her strengths and weaknesses while enhancing her professional confidence. “I want to know what is expected of me, how I can contribute efficiently and improve effectively, personally and professionally.” Domingo advises students to always have a positive attitude and educate themselves in all aspects of their lives. Her advice to students is, “Continue to pursue higher education and seize any academic and professional opportunities that come your way.”

My Summer Internship at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Seated front-and-center with the 2016 DNCC interns.

June 29, 2016
Philadelphia, PA

I was raised on a sailboat in the Pacific Ocean and later grew up running around barefoot in the Ka‘ū desert on Hawai‘i Island. Living in a house perched on an active volcano and climbing through tropical jungles in search of hundred-foot waterfalls is just something that came with the territory.

Hawai‘i Island is a vast melting pot of diversity, not just geographically but also culturally and ethnically. In fact, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, where I am currently a senior majoring in business administration and interning in the Office of the Chancellor, is one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the country.

Fitting then, that this island girl—a fourth generation kama‘āina (born in Hawai‘i) and great-granddaughter of plantation immigrants from Korea—would wind up interning over the summer at the Democratic National Convention Committee  in Philadelphia. The DNCC internship program is 60 percent women and 60 percent ethnic minority groups. Needless to say, I feel right at home, minus the waterfalls.

Why internships?

At UH Hilo, a lot of emphasis is placed on internships. Why internships? In a word, the future, and in the case of the Democratic National Convention Committee, it is a future not just for the interns who were lucky enough to snag one of the 50 coveted spots, but also for coming generations as the leaders and platforms of tomorrow are being shaped.

My experience here at the DNCC is an amazing opportunity for skill building in time management, interdepartmental networking, on-the-spot problem solving, and absolute action. The chance to work with seasoned experts, past White House staff, and rising leaders is the icing on the cake. I am fortunate enough to be a part of a team at the DNCC tasked with volunteer coordination, and with roughly 17,000 volunteers signed into our system, the pressure is on… and I’m loving every minute of it.

The author and Marian Martez, a volunteer that she helped find a position for at the DNC.
With Marian Martez, a volunteer I helped find a position for at the convention.

As each day flies by, I find myself relying on the different skill sets I have developed over the years through my travels and my education, and there are a few that stand out to me in my role with the DNCC.

First, the transition of moving from an island town to an East Coast city was made more fluid by my past travel experiences. After graduating with an associate’s degree from Hawai‘i Community College’s West Hawai‘i campus, I lived in Italy for seven years. From there I traveled across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This has influenced my appreciation for cultural differences and shaped my ability to navigate diverse societies and locales with respect and confidence.

The second contributing factor to my work here has been my internship experience with the UH Hilo chancellor’s office, where I work in public information primarily writing for the website UH Hilo Stories. Developing stories, contacting sources, interviewing professionals, writing informative articles—all under tight deadlines—serve as a strong foundation for my work with the DNCC: quick and effective communication, relationship building, and being able to hit the ground running.

Further, the chancellor’s office internship brought me in contact with someone who has become an important mentor to me. My editor at UH Hilo Stories encouraged me to apply for the DNCC summer internship, helped me with my résumé, gives me professional advice along the way, and reminds me to stay positive when things are challenging.

Lara Hughes with the Hawaii Delegation during Hillary Clintons acceptance speech for the nomination.
Sitting with the Hawai‘i delegation during Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech for the nomination. Click to enlarge.

Also helping me in my work with the DNCC is a surprising skill I’ve discovered in myself: an ability to appreciate and learn from mistakes. We all make mistakes, but I’ve discovered it is what we do afterward that defines us and perhaps, more importantly, determines who we will become one day. Taking a difficult experience and turning it into something positive nurtures an ability to move forward and do better for ourselves, and helping those around us is exponentially multiplied.

It is the moving forward that answers the question, “Why internships?” Internships are the first steps in training young professionals who have the potential to build the world’s communities of tomorrow. Being here in Philadelphia this summer, gaining more experience than I ever thought possible in a short period of time, I feel more inspired and excited about moving forward into the future than ever before.

The Point

Manarola, Italy

A fence, flowers turned
toward a cloud covered sky.
The sun sets on the distant haze-
covered horizon as the air, sweet
and damp, sinks into my skin.
Vivacious green, shatters
the rocky coastline,
jutting forth from the wave
covered depths.
Blue sky opens overhead and
the scent of musk and earth
glides down the mountainside.

©2016 Lara Hughes

Beauty Forgotten

Heavy wind-feathered, soft water seas,
Cotton-wet clouds and a northerly breeze

Heart sighing, mind enlightened,
Protectors take flight for those who are frightened

Light filters through windows, illuminating my words
While a thousand little thoughts, fly away like tiny little birds

A sun warmed magnificent terrain,
beauty-colored landscapes abiding in gentle refrain

Life lives and life grows,
Life passes, life goes

Standing in the shadows, looking down from on-high,
Simple beauty, easily forgotten, as it passes us by

©2016 Lara Hughes