Kuakini Foundation celebrated the 115th anniversary of Kuakini Health Systems at its annual “Holiday Trees and Treasures” fundraising celebration on Nov. 20 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Coral Ballroom. Some 530 people turned out to support the multifaceted health system that was founded in 1900 by Japanese immigrants.
Bidding was brisk for the over 220 donated holiday trees and other silent auction treasures. The event was co-chaired by Kuakini Foundation chair Nancy Shimamoto and Kuakini’s vice president for finance and chief financial officer, Quin Ogawa. Steve Uyehara from Hawaii News Now’s “Sunrise” morning show emceed the program. Attendees were treated to Hawaiian music by Nä Hökü Hanohano award winner Mark Yamanaka, as well as Kellen and Lihau Hannahs Paik, the husband-and-wife Hawaiian music duo known as Kupaoa.
Kuakini president and CEO Gary Kajiwara told the audience that the medical facility is making a difference in Hawai‘i’s diverse community while also reaching back to its Japanese roots by developing healthy aging partnerships with medical facilities in Japan. He said Kuakini has reached its 115th anniversary with the support of many people.
Kajiwara took time to recognize his predecessors — Masaichi Tasaka and Ronald Oba.
The event was attended by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and his wife, Donna Tanoue. Caldwell said the Kuakini’s history is a story of immigrant struggle and success. “Out of that better life, Kuakini was created,” he said.
Caldwell noted with pride that his wife’s late father, Dr. Roy Toshiro Tanoue, was the hospital’s first board-certified surgeon and first chief of staff. He said Dr. Tanoue was able to attend medical school, thanks to the bowls of saimin his family served at their saimin stand in Kaimukï.
Proceeds from the event will be used for capital improvements to the Liliha campus and to further the facility’s services for the community.