In May, Rep. Jill Tokuda (HI-02) held a ceremony in O‘ahu to announce the winner of the U.S. House of Representatives Artistic Discovery Contest, a high school art competition in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, to showcase the students’ artistic talent.

Cailyn Omuro from Maui High School will have her art piece “Hanagasa Waraba” displayed in the U.S. Capitol. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda’s website)
Cailyn Omuro from Maui High School will have her art piece “Hanagasa Waraba” displayed in the U.S. Capitol. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda’s website)

Rep. Tokuda announced that the panel of three local artist judges selected art created by Cailyn Omuro from Maui High School as the winner of the competition. Omuro’s masterpiece will hang in the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon tunnel on display for members of Congress and tens of thousands of visitors to see.

Omuro’s artwork is titled “Hanagasa Waraba” and the medium is colored pencil. Omuro shared the significance of her artwork, stating, “Waraba means ‘child’ and hanagasa is a flower hat worn traditionally by female Okinawan dancers. However, in this piece, I chose to portray the wearer as the feminine version of a boy in order to illustrate the struggle with sexuality and gender that is an integral part of society. There is a stigma associated with discussion about gender and sexuality,” said Omuro. “By including the illustration of magpies, I tried to showcase the subjectiveness of stigma. In Western culture, the magpie is a symbol of bad luck, but in eastern Asian culture, it is just the opposite. The duality of the magpie’s symbolism mirrors the juxtaposing impact of the boy in the Hangasa. I hope that with this piece, I can make a small contribution to breaking the silence effect of the stigma on this topic.”

Rep. Tokuda also announced that the other two second congressional district finalists, Lia Kuo from Hilo High School and Tiffany Castillo from Leilehua High School, will have their art featured in her offices in Washington, Washington, D.C., and Hawai‘i on a rotating exhibit so visitors to her offices can see the works of art.


Honsador Lumber announced four winners of its Spring 2023 High School Hero Award. This is the second round of High School Hero winners for the school year, and the spring submissions were open from Wednesday, Feb. 1 through Saturday, April 8. Through an online application process, nominations were submitted by students, family, community and faculty members. The four winners were selected based on good academic standing, going above and beyond to show school spirit and serving their community as a positive role model.

Winners received a $250 donation by Honsador Lumber in the students’ names to the academic department or non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of their choosing as well as a $1,500 cash prize to each recipient.

Each of the winners visited their local Honsador Lumber branch to be awarded their certificate by Honsador’s Senior Director, Tyler Williams. Marisa Draper is from O‘ahu, and her donation will be made to the Pacific Gateway Center. Draper was valedictorian at Kahuku High School and has plans to attend either Columbia University or Brigham Young University to study biochemistry.

Jada Keen is a senior at Kealakehe High School on the Big Island, and her donation is to be made to Offshore Big Island. Keen is an athlete who competed in swimming, cross country and water polo throughout her years at Kealakehe High School.

Joveline Alvareza senior at Waimea High School on the island of Kaua‘i, will donate to the Waimea High School JROTC program. Alvarez was president of the Waimea High School Robotics Club and an active member in the JROTC. Her plans include attending Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, to get a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.

Haley Mahoe is a senior at Lahainaluna High School and will be donating to the Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai. Mahoe excelled in both the classroom and athletics, maintaining a 4.2 GPA while participating in varsity cross country, basketball, soccer, and track and field.

Haley Mahoe, a student from Lahainaluna High School received the Honsador Spring 2023 High School Hero Award. (Photo courtesy of Honsador Lumber)
Haley Mahoe, a student from Lahainaluna High School received the Honsador Spring 2023 High School Hero Award. (Photo courtesy of Honsador Lumber)

Congratulations to all the Spring 2023 award recipients. Honsador plans to continue its High School Hero and Scholarship programs in the 2023-24 academic year. Visit to learn more and stay up to date on Facebook (


Hawaii HIS Corporation announced the second phase of its “Mälama Hawai‘i” experiences, promoting responsible tourism under the partnership with Hawaii Tourism Japan. In accordance with the memorandum of understanding concluded between HIS Hawaii and HTJ in September 2022, HIS Hawaii expanded its LeaLea Mälama Shuttle in May 2023, a shuttle service that brings tourists and local residents in Hawai‘i to various volunteer-based events hosted by non-profit organizations in the state.

HIS Hawaii plan to double the number of events to create “Genki Balls” or mud balls in contribution to The Genki Ala Wai Project, a local non-profit organization aiming to improve the water quality in the Ala Wai canal using the balls to digest sludge, with a goal to “improve the water quality in the Ala Wai Canal and make it swimmable by 2026.” The event has been held at the LeaLea Lounge every Thursday since May to help with speedily restoring the canal.

The Surfrider Foundation is one of the local non-profit organizations working with Hawaii HIS Corporation’s Mälama Hawai‘i program to bring local residents and tourists to volunteer-based events. (Photo courtesy of Hawaii HIS Corporation)
The Surfrider Foundation is one of the local non-profit organizations working with Hawaii HIS Corporation’s Mälama Hawai‘i program to bring local residents and tourists to volunteer-based events. (Photo courtesy of Hawaii HIS Corporation)

Participants create the Genki Ball that help to clean the Ala Wai canal, located north of Waikïkï. This event will commence at the LeaLea Lounge, the first certified HTJ satellite office in Hawai‘i. All the staff members are qualified and certified as a high rank “Hawai‘i Specialist” to answer any questions about the islands. Creating the Genki Balls are free to participate and throwing a Genki Ball into the Ala Wai canal is $10 for three balls.

Japan’s COVID-19 border control measures for returning Japanese and foreign travelers to present vaccination documents or proof of a negative COVID-19 tests ended on Monday, May 8. Subsequently, from Friday, May 12, vaccination documents are no longer required for international travelers when entering the United States. The number of passengers from Japan to Hawai‘i, which had remained stagnant in the last three years due to the pandemic, are expected to begin to increase, starting from this summer.

The program stresses the importance to increase awareness and understanding of Mälama Hawai‘i, (which means “to take care of Hawai‘i”), in promoting responsible tourism, where caring for Hawai‘i’s natural resources, traditions and culture equally among visitors. HIS Hawaii will run and manage the Mälama Hawai‘i events under the partnership with HTJ, as well as in collaborations with local non-profit organizations. All events will be open to the public for tourists and local Hawai‘i residents to participate.

Participants are able to travel with the LeaLea Mälama Shuttle service to different volunteer events hosted by non-profit organizations. The program hopes by taking part in the events alongside the local people, who cherish Hawai‘i and the environment, will provide new experiences that may be quite different from what traditional tours offer. A bilingual LeaLea staff person will accompany the tours to make it accessible and supportive for guests. The program has prepared a tour in which participants are able to receive volunteer certificates, in response to the recent trend in Japan, where remote work and volunteer time off have become common.

Additionally, to commemorate the partnership with HTJ, special gift sets by HTJ will be provided to the first 30 participants, who are also members of the Aloha Program, HTJ’s official learning website. The gift sets will include a calendar containing Hawaiian

proverbs, a luggage tag and a Shupatto x Steven Kean shopping bag, designed by a local artist.

Upcoming projects include a beach cleanup with Sustainable Coastlines on Saturday, June 3; restoration and maintenance of Paepae O He‘eia, an ancient fishpond on Wednesday, June 14; recycled plastic waste workshop at Bishop Museum at the “For Our Ocean” Parley AIR Station on Saturday, July 1; a Waikïkï beach cleanup with Parley for the Oceans on Monday, July 17; and gardening with “Connect with Hawai‘i’s Ocean” with the Surfrider Foundation on Saturday, July 29. The participation fee is $10 per person and keiki 12 and under can attend for free. Reservations can be made on the company’s website.

With support and cooperation from HTJ, HIS Hawaii will consider the respective roles and responsibilities of the local community, tourists and tourism workers, to focus and continue efforts on nature conservation, cultural perpetuity and the local community. The company supports Hawai‘i’s tourism-dependent economy and aim toward building a sustainable community while maintaining and strengthening Hawai‘i through this partnership. The program hopes to promote regenerative tourism to Hawai‘i and strives to improve the satisfaction of both the tourists and residents, as well as to preserve a better future for our islands.

For more information, visit


Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives and co-sponsor O‘ahu Cemetery Association will debut a new production, “Cemetery Pupu Theatre: Rediscovering History” on Fridays and Saturdays in June, beginning Friday, June 9 until Saturday, June 24 at O‘ahu Cemetery (2162 Nu‘uanu Ave). Tickets are $55 per person and are available at Ticket purchase includes two drink tickets and a heavy pupu bento. Drinks and pupu begin at 5 p.m. at the cemetery chapel and performances will begin promptly at 6 p.m.

The vision of Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives (HMH) is to enrich the community by fostering thoughtful dialogue and greater understanding of the missionary role and impact on the history of Hawai‘i. HMH brings history to life with carefully researched and scripted actor portrayals of figures from Hawai‘i’s history. HMH historical theater performances have been awarded over 15 Po‘okela Awards for excellence in theatrical performance, writing and direction. The new 2023 Cemetery Pupu Theatre: Rediscovering History will feature five portrayals focused on the history of libraries, archives and museums in Hawai‘i, including:

Robert Crichton Wyllie (1798-1865), born in East Ayrhire, Scotland. Wyllie graduated with a medical degree from the University of Glasgow by the time he was 20 years old. He had trading and real estate business partnerships in South America, Mexico and California. He accompanied William Miller, the new British Consul General to Hawai‘i from Mazatlán, Mexico, in 1844 as a secretary. In 1845, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hawaiian Kingdom by King Kamehameha III. He was an excellent record keeper and his work led him to gather together important government documents from the ali‘i that became the genesis of the archives of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and the modern Hawai‘i State Archives. He will be portrayed by Hamilton Clement.

George R. Carter (1866-1933), was born in Honolulu. He was the grandson of missionary doctor Gerrit P. Judd. He attended Fort Street School in Honolulu and Phillips Academy in Massachusetts. He returned to Hawai‘i in 1895 and worked as a clerk for C. Brewer and Company. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him territorial governor in 1903, replacing Sanford B. Dole. Carter was an avid collector of Hawaiiana and amassed a collection that became world-renowned. He donated most of his extensive personal library to the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society and was the genesis for the Hawaiian Mission Houses Archives. He will be portrayed by Ron Heller.

Edna Allyn (1861-1927), was born in Wellington, Ohio. She graduated from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, in 1882 and became a public school teacher. She later earned her master’s degrees in Latin from Columbia University and a degree in Library Science from Case Western Reserve University. After finishing her education, she took a job at the Cleveland Public Library. In 1907 she became the head librarian for the Hawaii Library and Reading Room Association. She convinced the territorial government that there should be a free public library. In 1921, she persuaded the territorial government to set up county library systems. This was the beginning of the Hawai‘i State Library System today, the only state library system that encompasses an entire state. The children’s reading room at the main library branch is named for her. She will be portrayed by Eden Lee Murray.

Emma Nakuina (1847-1929), was born in Honolulu. She was educated in Hawai‘i and California. She served as the curatrix of the Hawaiian National Museum, housed at Ali‘iölani Hale, from 1882-1887. The collections of the Hawaiian National Museum and Government Library were later transferred to the new Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. She became a respected cultural preservationist and was a recognized expert in folklore and water rights, serving as a water rights commissioner from 1892 to 1907. She published several works on folklore, legends and traditional water rights and systems. She will be portrayed by Kahana Ho.

Charles Reed Bishop (1822-1915), was born in Glen Falls, New York. Bishop sailed to Hawai‘i in 1846 along with a lawyer-friend, William Little Lee. They intended to sail for the Oregon Territory in 1846, but stopped and stayed in Hawai‘i instead. He courted Princess Bernice Pauahi throughout 1849 and they were married in 1850 in the parlor of the Chief’s Children’s School. He went on to found Bishop’s Bank in 1858, now First Hawaiian Bank. After the death of Princess Pauahi, he was an administrator for her trust, Bishop Estate, and helped to found Kamehameha Schools and Bishop Museum. Bishop Museum, today, is the premier museum about and for Hawai‘i. He will be portrayed by Christopher Denton.

Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, an active site for Hawai‘i’s history since 1820, is a National Historic Landmark (listed in 1965) and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The HMH library and historical archive holds over 80,000 digital pieces and is home to one of the largest collections of Hawaiian language printed material in the world. HMH is located on a one-acre site in downtown Honolulu. A coral-and-grass performance arena was added in 2011, hosting theater and mele (music) performances throughout the year, and a reconstructed hale pili, built using cultural practitioner leadership and designed with sources from journals in the HMH archives, was added in 2021. Thousands of students of all ages learn Hawai‘i’s history through field trips on site and through virtual tours.


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