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    May 2019
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Hawaii Tourism Authority – 2013 Tourism Legacy Awards

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, presented The Merrie Monarch Festival, Polynesian Cultural Center and Hilo Hattie with its 2013 Tourism Legacy Awards during the 2013 Hawai‘i Tourism Conference Legacy Awards Luncheon Thursday at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. All celebrating 50th anniversaries this year, the 2013 recipients are recognized for their long histories of perpetuating the Hawaiian culture and sustaining a “legacy of aloha” that makes Hawai‘i a special place to live and visit.

“We are proud to recognize The Merrie Monarch Festival, Polynesian Cultural Center and Hilo Hattie for their commitment and dedication in preserving and promoting our Hawaiian culture and history for the past 50 years,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Their legacies celebrate our unique people, place and culture that make our destination unlike anywhere else in the world. Congratulations and mahalo to this year’s honorees.”

The HTA’s 2013 Tourism Legacy Awards honorees were:

  • The Merrie Monach Festival is a nonprofit organization that honors the legacy of King David Kalākaua, who inspired the perpetuation of traditions, Hawaiian language and the arts.
    Photo from the Merrie Monarch Site

    Photo from the Merrie Monarch Site

    The week-long festival features an internationally acclaimed hula competition, an invitational craft fair, an art show, hula shows and a grand parade through Hilo town. The event draws nearly 10,000 visitors to the island of Hawai‘i each year. The festival is the focal point and catalyst that supports and draws an extensive network of instructional hula schools, masters, instructors, researchers and students of all ages who are committed to the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture. The proceeds from the festival support educational scholarships, workshops, seminars, symposiums and the continuation of the festival into the future.

  • The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) opened its doors 50 years ago this fall in an effort to preserve and perpetuate the host culture of Hawai‘i and all of Polynesia. PCCSince then, PCC has welcomed more than 37-million guests, providing fun and engaging opportunities to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Polynesian people, their language, food, music, song and dance. Representing the islands of Hawai‘i, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Rapa Nui (Easter Island), PCC inspires us to celebrate the differences of each culture as well as the similarities that connect us as Polynesians and to the rest of the world.
  • Hilo Hattie,” Clarissa “Clara” Haili, was known for her true aloha spirit and began her career as a school teacher who sang and danced her way into modern history.
     Hula dance Clara Inter / Hilo Hattie, Kodak Hula Show, Waikiki. The dance is "The Cock-eyed Mayor of Kaunakakai." The horse's name is "Kiele."  Photo Hawaii State Archives Circa 1937

    Hula dance Clara Inter / Hilo Hattie, Kodak Hula Show, Waikiki.
    The dance is “The Cock-eyed Mayor of Kaunakakai.” The horse’s name is “Kiele.” Photo Hawaii State Archives Circa 1937

    She popularized the comic hula style with such tunes as “When Hilo Hattie Does the Hula Hop” and “The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai.” She legally changed her name to “Hilo Hattie” in 1942, and became a household name in Hawai‘i and across the nation as “Hawai‘i’s Ambassador of Goodwill.” In 1963, Hilo Hattie opened its first store on the island of Kaua‘i, which has grown into a chain of seven stores across the Hawaiian Islands. The success of Hilo Hattie, “The Store of Hawai‘i” comes from their employees who are dedicated to providing that sense of aloha the world came to know in Hilo Hattie, the person. Clara “Hilo Hattie” Nelson passed away in 1979, leaving behind a legacy carried on by Hilo Hattie, “The Store of Hawai‘i.”

The Tourism Legacy Awards, evolving from the “Keep it Hawai‘i” program, was established by the HTA to honor individuals, organizations and businesses that perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and traditions. Honorees have worked diligently to nurture the host culture creating respectful and authentic visitor experiences while securing bonds between the visitor industry and the Hawaiian community. Previous honorees included the late Dr. George Kanahele, Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Bishop Museum.

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority is a state agency established by law in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry and tourism economy in the state of Hawai‘i. As the state’s tourism authority, its mission is to strategically manage tourism to optimize benefits for Hawai‘i, integrating the interests of visitors, the community and visitor industry. Through the implementation of the statewide Hawai‘i Tourism Strategic Plan and HTA’s own strategic plan, the authority works to direct Hawai‘i tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with our economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs. For more information on the HTA, please visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Polynesian Culture Center’s Newest Show Opens


The Polynesian Culture Center has always been a popular spot for folks to take their families on Oahu.


Their newest show Ha – Breath of Life had their first showing on Friday evening.


“This is every man’s story, told through the life of a Polynesian man named Mana  Journey along with young Mana as he is born out of the turmoil of a capsized canoe, washed upon the shores of life to find his way. He and his parents find refuge in Tonga and learn the importance of community…


…Little Mana celebrates his early years of life in Hawai‘i with the customary birthday lū‘au marking his survival in the world…


We next see Mana as a young boy in Aotearoa, or Maori New Zealand, where he is growing and becoming a young man…


…As he comes upon a beautiful maiden named Lani in Samoa, he learns about falling in love and earning the acceptance of her family…


…As he comes upon a beautiful maiden named Lani in Samoa, he learns about falling in love and earning the acceptance of her family. With love comes marriage and soon Mana and Lani are taking their vows in the romantic setting of Tahiti.


War touches their lives in Fiji…


…and Mana is saddened by the death of his father….


The story begins again with the celebration of life as Mana and Lani welcome their new baby into the world.


Quick Facts:

Production Cost: $3 million

Production Timeline: 3 years

Grand Opening: August 14, 2009

Length: 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

90 minutes with a 10 minute intermission

More Information Here