Henry Kapono, “The Wild Hawaiian” Live in Concert at 2011 Big Island Film Festival “Best of the Fest”

Media Release:

Kapono means “righteous” in Hawaiian, and Henry Kapono will deliver some righteous Hawaiian music Sunday, May 15, 2011 at the Big Island Film Festival Best of the Fest Concert at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i Plantation Estate.


Henry Kapono

Athlete, self taught musician, singer, songwriter, traveler, author and actor, Kapono is part of Hawaii’s groundbreaking duo, Cecilio & Kapono, which reunites annually.  His musical career, including 14 solo albums starting with “Stand in the Light” in 1981, has achieved numerous Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and a Grammy nomination for “The Wild Hawaiian.”  Described as “a very ‘Bohemic’ collage of innovation and creativity continually evolving in a way that very few artists are able to sustain,” Kapono’s music reaches out to a broad international fan community.

“Henry is a fabulous addition to this year’s Big Island Film Festival,” said Executive Director Leo Sears.  “Not only will his music wow the crowd at Best of the Fest on Sunday, he’s an actor in one of the movies ‘Get a Job’ starring Willie K and Eric Gilliom on Thursday night at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Plantation Estate.”


Tickets go on sale April 1, and can be purchased on line at www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com. Best of the Fest tickets are $40 at the door ($30 kama‘āina) and $35 in advance ($25 kama‘āina), $10 keiki 6-12.  Admission includes Henry Kapono Concert, the audience-voted Best Feature and Best Short Films of BIFF 2011 and Silent Auction to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project for America’s veterans.  In addition, Hilo’s own Kristina Anapau (“Black Swan”) will make a special appearance and receive a Big Island Film Festival Ha’aheo Award.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival, a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, takes place May 11˗15, 2011 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani. (Self-parking validated.) Individual event tickets and passes are available April 1.

Wednesday, May 11, 7:30 p.m. Free Grand Opening May 11 at The Shops at Mauna Lani, to welcome the filmmakers and celebrities, and enjoy short films.

Thursday-Saturday, May 12-14.  Daytime movies at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Amphitheatre (times vary) and nightly double-feature Festival Films (up to R-rated) at their Plantation Estate, 7:30-11:30 p.m.  Free Family Films at The Shops at Mauna Lani Center Stage, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 14.  Filmmaker Workshops with Naketha Mattocks and Ron Osborn.

Sunday, May 15, 5:30 p.m.  “Best of the Fest” featuring Henry Kapono in concert and audience-voted Best Feature and Best Short of BIFF 2011.

For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

Councilman Hoffman on Tsunami Sirens and Effective Leadership

Commentary by Councilman Pete Hoffman:

There are times when one wonders whether anyone listens.  Part of the problem may be a lack of communication, or perhaps a lack of understanding of perhaps a lack of leadership.  You decide which of these applies in the recent tsunami siren debacle.

In December 2009, my office initiated discussions with County Civil Defense to address obvious shortfalls in tsunami siren coverage in our resort areas in West Hawaii, brought to my attention by a Puna resident.  A little research also noted that our County code had no requirements for such an early warning system.  The first “tsunami drill” of 26 Feb 2010 highlighted these deficiencies in an actual evacuation, and shortly thereafter, my office prepared a draft amendment to our code to address this issue.

The proposed legislation was referred to both the Planning Commissions, where last November and December, it was met with less than an enthusiastic reception.  The Planning Director criticized the draft proposal on several counts:  this effort shouldn’t be part of the plan approval process, State and County Civil Defense should administer the program, and maybe we shouldn’t inconvenience a developer with the associated costs of installing such a system. Both Planning Commissions gave my proposal a negative recommendation and sent it back to Council for further action.

Now I’ve been a Council member long enough to appreciate that there are many possibilities to address issues of this nature.  I have no difficulty if the Planning Director and the Commissions didn’t agree with my suggestions for resolving the issue, but someone please offer alternatives.  However, none were provided.  When the draft returned to the Council’s Planning Committee in January, I urged the administration to work on some viable options.  Several coastal communities were without an obvious public safety mechanism, our County code included no such requirements, and we already had one tsunami evacuation to prove that my concern was not science fiction.  My pleas fell on deaf ears.  I received ‘thunderous silence’ from the administration.  The only response noted was to suggest that the State should pay for the sirens, and that my proposal did not work with the Planning Department’s plan review process.

Personally, I really didn’t care who pays for the installation of the sirens.  The real questions remained: when will the sirens be installed and when will a requirement be established?  Surely I couldn’t be the only one who saw this issue.  Where was the administration’s initiative?  Where was effective leadership demonstrated?  And please, let’s stop the bureaucratic double-talk and concentrate on the shortfall.

In mid-February, after continuing to plead for the administration’s assistance in crafting a bill that would meet its criticisms, the Council’s Planning Committee, frustrated with the administration’s lack of action, approved my proposal sending it to full Council by a vote of 6-3.   Finally, we heard voices from the administration that the Council’s concerns would now be considered.

On 1 March, State Civil Defense went out on bid to install a number of new civil defense sirens on the Big Island not merely in tsunami evacuation zones.  These would include sirens in areas along the coast where none previously existed: among others, two at Mauna Lani, two in the Waikoloa resort area and one at Kona Village.   On 2 March, we were told that an alternative proposal would be drafted to address the deficiency in our code regarding siren requirements.  This flurry of activity did precede the second ‘tsunami drill’ on March 11, and generated a renewed urgency regarding this topic.  The new administration proposal has already been placed on both Planning Commission agendas in April and May, and it can be anticipated that the long-sought alternative will be brought to Council sometime in early June.

The route taken in the effort has been torturous. Would that all tsunamis react with the same ‘glacial speed’ as this legislative process, but at least it is moving forward.  We pride ourselves, with good reason, on the effectiveness of the County’s response to both of the tsunami evacuations and how all assisted.  However, the fact remains that we had thirteen hours and five and a half hours warning respectively.  Would we have been so fortunate if we only had one or two hours notice??  While this issue is finally being addressed and sirens will eventually be installed, after some 15 months of discussion the situation today is: there are significant shortfalls in siren coverage in our resort areas, and no requirement has yet been established for new developments in our code.  Let’s hope for better leadership and let’s pray we don’t have a “third tsunami drill” in which our reaction time would be dramatically reduced as it was in Japan.

C-17 Globemaster III Returns Home After Humanitarian Efforts in Japan

Back in July I had the opportunity to fly in a C-17 Globemaster III military transportation jet.

Getting ready for take off in a C-17

One of the things that we did during the flight from Oahu to the Big Island is that we simulated a “drop of supplies” in an area over Mauna Kea using the terrain there to simulate a place where supplies needed to be received… but there were no places to land a plane.


I was also fortunate enough to be allowed to sit in the cockpit of the plane as we landed in Kona!

It was interesting listening to the pilots as they landed the plane

Well one of the things that the C-17’s are great for… is that they are very large and can carry lot’s of humanitarian goods and tonight a C-17 will be returning after making a humanitarian a mission to the tsunami devastated area of Japan.

Inside the C-17

Being that the airports in the parts of Japan that got hit hardest were also wiped out… it made sense to send in humanitarian help with a C-17.

Some of the other Internatial Cooperation Missions that have been done recently

I received the following media alert this afternoon and unfortunately I can’t make it to Oahu this evening:

A C-17 Globemaster III and aircrew from the 15th Wing’s 535th Airlift Squadron (AS) will return home this evening. The C-17 and aircrew left Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to provide humanitarian relief efforts in support of Operation Tomodachi (Japan)…

Hula Kai Adds Standup Paddle Board Option to Ocean Adventure

Media Release:

Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides’ Hula Kai remains Hawaii Island’s newest snorkel and diving vessel. Now guests aboard the sleek Hydrofoil, known for its faster speeds and smooth ride, may add Stand-up Paddle Boarding, or “SUP,” to their ocean adventure.


The Hula Kai

“The Hula Kai already offers the ultimate in snorkel and dive adventures,” explains Fair Wind’s Director of Sales and Marketing Penn Henderson. “The option to learn Stand-up Paddle Boarding adds exponentially to the fun.”

SUP instruction and expert guided tours are led by accomplished professional surfer Jeff Silva for groups up to six. Silva has been a professional longboard surfer for nine years. Raised on the Big Island off the grid in the Hawaiian fishing village of Milolii, Silva is also an expert skin diver and overall waterman.

SUP, called Hoe he’e nalu in the Hawaiian language, is emerging as one of the fastest growing sports in the world but its roots remain firmly Hawaiian. It can be enjoyed by all ages and ability levels. SUP is relaxing, invigorating, provides a strong core workout, and it is a unique way to appreciate the rugged Kona coast, particularly aboard the Hula Kai which can access many of the coast’s remote and exotic destinations.

Hula Kai, a 55-foot Teknicraft power catamaran built in 2005, boasts an experienced lifeguard-certified crew, two staircases for easy water access, restrooms and fresh water showers, comfortable “theater-style” seating with arm and head rests, snorkel gear and instruction, floatation devices and now Stand-up Paddle Boarding. On the boat’s morning snorkel and dive cruise guests also enjoy continental breakfast, hot BBQ lunch and no-host bar.

Hula Kai’s morning cruise departs Keauhou Bay at 9:30 a.m. daily and returns at 2:30 pm. Minimum age requirement is seven years. Rate for the five-hour cruise is $165 plus tax. There is an additional fee of $31 for certified divers (equipment is extra) and a fee of $30 for one-half hour of Stand-up Paddleboard instruction. Learn more.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Developing Plans in Response to Japan Tsunami

Media Release:

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) today held a special meeting of the HTA board to discuss plans in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. We wish to express our heartfelt Aloha for the people of Japan and let them know that the people of Hawai‘i continue to support and stand in unity with them during this difficult time.

To this end, one of our initiatives is to support the Aloha for Japan fundraising effort that was announced last week. And we encourage everyone to contribute to the fund with direct monetary donations or by participating in one of the many planned events that will occur over the coming weeks.

The HTA board is also developing plans to respond to the anticipated decline in visitors from Japan due to the disaster. We are projecting the following shortfalls in targeted arrivals from Japan in the coming months:

March – 25% decrease

April – 45% decrease

May – 35% decrease

June – 30% decrease

To respond to this situation, we have already been getting the word out through national and international news media that Hawai‘i is still open for business. And we are reiterating the statements by President Barack Obama, Governor Neil Abercrombie, and the U.S. Regulatory Commission that there is no danger to Hawai‘i from radiation.

The HTA will also be implementing programs to grow the number of visitors from other major markets to make up for the decline in visitors from Japan. Today, the HTA board took action to achieve these goals by approving $1,869,000 from the Opportunity Fund and $1,186,000 from the Tourism Special Fund Reserve to be used to offset the projected shortfall from the Japan tragedy. These efforts include:

  • Three new market saturation programs in key feeder markets in North America Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Developing Plans in Response to Japan Tsunami
  • Increasing the number of flights from Korea
  • Working to secure additional direct charter flights from China as well as improve air access for visitors from China through Korea
  • Increasing airlift from both Australia and New Zealand;
  • Sending a delegation from the HTA to Japan to meet with our travel partners to implement programs to re-stimulate travel from Japan at the appropriate time
  • Sustaining scheduled group business from Japan, as well as working with meetings planners to reschedule their meetings, if necessary, in Hawai‘i at a later time.

With these initiatives, the HTA remains committed to achieving our 2011 HTA Strategic Plan goals and preserving the momentum of our tourism economy recovery.

Because of the major emphasis on increasing airlift, the HTA is also dispatching David Uchiyama, HTA Vice President of Brand Management, to the Routes Asia 2011 Conference, one of the key airline conferences in Asia. Uchiyama will meet with our Asia airline partners to discuss the development of new air service, protect existing airlift, and help shape the future of air route development for the Asia region.

To fund these initiatives, the HTA will be utilizing monetary reserves that were set aside to respond to emergencies, reallocating some existing marketing funds, and utilizing some money from the HTA’s marketing opportunity fund.

The HTA is committed to maintaining the funding currently allocated to programs in natural resources, Hawaiian culture, festivals and workforce development. We fully appreciate the need to continue programs that help maintain Hawai‘i’s incomparable visitor experience.

We want to express our appreciation to the community, the visitor industry, our travel partners, the HTA’s marketing partners, the HTA board, and Hawai‘i’s government leaders for their cooperation and support of our efforts. We are confident that by working together, our community will be able to respond to this situation, endure our current challenges, and, at the same time, continue to support the people of Japan.

Billabong Girls at the Billabong Pipe House

Last month there was a week long camp at the Billabong Pipe House on the North Shore of Oahu.

Ellie-Jean and Felicity at Rockie Point

It looks like the folks from Billabong are making a little youtube series out of it and they uploaded “Episode 1” today:

Billabong Girls Training, Hawaii House – Episode 1

Hawaiian surf is the benchmark. The beaches there considered a proving grounds for our sport. And so, Billabong girls surf team riders from all over the globe have met here at the Billabong Pipe House on Oahu, Hawaii for one of a series of training camps. For one week the girls undergo hardcore training, coaching, yoga, and healthy eating. In addition to professional coaches, the girls worked with veteran athletes including Keala Kennelly, Maya Gabeira and Rochelle Ballard. Challenged daily by infamous breaks like Rocky Point, Pipeline, and Waimea Bay, these girls are bound to come back with more than a killer tan…