A quick word of explanation regarding this Hall of Fame: as your host, I decide who gets into the "My Hawai’i Hall of Fame,” and there may be names here you (particularly those from the mainland) may not be familiar with. My criteria for making this Hall of Fame is quite subjective; I cannot reduce it to a simple formula. In short, I include people who are (or were) famous in their own day and context, and whose fame and influence have lasted over the years. This longevity factor is particularly important to me. Flashes in the pan, though often interesting, may not have made this Hall. I also include those who made notable “breakthroughs” in their respective areas of endeavor. And in most (but not all) cases, the person is no longer actively engaged in what got him/her into my pantheon of heroes.

Historical Figures All Around Hawaiian Music Government & Public Service
Military Arts & Letters Sports

Father Damien

fatherdamien

Father Damien was born Jozef De Veuster in Belgium on January 3, 1840, the last of seven children. Damien was supposed to inherit the family business and, in preparation, went to study business administration and to learn French. While at school, he attended a Lenten Parish Mission and was inspired with a vocation. It seems that from a young age, Damien…

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Queen Lili’uokalani

Queen

Liliʻuokalani (2 September 1838 – 11 November 1917), born Lydia Kamakaʻeha Kaola Maliʻi Liliʻuokalani, was the last monarch and only queen regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. She was also known as Lydia Kamakaʻeha Pākī, with the chosen royal name of Liliʻuokalani, and she was later named Kaolupoloni K. Dominis. Liliʻuokalani was born on 2 September 1838…

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King Kamehameha I

kingkamehameha1

Kamehameha I (1758–May 8, 1819), also known as “Kamehameha the Great,” conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawai’i. in 1810. By developing alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers, Kamehameha preserved Hawai’i's independence under his rule. Kamehameha is remembered for the Kanawai Mamalahoe, the “Law of the Splintered Paddle”, which protects the human rights of non-combatnts in times of…

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The Paniolo

bigislandhorses

The Hawaiian cowboy, the paniolo, is a direct descendant of the vaquero of California and Mexico. Experts in Hawaiian etymology believe “Paniolo” is a Hawaiianized pronunciation of español. I have also heard that the word is a derivative of “Hispaniola,” a descriptive word applied by Hawaiians to Mexicans (Hispanics) that came to the

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The Pineapple

mauipineapple

The pineapple is neither a pine nor an apple, and it is not native to Hawaii. However, since it was first canned and became a major crop there, we associate pineapple with Hawaii and the tastes of the islands. It has wonderful tenderizing enzymes and goes especially well with pork as well as poultry, seafood, and sweet-and-sour dishes. Of course, there are always plenty of dessert recipes using pineapple…

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Duke Kahanamoku

duke

To me, Duke Kahanamoku will always reign as the consummate Hawaiian. His name and fame were known to me during my childhood, and as I look back on Duke’s achievements I still consider him to be the quintessential Hawaiian.

“Duke” was not a nickname; it was his given name. His full name was Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku and he was born on…

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Mary Abigail Kawenaʻulaokalaniahiʻiakaikapoliopelekawahineʻaihonua Wiggin Pukui

Mary Abigail Kawena’ulaokalaniahi’iakaikapoliopelekawahine’aihonua Wiggin Pukui(1895-1986), known as Kawena, was a Hawaiian scholar, dancer, composer, and educator. She was born in Kaʻū, Big Island, to Mary Paʻahana Kanakaʻole (a native Hawaiian woman) and Henry Wiggin (originally from Massachusetts). In the traditional custom of hānai she was initially reared by her mother’s parents. Her grandmother, a traditional dancer in the court of Queen Emma…

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U.S.S WHIPPLE (FF 1062)

whipple

I returned to Pearl Harbor in July of 1984 to be the executive officer (second in command) of the USS WHIPPLE (FF 1062). Just like COCHRANE, the “assignment gods” really were looking down on me the day I got my orders to WHIPPLE. I joined the ship when she was in the shipyard undergoing a major overhaul, so it was interesting, to build her up again from a hollow shell to a functioning, fully operational ship of the…

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U.S.S COCHRANE (DDG-21)

cochrane

My first ship was the USS COCHRANE (DDG-21), homeported in Pearl Harbor. I joined the ship on a Tuesday in October, 1971 and we left Pearl Harbor 48 hours later, bound for Adak, Alaska. When we got there we supported the Kannikin Atomic Tests held in the autumn of that year. We returned to Pearl in early December, as I recall.

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U.S.S. ARIZONA (BB-39)

arizona

I hope the reader doesn’t need too great a “primer” on the USS ARIZONA (BB-39). ARIZONA* is undoubtedly the most famous ship in Pearl Harbor. She still rests where she settle into the mud on December 7, 1941 as a result of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor (and many other installations throughout O’ahu as well.) 1,177 men were killed in ARIZONA many of whom are still at their…

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The U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, World War II

442nd

The 442nd Infantry, formerly the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army, was an Asian-American unit composed of mostly Japanese Americans who fought in Europe during World War II. The families of many of its soldiers were subject to internment. The 442nd was a self-sufficient fighting force, and fought with uncommon distinction in Italy, southern France, and Germany. The unit…

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Anyone, Everyone Who Competes in and Finishes the “Run to the Sun.”

run to the sun

As long as we’re on the subject of running, I simply must tell you of the “Run to the Sun,” an annual running race held on Maui. Most of us know that the marathon distance is 26.2 miles; now imagine a foot race that is 36.2 miles long, and takes the runners from sea level to ten thousand feet over the course of the race.

Such is Maui’s “Run to the Sun.” As one who has done four marathon…

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Akebono

akebono

Akebono Tarō , (Born May 8, 1969 as Chad Haakeo Rowan is a retired sumo wrestler from Waimānalo, Hawai’i. Joining the professional sport in Japan in 1988, he was trained by pioneering Hawaiian sumo wrestler Takamiyama and rose swiftly up the rankings, reaching the top division in 1990. After two consecutive yusho or tournament championships in November 1992 and January 1993…

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Takamiyama Daigorō

taka

Takamiyama (born 16 June 1944 as Jesse James Wailani Kuhaulua in Hawaii, U.S.) is a former sumo wrestler, the first foreign born rikishi to win the top division championship (in 1972). His highest rank was sekiwake. His active career spanned twenty years from 1964 to 1984, and he holds a number of longevity records, having fought more top division bouts than any other wrestler. He is also the first foreign born wrestler ever to take charge of a training…

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Konishiki Yasokichi

Konishiki

Konishiki Yasokichi ,was born Saleva’a Fuauli Atisano’e on December 31, 1963), is a Hawaiian-born Japanese-Semoan sumo wrestler known as “The Dump Truck.” He was the first foreign-born wrestler to reach ozeki, the second highest rank in the sport. During his career he won the top division championship on three occasions and came close to becoming the first foreign-born…

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James S. Barahal, M.D.

honolulumarathon

Jim Barahal, President of the Honolulu Marathon Association, is the driving force behind the Honolulu Marathon,held annually in Honolulu on the second Sunday in December. Jim has helped take the Honolulu Marathon from its initial field of 151 finishers in 1973 to today’s fields that sometimes exceed 30,000 participants. Jim’s innovations have led to many of the marathon’s innovations and improvements, much to the…

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Lena Machado

lena

Known as “Hawai’i's Songbird,” Elena Machado (1903-1974) was a wonderfully talented and much beloved 20th century singer in Hawai’i.  She was a composer, entertainer and an acclaimed singer whose Hawaiian-style soprano-falsetto performances moved her to dominance in the 1930s and 1940s, often referred to as “the Golden Age” of Hawaiian music. Her remarkable singing style was discovered …

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Aloha ‘Oe

Lili

I believe with all my heart that Aloha ‘Oe is the most beautiful song ever written, period.  Some say (incorrectly) that the song was written by Queen Lili’uokalani while she was confined to ‘Iolani Palace.  This is not so.  In fact, she wrote the song in 1878 as the result of having seen what she …

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Edwin Bradfield Liloa “Sonny” Chillingworth

Sonny

Another of the slack key “big three,” Sonny Chillingworth started playing guitar at the age of 12 when he lived on Moloka’i. Family legend has it that one day his father brought an old recod player and some records to the house. One of the records was Gabby Pahinui’s Hi’ilawe, and the rest, as they say, is history. Three years later he visited Honolulu and his mom arranged for him to meet Gabby. Sonny learned…

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Leonard Kwan

leonardkwan

Leonard Kwan was born in 1931 andi is credited with making the first LP recordings of slack key instrumentals. He also helped authour a slack key instruction book and composed a mumber of guitar pieces that have remained popular for many, many years.

Born on O’ahu, Leonard studied music in high school and learned to play slack…

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Charles P. “Pops” (“Gabby”) Pahinui

Gabby

Charles P. “Pops” (“Gabby”) Pahinui (1921-1980) was the patriarch of a very talented musical family and is considered to be one of the three all-time giants of Hawaiian slack key guitar (known more properly as ki ho ‘alu.) Gabby was born in the Kaka’ako area of Honolulu, into a poor family. Much of his young life was spent doing odd jobs such as shining shoes and selling newspapers to help support his family. Gabby left formal schooling after the 5th grade…

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The ‘Ukulele

ukulele

One of Hawai’i's most recognized symbols, the ‘ukelele is not Hawaiian in origin. Bet ya didn’t know THAT!!

The ‘ukulele, chordophone is classified as a plucked lute; it is a subset of the guitar family of instruments, generally with four nylon or gut strings. The ‘ukulele originated in the 19th century…

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Israel Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole

iz2

Israel Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole (May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997) known to Hawaiian music buffs everywhere as “Brudda Iz” is likely one of the most famous American musicians of the 20th century that few people can recognize by sight, but whose voice has become world famous, for his rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World,” that are used widely in movie…

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Alfred Apaka

alfredapaka

Alfred Apaka (March 19, 1919 – January 30, 1960) was a Hawaiian singer who possessed a romantic baritone voice. Born as Alfred Aiu Afat, Jr., Apaka was arguably the foremost interpreter of hapa-haole music which melded either Hawaiian music or traditional pop music with traditional pop arrangements and English lyrics that conveyed Hawaiian or other Pacific Island imagery and themes. He was of Chinese, Portuguese…

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Genoa Leilani Adolpho Keawe-Aiko

auntygenoa

“AuntyGenoa,” she was a Hawaiian musician and vocalist of world-wide renown. Aunty Genoa was born on O’ahu in the Kaka’ako district of Honolulu and grew up in Lā’ie, on the island’s windward side. She is an icon in Hawaiian music and was a mainstay of the Hawaiian music scene for more than 60 years. With her tremendous voice she captivated audiences, kama’āina (locals) and malihini (visitors)…

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Sol Hoopii

sol hoopii

Sol Hoopii (1902–1953) was a Native Hawaiian guitarist, claimed by many as the all-time best lap steel guitar virtuosoever, and he is one the most famous original Hawaiian steel guitarists.

Born Solomon Hoopii Ka’ai’ai, in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1902, he soon began playing ukulele, guitar and Hawaiian steel guitar, and made his debut…

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Dennis Pavao

dennispavao

Dennis Pavao, (1951 – 2002) “The Golden Voice of Hawai’I” is special to me because it was his music that got me interested in Hawaiian music. In February, 2001 my younger daughter and I were in Lahaina, and I asked the person working at a street music kiosk to sell me the most beautiful rendition of Aloha ‘Oe she’d ever heard. She immediately slapped down and a copy of Dennis’s Sweet Leilani album. I took it home…

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Ledward Kaapana

led

Led Kaapana is a man of such remarkable talent that even while he is going strong in the very prime of his career, I must include him in my Hall of Fame. I have had the privilege of seeing Led perform on a number of occasions (once from a distance of four feet!) and I simply cannot describe in mere words the talent and pure joy of life he possesses. I don’t think I’ve seen another man enjoy his work as much as Led does, and this joy comes through every moment he…

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Cyril and Martin Pahinui

Pahinuibrothers

These two sons of Gabby have to be heard to be believed. These two picked up their father’s love of music early in life and each has developed into a truly outstanding musician. I fully acknowledge that my specific knowledge of these two mens’ background is incomplete (but I’m working on it, believe me!!), but I’ve heard them play again and again and it’s just plain impossible for me, the layman, to adequately describe how their music affects me. So I am…

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Senator Daniel Ken “Dan” Inouye

senatordan

Senator Daniel Ken “Dan Inouye, born September 7, 1924 is an American politician who currently serves as the senior United States Senator from Hawaii. He has been a U.S. Senator since 1963 and is currently the second-most-senior member after fellow Democrat Robert Byrd. He is the third longest serving U.S Senator in history, after Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond. He has continuously represented Hawaii in the U.S. Congress since it achieved statehood…

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Editorial note: I got “major help’ from many outside sources on some of these entries, to include Wikipedia. I knew who I wanted to include, but sought help from others to flesh out the details