LIHUE — The dictionary defines a treasure as the storage or accumulation of wealth or riches, especially in the form of precious metals, money or jewels.
The group of Kauai people gathered Thursday at the Kauai Museum came from all walks of life and have done the opposite of storing gifts and treasures. Their generous aloha spirit and devotion to sharing with others had in fact won each one of them the coveted position as a 2014 Kauai Museum Living Treasure.
Beverly Muraoka was honored as a traditional hula practitioner.
“I was shocked,” said Muraoka. “I feel so humbled and grateful. My sister was one of the youngest ‘Living Treasures’ when she was honored in her late 40s. I’m a late bloomer. It took me a little longer.
The 65-year-old Muraoka says the spirit of aloha means giving until it hurts and serving others.
“If you really live the aloha life, it shouldn’t be difficult,” Muraoka said.
David Penhallow Scott is the brainchild of the Living Treasure award acknowledging people for their contributions to Hawaiian culture, education and the welfare of people on Kauai and Niihau. He received the award in 2009 and his mother Anna Scott Sloggett was honored in 2002.
“I wanted to honor the people in power who wouldn’t normally be honored,” Scott said. “These people have given to the community and loved this island. This is our time to love them back.”
Marina Pascua is one of this year’s 10 Living Treasures.
“The Lord gives you your talent so you must give and help others,” Pascua said. “It’s a culture.”
She has devoted countless volunteer hours at the Kauai Museum, the March of Dimes, The Girls Scouts and Brownies in Koloa in the 1960s, and the Kauai Association of Family and Community Education — along with raising three children.
“What you give comes back,” Pascua said.
Norman and Mabel Hashisaka were chosen to represent the “Retail Trade” category. Norman called it a great honor.
“I appreciate it,” said the 88-year-old Hashisaka. “And at the same time, I feel there are others more deserving then I am.”
The couple made a difference for the residents and visitors alike some 50 years ago when they opened the first laundromat on Kauai.
“We also started the first cash and carry supermarket on the island,” Norman said.
For him, the feelings of friendship, love and concern for others have always been paramount to an aloha way of living
Lindsay Faye Jr. was chosen to represent the “Sugar Heritage.” The former plantation manager said he was always looking after the well-being of workers. During the more than 30 years on the plantation he said the biggest thing they did was make certain workers could buy their own homes.
“We did more than raise cane,” he joked. “Community was at the center of plantation life.”
Garden Island photojournalist Dennis Fujimoto has devoted his energy and eye for a memorable photo. Everybody on the island knows Fujimoto from behind his camera lens.
“I’m not a living treasure,” Fujimoto said. “I’m just doing my job. There’s good stories and not so good ones, you gotta cover ‘em all.”
Kauai Council Chair Jay Furfaro was also honored. He is the example of aloha with his management career in the hospitality industry with countless accolades in regard to accomplishments at the Princeville Resort Company, Hanalei Plantation Resort, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts and the Amfac Waiohai property.
“I’m honored and gratified,” Furfaro said. “Kauai is a wonderful place made up of all these people (Living Treasures) who are good stewards.”
Ed Kinney, the 2014 Friend of the Kauai Museum as an Artistic Performer, exudes Hawaii inside and out. He helped open Dukes in Waikiki during the early ‘60s after playing the romantic lead on Broadway in “Flower Drum Song” in 1959. Hawaiians love to sing along with Kinney’s popular long-time holiday hit, “The Number One Day of Christmas.”
Abbey and Frank Santos have devoted their lives to landscaping and community service. Their response to the “Living Treasure” honor was, “We’re not done yet!”
One additional honoree is Mary Thronas in the government and community leader category.
The “Living Treasures” will be formally honored on Aug. 9 at a luncheon at the Kauai Beach Resort. Tickets are $50. Info: www.kauaimuseum.org
• Lisa Ann Capozzi, features and education reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.