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Editor’s Page: Family Matters

The bonds that tie us together.


Robbie Dingeman

Our families lay our foundation, whether they are our biological relatives, those who spend the most time and energy on us, or the people who come to sustain us year after year. Here in the Islands, we widely embrace the Native Hawaiian concept of ‘ohana, extended family we hold close.


When we started talking about planning a magazine story about families, we got excited about the possibilities of family stories illustrated with evocative portraits. We know how much our community emphasizes the importance of family. We know we’ve got great families here. And call us hometown boosters, but we think our families are more diverse and interesting than in many other places.


We also knew what we didn’t want to write. We wanted to focus on families and lessons learned, bonds that tie, not money or social standing in any sort of list. We were fortunate to talk with 11 families, across different professions and interests, that have sustained over generations.


We know how much our community emphasizes the importance of family. 


Some families did shy away from the spotlight, which made us even more grateful to those who took time to talk with us. As is often the case, the busiest people are often equally humble and gracious.


While we were taking the portraits for this story, the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom film was shooting in Windward O‘ahu. While our intrepid team members were working with the Morgan family at Kualoa Ranch, an SUV pulled up and a man jumped out to ask if he could join the family shot. Sure enough, it was actor Chris Pratt, and photographer Tommy Shih got a shot that shows the actor could probably pass himself off as a Morgan.


Chris Pratt

Actor Chris Pratt makes a cameo appearance, left, with the Morgan family at Kualoa Ranch.
Photo: Tommy Shih


Art director Mae Ariola worked for hours to figure out the logistics of some very complicated photo shoots with Tommy. From choosing the best backdrop and negotiating many needs, to figuring out how many Kuli‘ou‘ou family members could fit in one shot, they rose to each challenge, assisted by senior editor Don Wallace, who led our writing team and worked with Mae to coordinate the photos.


In these busy times, our workplace becomes something of a second family, the one you see a lot of during the week. And I’m happy to congratulate a member of our HONOLULU Magazine editorial team for taking on a bigger role in our work family. Katrina Valcourt has accepted a promotion to managing editor, a job that perfectly fits her intriguing mix of interests: from her commitment to neatly checking off every item on her to-do list (“Let me write that down”) to her love for digging into a long feature story (such as one about local honey) or finding just the right eclectic mix of items for our monthly picks page. She’s also a meticulous and caring editor. In an age where spellcheck can make everyone a bit lazy, Katrina ferrets out errors and inconsistencies to make our magazine a better read. All that and she’s always looking out for the team as we get the job done. So, welcome, and thanks, Katrina, for making our magazine and our work days better each week.


Here’s to taking time to enjoy our long, warm days with people we care about before our summer slips away.


Thoughts about the magazine? Please email me at robbied@honolulumagazine.com.




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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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