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Behind the Curtain

We go to movies, we attend games at Aloha Stadium, we catch the latest musicals by our local theater groups. Behind each of these experiences are the unsung heroes. The technical directors, the ushers, the costume designers who work long and hard so that the stars shine and we, the audience, are thrilled. Devoted craftspeople behind the curtain make it all happen. Here are their stories.


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Photo by: Rae Huo

David Golz

Aloha Stadium scoreboard administrator

David Golz has been managing the operation of the scoreboard and JumboTron at Aloha Stadium for 18 years. Still, he often winds up on the floor, looking for faulty wires. Like at the University of Hawaii’s home opener against Weber State. The game clock stopped working. And you can’t have that happen during a football game.

“It’s the most low-tech device we have and it didn’t work,” Golz says, groaning. “And there I was, crawling on the floor [in the press box] and soldering wires. It was the longest day of my life.”

For a UH football game, Golz gets to the stadium six hours before kickoff to go over the script with his crew, check the equipment—including the JumboTron and a matrix board that consumes as much electricity as 16 three-bedroom homes—and put out any proverbial fires.

His worst nightmare? A total power outage. Even with a generator, it takes at least 15 minutes for the stadium lights to turn on. He hates thinking about it. “We can’t do anything without power,” he says. “We’re dead.”

Photo by: Olivier Koning

Catherine Teriipaia

Polynesian Cultural Center wardrobe supervisor

With more than 100 dancers performing six days a week, the Polynesian Cultural Center is one of Hawaii’s largest live productions. Catherine Teriipaia is the one who makes sure all the performers are looking their best, day in and day out.

She helps design and create traditional garb and accessories for the seven cultures—Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga and the Polynesian Triangle—the center showcases.

“Every accessory, every piece of clothing, everything [the performers] wear on stage, we create,” says Teriipaia.

She uses lauhala, coconut leaves, feathers, shells, even tapa. Making a single pau-style skirt for a male kahiko dancer—which involves hand-stitching, dying and drying the material, and pressing the skirt—can take up to two days. To outfit the entire halau can take a month.

Teriipaia took over her current job from her mother Elisa, nine years ago.  “She taught me that if you’re honest in your work and if you work together as one, you will fulfill all the work that’s been planned,” Teriipaia says. “Without that, we can’t be successful.”


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Honolulu Magazine March 2017
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