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Exploring Kapolei


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Photo: Sheila Sarhangi

Westside Dive & Tackle

“I grew up next to the ocean— fishing, diving, surfing,” says Kris Tyler (pictured), who was raised in Florida, but spent summers with family on Maui. “Ten years ago I wanted a change, so I decided to move to Oahu.” In April 2008, Tyler opened Westside Dive & Tackle, which offers scuba and snorkel equipment, but specializes in all things spearfishing, from gear to repairs. A large cooler near the register also holds frozen bait—tako, squid and small fish—for on-the-go fishermen. Interested in spearfishing? This summer, Tyler debuts a two-day group class for beginners aptly called, “Spectator to Spearo.” 590 Farrington Highway, Suite 504, 228-2295, westsidespearfishing.com.

HIC Outlet

At the HIC Outlet, it’s typical to see new hats, clothes and backpacks at a fraction of the retail price. “About 60 percent of the store is all marked-down items, either because the regular-priced stores didn’t sell them, or our vendors like Hurley and Roxy wanted to bring in special items at a discount,” says store manager Lehua Aiu. On a recent visit, we found colorful beach dresses and men’s T-shirts between 25 percent to 75 percent off. Did someone say tax refund? 590 Farrington Highway, Suite 529, 674-4001, hicsurf.com.




Photo: Sheila Sarhangi

Michelle's Bali Designs

“It’s not glamorous, but a lot of people don’t mind the location,” says owner Michelle Smith (pictured). Her store showcases furniture out of three warehouse containers at Aloha Island Storage. “If it looks good in your house, that’s all that matters.” Smith imports custom teak and rattan furniture and décor made by Javanese and Balinese craftsmen. Items such as beds, dressers, coffee tables, patio furniture and bookshelves possess a sophisticated Island feel, plus Smith’s low overhead costs mean wholesale prices. Another attraction: A percentage of the sales support a birthing clinic in Bali. Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays by appointment. 2009 Lauwilili St. 298-1774, michellesbalidesigns.com.


How DHHL is Helping Kapolei

Kaulana Park
Director, state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL)

Its Mission
Established by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, the department leases lands and provides homes to Native Hawaiians; there are currently thousands on a residential wait list. “Our main objective is to [build] residential, single-family homes,” he says. “We do that by partnering with others to create self-sustainable, healthy communities.” The department is in the process of constructing 700 single-family homes on Oahu.

A New Location
Last May, DHHL moved its offices from Honolulu to Kapolei. “For us,” he explains, “it’s about being closer to our beneficiaries, which is mostly along the west side of the island. They feel comfortable coming into our place … we want them to feel at home.”

Hawaiian Values
“Every time we do things, we look at what our ancestors did. Nobody sees what’s underneath—you don’t see what the Hawaiians did—how did that all work? How come they were so vibrant? How come they were so self-sufficient?  It goes back to the values—hard work, discipline, sharing. That is what created, I believe, a prosperous community.”


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Honolulu Magazine February 2020
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