From our Files
HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific, chronicling the Islands since 1888.
Even before the novel Hawai'i was published, author and Pulitzer-Prize winner James A. Michener sold the movie rights for an astounding $600,000 ($3.6 million in today's dollars). Both Life magazine and Reader's Digest agreed to print excerpts, as well. "Everything that can happen to a book has already happened to this one, and it hasn't even been published," Michener, pictured at left with his wife, Mari, told Paradise of the Pacific. "And up to now I've absolutely no clue as to how good a book it is. I'm very anxious to see what people think of it. If ever anybody devised a book that was not enticing to the average reader, this is it … long and austere. But when you finish it, you'll never think of Hawai'i in the same way again."
Hawai'i lawmakers left their seat of government at 'Iolani Palace in 1969 and moved into the state's newly constructed $26 million Capitol building, reports HONOLULU Magazine. But before the Capitol we know today was built, the state contemplated a few other designs, including these three sketches: 1) This plan thrust offices into the sky, page 173. 2) A heiau inspired this idea. 3) Volcanoes dominated this early sketch.
HONOLULU Magazine interviews homegrown hero Ellison Onizuka, the nation's first astronaut of Asian ancestry. Onizuka, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, grew up in north Kona on the Big Island, picking coffee on his parents' farm. He talked candidly about his childhood, his service as an Eagle Scout and his career in aerospace, as well as the dangers associated with such work. "It's a very high-risk environment," said Onizuka, photo above. "I buy that. If I didn't, how could I function and make the kind of technical decisions that are required in mid-air? The kind of thing that keeps me going is that this is an adventure. The challenge of seeing it through is far greater than the risk." Sadly, a little more than a year later, Onizuka was one of seven crewmembers who died in the Challenger space shuttle disaster on Jan. 28, 1986.
Three years after Mary Kawena Pukui, below, died, her one-time student Dr. Samuel H. Elbert recounted the life of this beloved Hawaiian scholar. Pukui and Elbert co-wrote the Hawaiian Dictionary, now considered the definitive reference on Hawaiian language. "When we came to hula steps in the dictionary, Kawena asked [her hänai daughter] Pat to demonstrate, and although I felt unqualified for such an important task, I tried to describe them," Elbert writes in HONOLULU Magazine. "There seemed to be no end to Kawena's expertise. Marie Neal, a Bishop Museum botanist, would bring in plants and Kawena would provide their Hawaiian name and their traditional usage. … And [Kawena] was not a bit prudish and did not blanch at the sexual terms that had to go unpurified into the dictionary."