Editor’s Page: Making the List

Islander of the Year reboots.
Photo: Adam Jung 

It’s always risky to create any kind of list that picks favorites among our community, because, clearly, it would be impossible to choose a group of people that everyone agrees with. Still, with this issue, HONOLULU launches a new edition of Islanders of the Year, an annual feature that ran in our magazine for 18 years. 


We believe it’s worthwhile to shine a light on some of the individuals and groups having the most impact on Hawai‘i. Some of the choices may seem more obvious than others, or more famous, but we think they are all helping to define the future of our Islands.


Since it’s our first year back with this feature, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the list. Who’d we miss? Who doesn’t belong? And who should be on the list for 2016?


While we were building the story, I had the opportunity to meet with two of this year’s Islanders. The first was the gracious and talented football star Marcus Mariota, who continues to shine as a role model for youth here and across the country. He reminds us that good guys do win when they pursue their dreams. Mariota says he still good-naturedly kids his fourth-grade teacher at Nu‘uanu Elementary, who cautioned him, way back when, that very few people actually become NFL quarterbacks. He’s also beating the odds a bit in getting Hawai‘i to cheer for the Tennessee Titans, an NFL team that lacked the committed local fan base of the 49ers, Raiders, Steelers, Seahawks or Cowboys. As corny as it sounds, meeting Mariota left our magazine team shaking our heads in a good way: He really is that nice a guy.


I also had the chance to sit down with Gov. David Ige to talk about his initial impact and the experience of his first full year in office. As a political reporter, I’ve talked to him numerous times over the years and find it interesting to see him settling into a higher-profile job that challenges him with an agenda that stretches far beyond what he’s faced as a veteran lawmaker. We’ve got some of the highlights in the story and will report more from that interview on our website in the coming weeks.


Photo: Kelsey Ige


While we were putting this story together, we learned that Honolulu Museum of Art director Stephan Jost would be leaving for a new post. We’ve enjoyed a meaningful partnership with the museum for years and appreciated Jost’s leadership, so we’re sorry to see him go but understand the move. We remain happy with our choice, because we feel that the definition of an Islander is not necessarily someone committed to remaining in the Islands but someone committed to making a difference while they are here.


For such a diverse and influential group of people, we found a common theme was humility and the tendency to share credit with the others on their team. We think you’ll enjoy learning more about all these Islanders.


In our ‘Ono section this month, we also catch up with award-winning chef Sam Choy, who’s been absent from the O‘ahu restaurant scene in recent years. Food and dining editor Catherine Toth Fox fills us in on the chef’s latest foray into cooking in people’s kitchens for a new TV show starting this month on KHON. While some parts of being a magazine editor involve weighty responsibilities, other parts are undeniably fun. Yes, Sam Choy fulfilled one of my family’s food fantasies when he came over to my house and helped us cook an amazing meal using what he found in the fridge. Thanks, Sam!