From Our Files

Our History

In 1888, King Kalakaua issued a royal charter, commissioning a magazine. Then titled Paradise of the Pacific, this publication became HONOLULU Magazine, making it the oldest magazine west of the Mississippi.


“Hawaii, seeking labor almost all over the world, has watched with interest the Australian white labor experiment, which began a few years ago with a most drastic and even cruel law providing for summary deportation of colored labor,” writes Paradise of the Pacific, predecessor to HONOLULU Magazine. After losing kanaka laborers, Hawaii plantation owners hope to “secure a labor supply competent to carry on their industry.” Paradise, however, expects technology will solve the labor problems. “Cane cutting with machinery is perhaps the most difficult problem that we have to solve in connection with the sugar industry, and that it will be solved one of these days seems almost an assured fact.”


According to Paradise, Arthur E. Wyman’s efforts helped diversify the theater scene in Hawaii. In the past, the University of Hawaii Theatre traditionally produced plays made for a Caucasian cast. “If students of Oriental or Hawaiian extraction were used at all, it was generally in the guise of a tray-carrier or an off-stage noise.” Wyman suggested the Hawaii Theatre Guild produce four plays each year from different parts of the world. The Guild decided to stage Japanese, Chinese, Caucasian and Hawaiian classics with “the proper racial cast.” 


Lou and Joan Clark are a married couple with a thrilling hobby: skydiving. “Their idea of a pleasant Sunday’s diversion is
to get out and jump together,” reports Paradise. “Lou is a heavy cigar smoker, and jumps with a cigar clenched between his teeth.” The Clarks are enthusiastic members of the Aloha Skydivers Club, one of three clubs in Hawaii for hardcore, regular free fallers. “Far from being reckless daredevils, these young men and women are serious groups dedicated to America’s newest and fastest-growing sport.”


“New trade winds are blowing on Hawaii, but it will take the preservation of an old, tried-and-true Hawaiian tradition to keep us on a steady course,” writes Lowell S. Dillingham, president of the Dillingham Corporation. He predicts tourism to be Hawaii’s biggest source of growth. “The new resort areas will develop communities which will grow into cities, with all that means in further economic opportunities and livelihoods.” In addition, he hopes Hawaii will increase agricultural exports and also use oceanography as a new source of revenue. However, even as Hawaii moves forward with commercialization, Dillingham stresses the importance of preserving “that old Hawaiian hospitality.”


Paradise recounts the recent First Ride of the Paniolos, in which local and mainland cowboys explored the Big Island on horseback over five days.


“The invasion of that dangerous breed of illegal aliens—the animal kind—can wreak havoc on Hawaii’s plants, native species and natural environment,” writes Susanne Sims in HONOLULU. From alligators to bats, animals are smuggled in cargo containers, Federal Express envelopes and even Tupperware. Damage caused by invasive species affects not only the environment, but agriculture and tourism industries. Fruit flies cost $300 million a year in lost sales, while golfers and hikers are driven away by unwanted pests like fire ants and ticks. “Improvements in the inspection system are needed,” says Sims. “U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka has recently introduced a bill requiring Hawaii-bound mail to be inspected for pests. The bill calls for increasing fines to $100,000, stiffening jail sentences for up to one year, and requiring the Postal Service to conduct public education programs.”


“In 1959, when we paid $12,000 for an ocean front house and lot at Puako, on the Big Island’s South Kohala coast,
our friends all pitied us,” writes Ruth Tabrah of HONOLULU. She and her husband Frank asked their kahuna friend Heloke Mookini to bless their new home. Mookini told them he asked Pele to protect the house in case of a tidal wave. A year later, a tsunami hit the house while the Tabrahs were away, and when they returned, the windows and doors were all mysteriously open. Water had passed through instead of breaking the structure, which would have caused more damage. “That was 11 years ago, and still we ask—no longer hopefully—if anyone saw anybody that night, somehow magically opening our doors and windows to let the water through.”