How prominent Hawaii women celebrate Mother's Day

With Mother's Day approaching on Sunday, we thought it would be fun to ask several women (some who are moms) to share memories of the special day. Find out their favorite Mother's Day gifts and upcoming plans for the big day.

Web exclusive

May 8, 2013


Liz Chun

Director of philanthropy, Pali Momi Medical Center

Steve Uyehara, Jace and Liz Chun at home.

Photo: christine clark

Former KGMB and Hawaii News Now sports director Liz Chun spent 15 years working in television until she took on the role of director of philanthropy for Pali Momi Medical Center in 2010. And in December 2011, she took on the additional role: mother to Jace Ernest Kahiwa Uyehara. Chun and husband Steve Uyehara, a Hawaii News Now morning anchor, will welcome their second child, a girl, in a few weeks.

Even as a mother, Chun prefers to celebrate other mothers. She's given framed family pictures to her mom, mother-in-law, Helen, sister-in-law, Staci, and grandmas, Setsu and Piano.

"I'm really nostalgic; I like pictures," Chun says. "Our gifts are framed family pictures that capture some family moment during the year, because so many people don't develop pictures anymore."

But her favorite Mother's Day gift came from her son. Last year, daycare providers sent six-month-old Jace home with a touching handmade card. Jace's handprints and footprints were stamped on the cover of the card and a Mother's Day poem was typed on the inside. She says it's a gift she plans to keep forever.


Left to right: Laura, Leighton Kim Oshima, Mazie Hirono and Hemic.

photo: courtesy mazie hirono

Mazie Hirono

U.S. Senator from Hawaii

Mazie Hirono splits her time between Hawaii and Washington, D.C. for her job. Despite her busy schedule, she always tries to visit her husband, Leighton Kim Oshima, mother Laura and cat Hemic when she returns to the Islands. She won't be home this year, but she plans to call her 88-year-old mother to wish her a Happy Mother's Day.

"When I was home, I would probably have made breakfast for her or something," Hirono says. "But my mother is not big on ceremonies. She knows how much I appreciate all that she did for me and continues to do for us."



Helen McNeil

Associate publisher/editor, HONOLULU Family

For Helen McNeil, Mother's Day is less about fancy and expensive gifts. Her husband, David McNeil, and 9-year-old daughters, India and Skye, surprised her with homemade heartfelt gifts last Mother's Day.

 "The best gift was probably last year, because I felt that they were old enough to take charge and create a nice surprising moment where they did something really sweet and thoughtful," she says.

 They posted signs leading her from the bedroom to the living room to the kitchen:

Above: Helen McNeil with her daughters India and Skye.

Photo: karen db photography

Left: One of the handwritten signs.

Photos: Helen McNeil

They treated her to poached eggs on toast, papaya and a fruit smoothie, red roses and handmade cards.

The special treatment didn't end at breakfast. They led her to another room for a free massage (her daughters massaged her arms and legs with lotion).

This Sunday, McNeil plans to run the fourth leg of the Ekiden Relay Race. The race starts at 5:30 a.m. near her house in Sandy Beach.

"I'll get up bright and early to run this race, then I'll probably come home to something surprising waiting for me," she says.


Mahealani Richardson

Morning anchor/reporter, KITV4

Above: Mike Yatsutake, Sky Kanekoa and Mahealani Richardson.
Left: The front and back of the heart-shaped ceramic necklace from Sky.

photoS: courtesy Mahealani RichardsoN

For Mahealani Richardson, Mother's Day has always been about showing appreciation to her mom and other moms. Her husband, Mike Yatsutake, cooked breakfast at home and invited family over for Mother's Day last year. This Sunday, they're planning to host another family gathering at home.

Richardson admits spending over her budget on gifts to her mom, Helen, and mother-in-law, Uli. But as a mother, Richardson's own favorite Mother's Day gift was priceless. It came from son, Sky Kanekoa, who was 3 years old last year. The gift was a heart-shaped ceramic necklace and laminated placemat with Sky's handprints made in his preschool class.

"It was something that was made; it's something that I can keep forever," Richardson says.


Connie Lau

President and chief executive officer, Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.

From top left to right: Eric, Jennifer, Gregory, Russell and Connie Lau.

Photo: Courtesy Connie Lau

"As is common in Hawaii with our large extended families, I’ll be celebrating with my husband’s family and we’ll all gather to honor my mother-in-law who will be 92 this year!" Lau says in an email.  "She’s the real matriarch and deserves the accolades for raising four kids successfully (my husband is the third), and several grandchildren, too. We’re headed for the Willows where they always have a generous Island-style buffet."

She's excited to spend time with her family on Mother's Day. A few weeks ago, Lau visited her son Gregory in Washington, D.C. She forgot her iPhone charger, so she borrowed her son's extra car adapter cord.

"I found I loved using it on the road because I could use it with my iPad, so, with Mother’s Day’s fast approaching, I just emailed my son with a big hint about what he could give me for Mother’s Day – his adapter cord, of course!  Fortunately the dear boy said yes, so I’m all set for Sunday!  One happy mom here," she says.