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Late Mayor Tony Kunimura to be memorialized with bronze bust

LIHU’E – A bronze bust depicting the late Kaua’i mayor Tony Kunimura will be

unveiled at a ceremony April 12 at 5 p.m. at the Lihu’e Civic Center Moikeha

Building courtyard.

The bust has been commissioned in recognition of

Kunimura’s contribution to the community during his 34 years of state and

county government service.

During his term as Kaua’i County mayor, from

1982 to 1988, he envisioned the centralizing of government offices and

master-minded the purchasing process of the old Lihu’e Shopping Center which,

up to the present time, has been under a long-range plan of renovations as the

Lihu’e Civic Center.

For the past nine months the planning committee for “A

Memorial Tribute to Uncle Tony” has worked to celebrate the significant

achievements of Kunimura, who emerged as a political force in the Hawai’i

State House of Representatives from 1962 to 1982.

Former friends and

associates throughout the state have helped to raise funds to commission

Hawai’i sculptor Sean Brown to create a bronze rendition of

Kunimura.

Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, a former administrative assistant to

Kunimura, said, “Uncle Tony, as we all called him, was endeared by many as

visionary. He was an advocate for our youth and a strong proponent of the

rights of the common man.”

But more remarkable than that, Kusaka said,

were Kunimura’s fortitude and ability to move his concepts forward into the

important stage of realization.

“Often criticized for his impulsive

rhetoric, Tony had very little patience with procedural red-tape, particularly

those he considered ‘senseless obstacles.’

“Much like a running back

maneuvering over the playing field, Kaua’i’s flamboyant politician not only

locked horns with opponents, he sidestepped his way around the nonsense of

system procedures to score a touchdown.” Kusaka said.

“His scores of

accomplishments are still impressive to this day,” she said.

“I had a

wonderful opportunity to learn and understand the world of government and

finance from this political genius who had phenomenal business acumen.

“I

believe our new citizens and the younger generation of our community will

appreciate this deserving tribute to Tony when they realize how much his

efforts preserved the treasured characteristics of our island and how much his

work will continue to influence and benefit the lives of Kauai’s citizens for

years to come,” Kusaka said.

The April 12 tribute will include guest

performances among whom are students or former students of programs for which

Mayor Kunimura acquired funding support.

For more information call Rhonda

Lizama, Office of the Mayor, 241-6300.

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