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
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
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.
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.