Seven 2012 Living Treaures announced

In too many instances, there are people who should be honored while they are still living. But that seldom happens, and only their spirit is appreciated.

The Kaua‘i Museum’s Living Treasures program was created so people have an opportunity to appreciate and honor the individuals selected for the Living Treasures program while they are here to know how much difference they make to our island’s quality of life.

Seven people whose long service to the community continues to help and inspire the people of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau have been selected as “Living Treasures” by the Kaua‘i Museum and will be honored during a gala July 14 at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

Thomas Ho‘ohie Takahashi

Thomas Ho‘ohie Takahashi, affectionately known as Papa Takahashi, is a respected Hawaiian spiritual healer and practitioner with people locally and abroad, seeking his guidance, prayers and blessings.

Born in 1928 on the island of Ni‘ihau, Takahashi was called on to bless The Kaua‘i Bus fleet, giving each vehicle a name for its service to the people.

“Papa Takahashi’s life is committed to doing the will of Akua in service as a spiritual leader and inspiration to our community,” said Jane Gray, director of the Kaua‘i Museum, in a release.

Takahashi is one of the seven honorees for which tickets to the Living Treasures gala can be obtained from the museum.

“We call them ‘living treasures’ because they have enriched the lives of so many on our islands with their tireless work, becoming role models for future generations who want to have a positive influence on our communities,” Gray said. “They make a difference every day, and that is such a generous gift to all of us. They are the heart and soul of our islands and we invite the community to join us in celebrating their achievements.”

Takahashi was selected for excellence as a Hawaiian spiritual practitioner.

David Pratt

David Pratt, former president and CEO of Grove Farm Co., was selected for excellence in public service.

Described as a philanthropist, Pratt has worked to improve livelihoods, education and our quality of life through his service on boards of numerous organizations, including the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board, which he cofounded in 1984 and later served as its president and director.

Pratt was a past director of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation and also served on the board of the G.N. Wilcox Memorial Hospital for more than a decade. He is an active member of the board of directors of Island School after serving as its board president from 1997 to 2009.

Tad Miura, Sr.

Another past Wilcox Hospital board member, Tad Miura, Sr. has been selected for excellence in public service, the Miura name is carried on by Tad’s children and grandchildren, who perpetuate the legacy of the Miura family, and recently celebrated the dedication of  Hale Ho‘omalu family service center in Kapa‘a in the home where Tad grew up.

Born in 1929 and raised in Kapa‘a, award-winning business owner and Realtor, Miura has long volunteered his expertise and hard work to the communities of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, serving as the administrative assistant to Kaua‘i Mayor Antone “Kona” Vidinha, Jr., and as the county clerk from 1973 to 1979.

Following his political career, Miura turned to a career as a Realtor; he is currently works at Kaua‘i Realty.

He also served as the president of the Kapa‘a Businessmen’s Association and the Kapa‘a High School PTA as well as a member of the Hawai‘i Housing Authority Commission and the Wilcox Hospital board.

Ezra Reuben Kanoho

Ezra Reuben Kanoho, a former state representative for the 15th District of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, has also been selected for excellence in public service.

Serving in the Hawai‘i State Legislature from 1986 to 2006, Kanoho helped increase funding for the island’s schools, public buildings, airport, harbor and hospitals.

He is the former president of the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Kaua‘i and the American Society of Safety Engineers and a former director of KEDB and Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau.

Ramon De La Pena

Dr. Ramon De La Pena, a leading expert on taro production, has been selected for excellence in agriculture.

De La Pena, an agronomist, professor emeritus and member of the Board of Regents at the University of Hawai‘i, has produced more than 85 scientific papers on tropical agriculture at the university’s Kaua‘i Extension Service station between 1967 until 2001.

He is a former member of the Kaua‘i County Planning Commission and has mentored numerous high school students in service to future generations. He is an active member of the Kaua‘i Filipino Chamber of Commerce.

Tutu Ane Kanahele

Tutu Ane Hi‘ilani Kelley Kanahele, born and raised in Pu‘uwai, Ni‘ihau, in 1936, has been chosen for excellence in Hawaiian culture and language.

Kanahele is one of the island’s most prolific composers of himeni, or Hawaiian hymns. She is the matriarch of the Kanahele ‘ohana, which includes eight children, 20 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Mama Kanahele, as he is known, is a minister at the Waimea Hawaiian Church after recently retiring from Ke Kula Ni‘ihau o Kekaha as a kumu perpetuating Hawaiian language and culture. The beloved kumu and kahu has always lived a spiritual life, the release states.

Julia Peahu Smith Chandler Sueoka

Julia Peahu Smith Chandler Sueoka of Kekaha, 95, is an acknowledged master lei maker and floral designer, being selected for excellence in the art of lei making.

Sueoka, as a child, would gather flowers from her yard in Kekaha and Koke‘e, her favorite place, to make lei of all sorts ranging from akulikuli, or more contemporarily known as the ice flower, to her favorites mailelauli‘ili‘i and mokihana.

A multiple grand prize winner for her lei both locally, where she participated and won at the Kaua‘i Museum’s annual “Lei Day” contests, and in Honolulu, Sueoka continues to pick maile and lehua papa in Koke‘e to promote the history, culture and art of lei-making to enrich people’s lives with her art.

These seven distinguished people will join previous Living Treasure award recipients who have been honored in earlier years for their leadership on Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau in the fields of public service, philanthropy, the arts, Native Hawaiian culture and spiritual teaching, history, education, science and agriculture.

Call 245-6931 or email director@kauaimuseum.org for ticket pricing or reservations.

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