Hawaii recognizes those who promote the culture of the Islands

HONOLULU -- Rex Johnson, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), presented the 2005 Koa and Kahili Awards at the 14th annual Keep It Hawaii Recognition Awards.

The winners were chosen because of their efforts to bridge relationships among Hawaiian cultural promoters, tourism representatives and the community, thus providing visitors and residents with opportunities to experience the true culture of Hawaii, Johnson said. 

Awards were presented in two categories: business and individual.

In the business category, winners included the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows for its Historic Tours and its Turtle Independence Day Celebration; the Ritz Carlton, Kapalua, for its Celebration of the Arts festival; and the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach for its Kalakaua Experience Program.

The Fairmont Orchid, Four Seasons Maui and Old Lahaina Luau were honored, as well.

In the individual category, falsetto singer and Hawaiian musician Auntie Genoa Keawe won the He Kuleana Ke Aloha Award, as did Winona Desha Beamer, Mary Louise Kekuewa, the Merrie Monarch Festival, the Prince Lot Hula Festivals and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

A special award went to Ken Robert Emerson of Kauai, a slack-key guitarist and one of the musicians who played on the first Hawaiian album to win a Grammy award in the newly created category of Hawaiian music.

The Bishop Museum took home a pair of awards for publications they put out in the last year promoting Hawaiian heritage.

Hawaiian Airlines was honored for its support and sponsorship of the Aloha Festival.

To contact reporter Brian Berusch, send e-mail to [email protected].

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