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News to Know: On the Campaign Trail in Hana

Community Contributed

Column by Barbara Haliniak, Hawaii District 7 Senate candidate

Last weekend I was lost in the beauty and hospitality of Hana. Not only did I survive the winding road to Hana, I met a lot of local people who welcomed me unconditionally. I traveled to Hana with my friends Connie and Hanako both from Oahu. Hanako, who graduated from Hana High School, was eager to visit with friends and family and although her parents, the Tanakas, passed on some years ago, the family home still welcomed relatives and friend travelers.

We left Kahului Airport on Friday morning and made our way to Hana via Pukalani and Makawao. We made a quick stop at Komoda Bakery so Hanako could see her cousin who runs the bakery. We left the bakery with pastries her cousin packed for us along with two other boxes to give to her mother who lives in Hana, then left on our two-hour drive.

That evening at the Hana Bay Pavilion, my campaign kickoff Hana style was hosted by Lehua Cosma, her family and friends. A few feet before the pavilion was a dirt parking area for local seniors, who had “kupuna rights” to the parking overlooking Hana Bay. The food, music and entertainment were awesome. As I made my rounds at the different tables talking story with those who came to meet me and enjoy the night, I couldn’t help but think of how our small communities have so many similarities — the people, the spirit and the extra care given to ensure our visiting family and friends enjoy their stay here. We left the pavilion around 11 p.m., thanking the powers to be that the lights were still on way pass the 10 p.m. curfew controlled by an auto switch.

On Saturday, Hanako and I canvassed a subdivision walking door to door. We could have covered more ground but every house we went to, Hanako had to catch up on the latest chitchat. Before the afternoon was over, we stopped at the Hana Store and Hasegawa General Store where the managers at both stores knew Hanako, one of the store managers offered to post my campaign rack card on the store’s bulletin board.
That night, Hanako, Joanne Medeiros of Hana, and I attended Bob Carroll granddaughter’s graduation party. The food was great and the people I met there were very sociable, at times asking if I knew their relatives on Molokai. Aunty Judy mentioned that she used to come to Molokai often when her sister was alive. So many people in Hana have relatives or friends on Molokai and quickly asked if I knew them.
My deepest mahalo to Hana and its people, Lehua and Patrick Cosma, Joanne, Ingrid, Aunty Mary and the many others who made me feel at home in Hana.


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