In partnership with Alexander & Baldwin, Waianae Mall established Waianae Coast Hall of fame, instilling a sense of pride in the community
February was an exciting month for Waianae Mall, which celebrated its 40th anniversary, as well as for community members who live and work in the area.
To celebrate the milestone, the mall established Waianae Coast Hall of Fame, in partnership with Alexander & Baldwin, to recognize those who have dedicated their lives to helping people and businesses in the Waianae area.
In total, 40 honorees (past and present) were inducted into the hall of fame at Waianae Mall. Honorees spanned categories including arts and culture, athletics, business and community service.
More than 300 community members attended the induction ceremony. Past relationships were rekindled, stories from the past were shared and the community was able to come together to celebrate something positive.
According to Hall of Fame committee member Candy Suiso of Searider Productions, the Waianae coast has been looked down on for decades.
“But this brought a lot of pride into the community,” she says. “They were so happy and proud to be from this community.” Suiso, a Makaha resident, was joined on the committee by Waianae Coast Rotary Club president Don Arakaki, journalist Gail Gomes, community volunteer Verna Landford-Bright, Waianae Economic Development Council and Lualualei Hawaiian Civic Club representative Joseph Lapilio, and Waianae leader and rancher Albert Silva.
“We wanted good representation from Nanakuli, Ma’ili, Waianae and Makaha,” she explains. “We wanted to honor men, as well as women, of different ages, those who have passed, those who are still living.
“These folks have just really given their whole entire career to making a difference, especially in the lives of our youths.”
However, finding equal representation was not the biggest hurdle the committee faced.
“It was so tough to select 40 people to be honored,” continues Suiso, who owns Makaha Mangoes with husband Mark. “There are so many in our community who have made such an impact, made such a difference in who we are today.”
Each year, more community leaders will be inducted into the Waianae Coast Hall of Fame.
“We have that to look forward to every year,” notes Suiso.
Anita Korenaga, a retired teacher and counselor at Waianae High School, is one such individual inducted this year who exemplified selfless service.
“I just did my job,” says Korenaga. “But I like to think that I represented all the administrators, counselors and school staff who truly care about the children of the Waianae coast.”
Korenaga began her journey with Waianae High in 1957 and taught English and social studies. But during the time of Title IX, the school administration urged her to obtain her counseling degree.
Even though she retired from the school in 1986, she continued to volunteer until 1989.
“My family is so happy,” she says. “They tell me, ‘Finally, Mom, after all the hours you put in.’ It was one of the greatest honors I could ever have.” To keep up with Waianae Mall’s events and promotions, visit facebook.com/waianaemall.