Jack Tyrrell specializes in Kakaako, Honolulu, Hawaii luxury condo projects.

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Howard Hughes opens Ke Kilohana workforce tower

 
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Ward Village is growing! The Howard Hughes Corporation’s first workforce tower, Ke Kilohana, is now open to its first residents. This is the company’s fourth completed tower, a majority of which were bought by first-time homebuyers. We congratulate these first-time homebuyers on their new homes, right in the heart of Honolulu and within the growing and dynamic community of Ward Village.

For an inside look at the tower’s interior, visit Pacific Business News here and read their article below:

The Howard Hughes Corp. opened Ke Kilohana, its first workforce tower in Ward Village in Honolulu, on Tuesday to visitors and buyers, including a local couple who received the keys to their unit a day ahead of the first group of 100 that will move in this week.

The 43-story tower with its distinctive gray-and-yellow exterior has a total of 424 units, with 375 of those sold to buyers making between 100 and 140 percent of the area median income, many of whom are first-time homebuyers.

Those included Karen and Ricky Muraoka, who received the keys to their two-bedroom, two-bath apartment after a Hawaiian blessing on the eighth-floor recreation deck and allowed visitors to tour the 35th-floor unit.

Simon Treacy, president and CEO of The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) in Hawaii, noted that the building is part of the developer’s vision to build homes of varying sizes and price ranges at the 60-acre Ward Village.

“This will not be the last reserved housing tower we will do at Ward Village,” he said.

The 375 reserved units were sold out; Howard Hughes had the remaining three of the market-priced units under contract by April 30, according to the company’s first quarter earnings report. The developer reserved 150 of the 750 units as workforce units at its fifth tower, Aalii, currently under construction behind the fourth tower, Aeo.

The first group of about 100 buyers will receive their keys on Wednesday. The remaining buyers will move in in phases between now and mid June. A 23,000-square-foot Longs Drugs store will open on the ground floor later this year.

Sales for the tower began in March 2016. General contractor Nordic PCL Construction began construction on the $219 million project in October of that year, and topped off the tower last summer. The building was designed by AC Martin and CDS International of Honolulu, with interior public spaces designed by The Vanguard Theory.

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Market News: Home sales, prices decline on Oahu in April 2019

Photo: Honolulu Board of REALTORS®

Photo: Honolulu Board of REALTORS®

While the median price of a condominium in April 2019 increased from April 2018 by 0.7 percent, the number of condos that sold fell by 13 percent, with 476 units sold last month. Days on market also rose in April 2019 to 29 days, compared to 18 days in April 2018.

Read more from Pacific Business News, below:

Sales of single-family homes on Oahu rose by double digits, compared to a year ago, as the median price declined by 3 percent, while the number of condominiums sold in April dropped and the median price stayed relatively flat, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

There were 318 single-family homes sold in April, a 10 percent increase from 289 homes sold during the same month last year. The median price of those homes was $766,750, a decline of 2.9 percent from $790,000 in April 2018.

The median price of a condominium last month was $418,950, which was a 0.7 percent increase from $416,000 in April 2018. But the number of condos sold fell to 476 units, a 13 percent decrease from 547 units sold in April 2018.

“Low mortgage interest rates, coupled with more inventory on the market compared to last year, presented better opportunities for potential homebuyers and spurred more of them to buy,” Jenny L. Brady, President of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, said in a statement. “While condo sales were down comparatively, there was still a healthy number of condo units sold in April.”

Meanwhile, the board noted that active listings increased by 30.6 percent for single-family homes, compared to a year ago, and by 17.6 percent for condos, compared to April a year ago.

Homes are also remaining on the market longer — the median days on market for a single-family home rose to 25 in April, from 17 days last year, a jump of 47.1 percent. For condos, the median days on market rose 61.1 percent to 29 days, from 18 days in April last year.

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Ward Village Kō‘ula architect listed on Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People

Photo: Time Magazine

Photo: Time Magazine

Jeanne Gang, the principal of Studio Gang Architects (and the team behind Kō‘ula) was recently named to TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2019! Kō‘ula is Studio Gang’s first major project on the Hawaiian Islands. The Ward Village development will embody indoor-outdoor living, with each unit designed to have ocean views. Please contact us to learn more about this exciting new project!

Read Time Magazine’s profile of Ms. Gang, below:

Jeanne Gang has the WOW factor. Her stunning Aqua, in Chicago, is the tallest building ever built by a woman. Now she’s building an even taller one. Yet, for Jeanne, architecture is not just a wondrous object. It’s a catalyst for change. Her sleek, woody boathouses are helping to revive the polluted Chicago River by filtering runoff organically. Her Polis Station concept aims to improve the way civilians interact with law enforcement by fusing police stations with civic recreational centers. She recently tested the idea in one of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods, adding a basketball court to the 10th District police station in North Lawndale.
The results were so popular, she’s now expanding the facility.

Referring to the growing socioeconomic divides in our cities, Jeanne has warned her profession against “sorting ourselves into architects of the rich and architects of the poor,” and focuses instead on discovering “new possibilities for the discipline and beyond.” And it all started with playing in the dirt and making ice castles. Wow.

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Irongate to sell Waikiki penthouses by the piece

Photo Credit: CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

Photo Credit: CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

Developer Irongate has set its sites on a lofty new expansion: The company is converting the penthouse floors in the Diamond Head Tower of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, into an exclusive fractional-­ownership club.

Irongate announced plans to sell 84 shares in its new Diamond Head Club at a party Tuesday night to celebrate the successful fall opening of its most recent tower, which added another 245 ocean-view residences to Ritz-Carlton’s Waikiki offerings. Combined with the ‘Ewa Tower, the 552-unit project is the largest Ritz-Carlton Residences in the world.

But that distinction wasn’t enough for Irongate Chairman and CEO Jason Grosfeld, who has found a way to add even more exclusivity to one of the state’s highest-end projects. The private club will consist of six penthouses perched on the 37th and 38th floors of the 350-foot Diamond Head Tower. The two- to four-bedroom penthouses, ranging from 2,100 to 4,125 square feet, come with exclusive use of a 5,400-square-foot rooftop lanai with a 270-degree ocean and mountain view that stretches from Diamond Head to Barbers Point. They also have access to their own club concierge team and all Ritz-Carlton amenities.

Grosfeld said the club’s interior also will surpass any of the company’s projects to date, which in Hawaii also includes the Trump International Hotel Waikiki.

“It will blow people away,” Grosfeld said.

Grosfeld is referring to the project’s aesthetics, not its price point. Diamond Head Club owners will have a fee-simple interest in a portion of the penthouse, which is a fraction of what it would cost to buy the whole property.

Penthouses sold for $7 million to $20 million for the ‘Ewa Tower, which opened in July 2016, said Sarah Evans, Irongate’s managing director of marketing and sales opportunities. But fractional ownership in the club’s flexible ownership program will start at $700,000 for four weeks spread over the summer and winter, Evans said. There will also be a fixed ownership program that allows owners to come annually during the same peak two-week period, including Christmas and New Year’s, Golden Week and Obon, she said.

Joseph Toy, president and CEO of Hospitality Advisors LLC, expects the market to quickly absorb the club units.

“There’s definitely a market for high-end fractionals, and I expect demand will be elevated because this product is in Waikiki and is backed by the service and amenities of the Ritz-Carlton brand,” Toy said.

Mark Bratton, senior vice president of Colliers International, said developers, especially on the high end, are more bullish than ever about Waikiki. The trick, however, is finding available space to develop or redevelop.

“Most of our stuff was built in the late 1960s and 1970s,” Bratton said. “We’re also constrained by the Ala Wai Canal. If we cleaned it up and made it more approachable, it could become new waterfront, and we’d see more luxury properties on that end, too.”

Grosfeld said the beauty of the club is that it allows Irongate to deliver more luxury development to Waikiki, where construction costs, limited availability of land and lengthy entitlements have created barriers to entry.

“As you can see from the company’s investment in Waikiki over the last 16 years, we are believers, and we certainly would like to do more in Waikiki,” he said.

Grosfeld said Diamond Head Club allows Irongate to reach a whole new market while providing greater choice for buyers. Evans said hotel condominiums on the other floors of the Diamond Head Tower began selling in the summer of 2014 and were largely sold out by mid-2016.

Grosfeld said the new concept is predicated on the belief that there also “are a lot of people, who for about the same amount of money, would rather have a two-, three- or four-bedroom penthouse and are completely fine with just using it for a few weeks or few months of the year.”

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Thompson Named 2018 Salesperson of the Year

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Congratulations to Polynesian Voyaging Society Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson for being named Salesperson of the Year by Sales & Marketing Executives Honolulu (SME Honolulu)! We were honored to be present at SME Honolulu’s annual luncheon where outstanding members of the community who greatly enhance the image of Hawaii are recognized.

Read more below:

Sales & Marketing Executives Honolulu (SME Honolulu) reports that this year’s Salesperson of the Year (SPOY) is Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson.

Nainoa Thompson has been named the 2018 Salesperson of the Year. PC: SME Honolulu

Current SME Honolulu President Janet M. Scheffer said, “We’re excited that Hawai‘i’s iconic leaders, both past and present, will be there to recognize the newest member of this very special group of SPOY honorees, Nainoa Thompson.”

Each year, SME Honolulu recognizes one member of the community who greatly enhances the image of Hawai‘i and the quality of life in our community. This is the 62nd consecutive year that SME Honolulu has awarded this honor.

Thompson is the first Native Hawaiian in 600 years to practice the ancient Polynesian art of navigation; completing long-distance open-ocean voyages without the aid of modern instruments. An explorer, educator, cultural revivalist and more. His impact is felt throughout the community.

“Since the 1957 inception of the award, when Daniel S. C. Liu first accepted the title, SME Honolulu has recognized over 60 leaders who have served to better the education and promotion of business in Hawai‘i,” said David C. Livingston, SME Honolulu SPOY chairperson, “We are honored to add such an important local Hawaiian figure to our list of honorees.”

The SPOY luncheon will be held April 10, 2019, at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort Hawai‘i Ballroom. Registration begins at 11 a.m. followed by the luncheon and program at 11:45 a.m.

Reservations for this year’s SPOY luncheon honoring Thompson may be made online, or by contacting Janet Scheffer at (808) 521-1160. Individual seats $125. Sponsorship tables of ten: Silver $1,750 – Gold $3,000 – Platinum $5,000. VIP dockside canoe tours of the legendary Hokule‘a and sister canoe Hikianalia will be available for each Platinum table.


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New food comes to Ward Village in April 2019

Photo: Howard Hughes Corporation

Photo: Howard Hughes Corporation

In some exciting neighborhood foodie news, popular Japanese restaurant, Rinka, has relocated to Ae`o at Ward Village! Nestled on the ground floor behind Whole Foods, the spot serves its popular teishoku sets during lunch and a bigger menu, including sushi, in the evening. Frolic Hawaii recently published a glowing review of its lunch set. A private dining area is also available for your next gathering. For more information, call (808) 773-8235. Soft opening hours are Monday - Saturday 11 a.m.to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Next, if you aren't able to make it the Kakaako Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, you can now do your shopping - and even pick up dinner - every Wednesday evening at the new Kakaako Sunset Market from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 1050 Ward Avenue! Honolulu Magazine's Martha Cheng breaks down the go-to vendors at the market here.

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Honolulu Civil Beat 's "Local Artisans Are Thriving Amid Kakaako’s Condo Boom"

Art by local photographer Franco Salmoiraghi displayed in the elevator foyer at Waiea.

Art by local photographer Franco Salmoiraghi displayed in the elevator foyer at Waiea.

Development in Howard Hughes’ Ward Village has given new opportunities' for Hawaii’s local artists. Whether it is through commissions of fine local art for their condo developments or sponsoring big art events like the Honolulu Biennial 2019, Howard Hughes’ commitment to the local art scene and artists remains an integral part of their community-building strategy. Honolulu Civil Beat’s Stewart Yerton explores this effort further, and interviews local artists to get their first-hand accounts, below:

Located on a narrow side street in Kalihi, Dae Son’s Wood Hi, is a world away from the gleaming high rises and hip eateries of nearby Kakaako, but the woodshop has strong ties to the fast-growing district.

Son has a small but steady flow of business from Kakaako thanks to Miwa Yamamuro, the principal of the interior design firm Muro Designs. Yamamuro has built a thriving business designing interiors of the new luxury condos sprouting up in Kakaako and Ala Moana. And artisans like Son, as well as local artists, are part of the equation.

“It’s Hawaii,” Yamamuro says, explaining why clients want local design elements in their homes. “And they want to feel like they’re in Hawaii.”

Designer Miwa Yamamuro, principal of Muro Designs in Honolulu, has worked with woodworker Dae Son to produce art pieces for Kakaako condo projects.

Jen Toba-Davila, senior architectural designer with Philpotts Interiors, agreed that condo buyers want something uniquely expressive of Hawaii, a conversation starter or “memory maker.”

“They’re always looking for something that’s handcrafted, locally made to locally sourced,” she said.

Negative side effects of development are well known and oft-discussed: increased traffic, gentrification and heightened demand for public services like waste management, among others. But the experience of people like Yamamuro and Son shows one of the positive results: increased demand for the work of fine artists, photographers and artisans like Son, also known as “makers.”

‘A New Urban Community’

There are no data on how much work Kakaako’s condos have spun off for artists and makers. What is known is that the creative industries produce substantial jobs and income in Hawaii. According to a recent report released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, “core” arts and culture production jobs – mainly performing arts, writers, museums, arts educators and design services like Muro Designs – generated just under $340 million in income in Hawaii in 2016 and employed about 6,800 people.

That doesn’t count what the bureau calls supporting arts and cultural industries, including publishing, broadcasting and motion picture production, which employed almost 15,000 people and generated about $950 million in income in 2016.

The supporting industries have gotten a big boost from Hawaii taxpayers, who subsidize movie and television production by paying producers back as much as 25 cents for every dollar they spend on Hawaii-based projects, even for money spent out of state. While there’s no such support for most other arts and design jobs, there has been enormous private investment in Kakaako, the former light industrial neighborhood stretching from Ala Moana to the edge of downtown.

As of December, Howard Hughes Corp., a Dallas-based real estate investment trust, had either opened or was constructing 2,129 condominiums in its master-planned Ward Village project encompassing the east end of the neighborhood. That does not count properties developed at the west end and in neighborhoods on land owned by Kamehameha Schools.

And Howard Hughes’ plans envision more down the line.

The magnitude of the development is staggering. The estimated cost for Howard Hughes’ five projects alone, two of which are under construction, is approaching $2 billion, and the company reported profits of $726 million in its report to shareholders for 2018.

Honolulu photographer Franco Salmoiraghi scored a major coup with a commission to use his photographs on common spaces at Howard Hughes’ Waiea condo project.

The boom has supported a lively art scene that gives soul to what could be a stark new neighborhood. Pow! Wow!, an annual arts festival that has brought a collection of street murals to Kakaako, recently wrapped up. And the Honolulu Biennial is now underway, its main exhibition space located at Ward Village. There’s also a community of creatives in the neighborhood, working out of collective workspaces like Lana Lane Studios even as the area goes upscale.

Toba-Davila said it’s not surprising that there are still pockets of artists and makers in and near Kakaako, despite the gentrification.

“That’s what makes Kakaako so dynamic and interesting,” said Toba-Davila-Davila, who serves on the executive committee of the American Institute of Architects in Hawaii. “I hope they’re always there.”

Howard Hughes recognizes this and works to support local arts and culture in the neighborhood, said Todd Apo, senior vice president of community development at Ward Village. This includes supporting events like the biennial, hosting public art exhibits and creating affordable retail spaces for small, local businesses. As the company continues to redevelop the area, work spaces and studios for artists and makers “will continue to be a part of Ward Village,” Apo said.

“We are creating a new urban community,” said Apo, a former Honolulu City Council chairman. “And you can’t do that just by building mixed-use buildings.”

Making Connections

On a recent evening in a nondescript Kakaako warehouse exhibition space, a few dozen artists and makers gathered for a potluck. In her second-floor studio of Aupuni Space, designer Emiko Miyazawa discussed her kinetic silver jewelry inspired by Swiss watch movements and explained how she used a Japanese pottery technique to repair a moonstone ring, creating gold metallic lightning in the opalescent orb. Nearby, the sculptor Mark Chai was admiring Miyazawa’s new high-tech microscope, while SheenRu Yong, a dancer and choreographer, chatted on a sofa.

Kun Xu, a welder from the metal workshop next door, admired a painting in the hallway. Downstairs, spilling onto the sidewalk, there were more artists; a deejay, Lino “DJ Leanski” Delgado spinning tunes, and plenty of wine and hard cider.

The event was organized by Janis Ku’uipo Lee’s organization E-Merge Collective and Art World Escape, an arts tour organization founded by Paige Donnelly and Ben Carpenter-Nwanyanwu. Lee’s idea is to nurture a community of creatives who can exchange ideas and collaborate. She’s what the author Malcolm Gladwell describes as a classic connector, a 27-year-old artist and salon impresario who’s enhancing E-merge’s online artists’ directory with monthly potlucks.

“The foundation of the relationships is really important,” she said.

Lee’s vision is more about community than commerce, but it addresses a fundamental problem. For the artists and makers to get the most economic benefit from Kakaako’s condo boom, they somehow need to get exposure to tap into the billions of dollars being invested in the neighborhood.

Kun Xu, left, and Michelle Kaneko of Heavy Metal Inc. inspect a new door created for a Kaimuki coffee shop. Kaneko said it’s been hard to connect and create custom goods for new condo buyers despite the firm’s ability to create finely crafted metal works.

It’s a difficult task, said Michelle Kaneko, an architect who serves as the business manager for the metal works shop Heavy Metal Inc. Bill Reardon, a former Pearl Harbor welder who owns the shop, does work few others in town can, says Son, the woodworker, who has collaborated with Reardon on some expensive dining tables. But Reardon said the work from Kakaako has been scant. Kaneko said she’s not sure how to let designers and real estate agents know about Heavy Metal.

“I don’t know how to leverage that, to market that to everybody,” she said.

Connections are made largely by interior designers, who know condo buyers through real estate agents. A case in point is Maura Fujihira, co-founder of fishcake, an art gallery and furnishings shop, and an affiliated interior design company.

Fujihira and her longtime colleague Keiko Hatano, who is fishcake’s art curator, have been supporting local artists for decades. When designing a 3,000-square foot condo in Howard Hughes’ Waiea condominium project, for instance, Fujihira and Hatano included sculptures by George Woollard and John Koga, a painting by Mary Mitsuda and a large photo by Rex Maximilian.

Fujihira said such works can bring local life to spaces that otherwise could be anywhere.

“That’s what makes it special,” she said. “But you need the client who is willing and able.”

Maura Fujihira, co-founder of fishcake, says spaces such as this Kakaako penthouse can be a canvas for showing the work of Hawaii artists and craft makers.

While many of Fujihira’s clients give her the freedom to create unique spaces, Yamamuro is able to offer Hawaiian touches even in turnkey packages that include everything from furniture to linens and kitchenware. Among the handcrafted products are framed planks of polished monkeypod wood made by Son.

It’s rare, of course, for the artists and makers to be able to live in the condos. The irony’s not lost on Honolulu photographer Franco Salmoiraghi, who got a major commission from Howard Hughes that put 120 of the 77-year-old photographer’s pictures in the common areas at Waiea. The job came at a critical time when Salmoiraghi had been evicted from his long-time home in Manoa.

“It was the biggest commission I’ve ever had,” he says. “But it wasn’t enough to retire on.”

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Honolulu Biennial returns March 8 through May 5

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As Ward Village continues to develop into a first-class master planned community, Howard Hughes has also fostered the creation of a thriving community. Part of this effort includes welcoming Honolulu’s artistic community into the neighborhood, including sponsoring the second edition of the Honolulu Biennial 2019.

Read more from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, below:

Oversized pink objects began popping up around town in 2017: A mammoth pig on Ward Avenue; a giant lotus with moving petals at the IBM Building; large polka dot sculptures by artist Yayoi Kusama. It was the premiere Honolulu Biennial, and the public’s attention was captured.

Here now with its second installment, Honolulu Biennial 2019 is at hand — and with its bold art by renowned local and international artists, plenty of buzz has been generated about its lineup. On display at 10-plus locations will be the work of 47 artists, accompanied by more than 90 free public programs that include artist talks, panels, art-making workshops, films and performances.

Those pink exhibits were whimsical two years ago, but the 2017 Biennial artists also probed pressing issues facing Hawaii, including environmental and cultural issues.

This year’s Biennial addresses serious issues — colonialism in particular — but again includes room for humor, hope and lightheartedness.

“What’s unique about this Biennial is it’s one of the few that focuses solely on the Pacific,” said curator Nina Tonga.

The Biennial’s theme “To Make Wrong / Right / Now” is borrowed from a poem by participating Hawaiian artist Imaikalani Kalahele.

“The poem is about embracing what is unique about this part of the world,” adds Tonga. “Putting the way we do things on a platform. Excavating our histories, our genealogy. Doing something true to ourselves, doing something that is true to the place.”

“There are 47 interpretations of that theme,” notes co-founder and executive director Katherine Ann Leilani Tuider. “Some of our artists are reading ‘to make wrong’ as making mischief. So, how do you create playfulness? But then there’s the other side, ‘How do we right the wrongs of the past? What can we do to move forward?’”

HAWAII ARTIST and landscape designer Leland Miyano posits one interpretation with a massive botanical sculpture.

Along with volunteers, Miyano harvested over 40 tons of invasive guava and inkberry from Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden and transported it to Foster Botanical Garden. There, he and his helpers spent more than a month weaving the sticks into a large-scale, double-hulled canoe.

His project comes from a background grounded in being connected to the natural environment, informed by stellar mentors. Miyano has worked to preserve rainforest plant species in Brazil, and practiced his craft alongside respected landscape architect David Woolsey and celebrated stick artist Patrick Dougherty.

“I do what I do because I want to close the gap between nature and man,” Miyano said. “We’re getting farther apart as time goes on.”

Miyano practices what he preaches with such dedication that he chooses to have no interaction with technology – he’s never owned a cell phone and has never used most things technological, whether computers or ATMs.

His concern for his natural surroundings exhibited itself at a young age with an interest in Hawaii’s many endemic snails — most of which are now extinct — and in volunteering with his mother at Oahu garden projects, including at Foster Garden.

After studying art at University of Hawaii and connecting with mentors such as Woolsey, Miyano has become one of Hawaii’s notable artists and landscape designers. He also has a long history with Bishop Museum, researching and studying native plants and animals, and the invasive species that displace them.

“Hawaii is considered an extinction capital of the world,” noted Miyano. “Once we lose our endemic species, that’s it.

“I chose a voyaging canoe (for my Biennial art piece) because it’s a metaphor for the island, or for earth. We have to have everything that sustains life on that canoe, and a community that works together to solve our problems and survive. I had the community help build this canoe, and I had them think about, ‘If we’re really going out to sea, how will we survive on this canoe? We will eventually reach land – how are we going to treat that land?’”

The title of his project is “Huakai: Awake.” “Huakai” translates as “voyage,” and for Miyano, “Awake” has several connotations — it could reference the wake of a ship, awakening, or the service that is conducted after someone, or a species, is no more.

Miyano hopes his project will cultivate a spark, especially in younger generations, inspiring them to harbor a closer relationship with nature.

“We need to reverse the tide of people just being in the virtual world,” he said. “My not having a cell phone is part of my protest. I don’t like technology driving our actions.

“I love that we have an educational component to what we do at the Biennial. We need STEAM in schools, not just STEM,” Miyano said, referencing education in science, technology, engineering and math. “The ‘A’ stands for art, and it’s necessary because art appeals to our emotions.

“School kids came and helped me make the canoe, which is an engineering feat, But it also touches the emotional part, which maybe will effect change.”

An additional concept of the Biennial is “the ties that bind.” Miyano’s canoe is made from interconnected sticks, created without modern joinery. Similarly, precontact Hawaiians found natural tools for tying their work together.

“They also tied the community together,” said Miyano.

“The interwovenness of this sculpture is a statement about connection, while also resembling a bird’s nest.”

The bow and stern of his canoe lift into a high taper.

“Those ornamentations that rise up are called manu, which means bird in Hawaiian,” Miyano noted. “Long-tailed tropical birds used to guide the voyaging canoes.”

Miyano is one of the Biennial’s local artists who is deeply rooted to place and history, and his art considers issues of preservation and sustainability.

THE BIENNIAL hosts many international artists, some of whom hail from other Pacific island cultures. Tonga, the curator, is herself from Tonga and now lives in New Zealand (Aotearoa).

Some artists focus on Hawaii’s situation in particular, while others look at parallels with their own indigenous cultures and history.

As Tuider points out, yet others tie in the Biennial’s concepts with a lighter hand.

One artist putting together what promises to be jaw dropping work is acclaimed Japanese installation artist Chiharu Shiota, who has also presented her work at the Venice Biennale.

Shiota, who lives and works in Berlin, is known for her use of yarn and found objects. She creates intricate webs that fill a space with a dramatic, immersive atmosphere. Her work, which also received help from volunteers, will be on view at the Hub at Ward Centre — a re-purposed space that previously hosted Famous Footwear.

Shiota provides her own take on the themes of ties that bind, and the question of wrong and right.

“I have taken many different maps from various cities around the world and incorporated them into a net of connection — to bind many different cultures and paths together,” she said.

“The installation is about the paths we take, the wrong and right way we go. It is about reflecting where we are now and where we are heading in the future,” Shiota said.” It is about connecting to each other.”

Some of the works at the Biennial are new site-specific works like Miyano’s and Shiota’s, while others have been on view at exhibitions and museums around the world. They were chosen by Tonga and her curatorial team for their message and wow factor.

Almost all of the artists will be present in Honolulu during the opening weekend.

“There’s a magic that happens when all of the artists come together and meet each other and see each other’s work, and share stories,” said Tuider.

This impressive congregation of artists also fulfills another of Tuider’s goals, which is to make art accessible.

“The artists will be able to say in their own words how they conceived of and made their artwork, and that makes all the difference, especially with contemporary art where sometimes people might feel a little bit intimidated — what’s their entry point? How do they begin to understand it?” Tuider said.

”If you get to ask the person who actually made it, you have a tie to it and are captivated by it.”

THE HONOLULU Biennial reached 90,000 people in 2017. This year’s goal is to reach 150,000 visitors.

“We chose artists who bring the energy we want to see here in Hawaii – artists who give us an idea of what’s happening in the Pacific right now, and who challenge us environmentally and culturally,” Tonga said.

“With all of the installations that we’re offering to the public, we’ve created a place that we hope inspires people, and we hope the artwork speaks to them so that the Biennial is something they feel connected to.”

Several sites are free to enter. There is an entry fee to view exhibits at The Hub, Foster Botanical Garden, Bishop Museum and Honolulu Museum of Art. An all-access pass, $75, provides unlimited access.

“My job is maintaining an organization that is sustainable — not just financially, but to be flexible and agile so that we fill a needed space in the community,” said Tuider. “I see us continuing well into the future.”

HONOLULU BIENNIAL 2019: ‘TO MAKE WRONG / RIGHT / NOW’ 
>> Where: The Hub at Ward Centre and various locations 
>> When: Friday through May 5 
>> Info: honolulubiennial.org; buy tickets and RSVP to events at tickets.honoluluboxoffice.com

OPENING WEEKEND EVENTS

See details and more events at honolulubiennial.org

>> SaVAge K’lub Headquarters Open Studio: “Acti.va.tions” interactive open studio, Chinatown, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. Free.

>> Womb Womb Room: “Listen/Tell,” curated contemplation and storytelling nook, The Hub, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. through May 3. Ticket required, $7-$75 (tickets.honoluluboxoffice.com).

>> Lisa Reihana, “Biennials, Triennials and the Conversation of Decolonization”: panel discussion on indigenous curatorial perspectives, Doris Duke Theatre, 1-3 p.m. Friday. Free with RSVP (honolulumuseum.org/events).

>> Opening Party – Mischievous Merriment: The Hub, 5-10 p.m. Friday, $15-$20 (eventbrite.com)

>> Symposium – Day 1, The Hub, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. March 9, free with RSVP (tickets.honoluluboxoffice.com)

>> SaVAge K’lub Headquarters Open Studio: Acti.va.tions, interactive open studio, Chinatown, 12-6 p.m. Saturday. Free with RSVP (tickets.honoluluboxoffice.com)

>> SaVAge K’lub Headquarters: Tautai Mixer, mixer with Oceania artists, Chinatown, 6-8 p.m. Saturday. Free with RSVP (tickets.honoluluboxoffice.com)

>> Symposium – Day 2, The Hub, 11:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Sunday. Free with RSVP (tickets.honoluluboxoffice.com)

EXHIBITS

>> The Hub, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday

>> Aliiolani Hale, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday

>> Bishop Museum, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

>> 1111 Nuuanu Ave., hours vary

>> Foster Botanical Garden, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily

>> Hawaii State Art Museum, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

>> Honolulu Museum of Art, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday

>> John Young Museum of Art, University of Hawaii-Manoa, 12-4 p.m. Sunday-Friday

>> McCoy Pavilion, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday

>> YWCA Laniakea, 9 a.m.-6-30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday

TICKETS/ADMISSION

>> The Hub, daily admission, $7-$12

>> Hub Pass, $25 for two, unlimited admission March 8-May 5

>> Bishop Museum, $10.95-$24.95 daily

>> Foster Botanical Garden, $1-$5 daily

>> Honolulu Museum of Art, $10-$20 daily (ages 18 and under free)

>> All Access Pass to paid sites, $75

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Whale-watching Season in Hawaii

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, February 22, 2019

Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company, February 22, 2019

The warm and shallow waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands are a favorite destination for kohola, or humpback whales. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population return to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young. They race more than 3,000 miles from the Gulf of Alaska to Hawaii.

The whale watching season is usually under way by mid-December and lasts until April or May, with the ideal months for watching typically being February and March. While whale watching is ideal on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai islands, humpback whales can be seen on Oahu from the shoreline of Waikiki, Makapuu Lighthouse, and along the seaside overlooks near Diamond Head.

Recently, my social media manager was able to encounter a mother whale and her calf off of the shores of Diamond Head during sunset, as shown in the photo above and in this video here. The crew was sailing, when they were startled by the sound of a whale spouting water. To their happy surprise, the mother whale and her calf were peacefully swimming about 100 feet from their boat. The captain observed their behavior to ensure no signs of distress or defensiveness. When no such behavior was observed, it was determined safe for the crew to remain where it was. The whales continued on their way, spouting water about two more times before swimming farther away. The observation was a fleeting, but beautiful and memorable moment. Witnessing these majestic creatures takes a lot of patience and respect, as well.

If you can't spot them from the shore, boat tours would be your best shot at getting closer to them. Luckily, there are many boat operators on Oahu that host whale watching tours. A few choices are listed below:

Whale-watching is truly an unforgettable experience that we highly recommend anyone in Hawaii do during the season!

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Home prices on Oahu rise 4% over last 12 months, Locations report says

Photo property of Jack Tyrrell and Company

Photo property of Jack Tyrrell and Company

Over the last 12 months ending in January 2019, prices for condominiums rose by 2 percent, signalizing a slowly stabilizing market. Read more from Pacific Business News, below:

The median price of a single-family home on Oahu over the 12 months ending in January increased by 4 percent, compared to the previous 12-month period, while the median price of a condominium rose by 2 percent, reflecting prices that have stabilized, according to a report from the Honolulu residential real estate firm Locations. 

The median price of a single-family home during the 12-month period from Feb. 1, 2018 until Jan. 31 was $790,000, while the median condo price for the same period was $420,000, Locations said.  

Sales, however, declined during that period, by 9 percent for single-family homes and by 4 percent for condos. 

“When assessing the real estate market, it’s important to consider the long view, as monthly data alone can be misleading,” Locations President Scott Higashi said in a statement. “Over the past 12 months, median prices have stabilized, and inventory has increased in most Oahu neighborhoods.” 

Higashi noted that prospective buyers should act now since interest rates, which are at the lowest point in 10 months, are expected to rise this year. 

For the month of January, Locations reports 250 sales of single-family homes, a 4 percent decrease from the same month last year, while the median price was $768,000, a 2 percent decline. For condos, Locations reports a 15 percent drop in the number of sales to 327 units sold, while the median condo price fell 9 percent to $399,000.

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