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6th Annual Tsunami Story Festival

"Living the Good Life in Waiākea"

May 18, 2008 at Sangha Hall, Hilo, Hawai'i

On Sunday, May 18, the Pacific Tsunami Museum's 6th Annual Story Festival took place at the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Sangha Hall (photo on right with Pacific Tsunami Museum's President of the Board Jim Wilson). The program featured the lives of ten individuals who lived in Waiākea Town before the 1960 tsunami. The storytellers were Kathy "Tita" Collins and Chris Harrison (shown below). A slide show accompanied the readings, showing what life was like growing up in idyllic Waiākea Town.
Jim Wilson 6th Annual Tsunami Story festival  

The Story Festival is a special event sponsored by the Pacific Tsunami Museum that features our tsunami history and especially the stories of Hilo, the city by the bay that has been transformed so dramatically over the last century by the devastating tsunamis of 1946 and 1960. In telling these stories, we not only keep our history alive, we also impart invaluable tsunami education and awareness that is the mission of the Pacific Tsunami Museum and the purpose of the annual event.
Kathy "Tita" Collins Chris Harrison  

The 2008 Story Festival focused on the wonders of the Waiākea peninsula... "the most wonderful place in the world to grow up", a sentiment echoed every time you meet someone who grew up on that fabled peninsula that most of us now refer to as Banyan Drive.

Once upon a time there was a town on the Waiākea peninsula that at its peak in the 1950's had a population of approximately 5,000 people living within ten square miles. In its heyday, children attended Waiākea Ele- mentary School and there were about forty businesses in operation, some like Cafe 100 that have survived to this day.

Cafe 100 in its first location. PTM Gloria Miyashiro Kobayashi Collection


Waiakea Peninsula 1956. PTM Howard Pierce Collection

Waiakea Town pre-1946. PTM Futoshi Okamura Collection
"Living the Good Life in Waiākea" celebrated the lives of ten individuals who represent a cross section of people who grew up in Waiākea Town. The dinner was prepared and served by Sadao and Annie Aoki and Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin members. Desserts were furnished by the Alpha Delta Kappa Society of Hilo. The blessing was given by Reverend Thomas Olcott.

Photos of our Waiākea Town interviewees

Sam Bishaw

Lilinoe KeliipioYoung

Nora Nabeta

Grace Carter

James Correa

Jan Mikami


Ted Sakai


Gloria Kobayashi


Richard Nakamura


Karen Umeda


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Last Revised July 2010