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“Behold Laie”…from above with HRI 2016 Calendar

…and Mele Kalikimaka!

Since the mid-nineties, Hawaii Reserves, Inc., has published and distributed a free calendar that highlights some unique aspect of our wonderful community.

The HRI 2016 calendar – “Behold Laie . . . from above” – features a stunning array of aerial photos that depict the natural beauty of our special community.

Eric Beaver, president of HRI, said, “These photos of our town from the skies provide another way to cherish and, in the words of the popular song, ‘Behold Laie.’ They also remind us that we are indeed blessed to live and work here.”

Contributing photographers include Cameron Brooks, Jack Baxter and Jordan Niutupuivaha.

Beaver remarked, “As we look forward to 2016, we express our gratitude and thank each of you for being our neighbors, friends and Laie family.”

The HRI calendar will soon be available and hand delivered to homes throughout Laie.  Non-residents interested in a copy of the calendar may call HRI at (808) 293-9201

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



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Last Historical Vignette: Social Life in “Old Laie”

The year 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the LDS Church in Laie, and we have enjoyed celebrating the sesquicentennial over the past several months.


Part of the celebrations included reminiscing about the rich history of our beloved town through a series of historical vignettes, graciously authored by the Mormon Pacific Historical Society, and shared via this newsletter.

With this final installment in the series, we again express our appreciation to the MPHS for helping us to remember and honor Laie’s wonderful heritage.

Social Life in “Old Laie”

One might wonder what the residents of “old La’ie” did in their free time. The word “free” is a relative term, of course. To some people it means an opportunity to have fun. For others less lucky, it was interpreted as time for the children to help mom and dad work in the family taro lo’i (patch)!

Of course, La’ie has always been near the beach. Since time immemorial, the ocean has not only provided La’ie with food, but also recreation on occasion. Besides the beach, however, how did people in La’ie socialize and have a good time?

In the earliest days, as one might expect, there was little leisure time, but as the community grew and became more stable and successful, leisure opportunities increased. Laie Social Hall_ circa 1915  _Courtesy Church History Library__ A historical marker was installed in 2006 noting the location on Loala Street

Laie Social Hall, circa 1915 (Courtesy Church History Library) A historical marker was installed in 2006 noting the location on Loala Street

Religious and cultural holidays provided occasions for sports competitions and feasts. Such events were either held outdoors or at various homes. Seeing a need, Samuel Woolley, then head of the La’ie Plantation, built a social hall for the community in 1913.

The La’ie Social Hall became the site for dances, celebrations, parties, movies, musical events, and various other church-sponsored activities. These activities were attended not only by the LDS members of the community, but also by the Chinese and Japanese families who leased land behind the temple and grew rice and pineapple respectively. When the Kahuku Plantation established labor camps in La’ie, these families (Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Japanese) also attended many of the activities.

Pleasures were much simpler in the old days. Marbles were a cheap form of entertainment. The late Aunty Donette (Ah Puck) Kekauoha recalled playing “kani kani wall”. Each boy or girl would throw their marble against a wall and watch it bounce back.

Each succeeding player tried to throw their marble against the wall hoping to land within a handspan of someone else’s and claim it. Team sports, like basketball, were played with teams being formed according to what section or “apana” of La’ie you lived in.

Laie Plantation Store_ also known as Goo_s Store _Courtesy BYU-Hawaii Archives__ A historical marker was installed in 2005 noting the location at the corner of Lanihuli and Naniloa Loop

Laie Plantation Store, also known as Goo’s Store (Courtesy BYU-Hawaii Archives) A historical marker was installed in 2005 noting the location at the corner of Lanihuli Street and Naniloa Loop

A spare nickel might provide for a snack at one of several snack shops that existed in La’ie at various times, as well as several small stores, one of which — Sam’s Store — still exists. These small outlets were places to meet friends, get a soda pop, a pake cake or two, and a few sweets (no different today!).

Prior to the La’ie Shopping Center, there was no movie theatre in La’ie, but there was a theatre in Kahuku that ran until the early 70′s. Seating was primitive, and when someone yelled “centipede!” everyone quickly lifted their feet off the ground until danger had passed.

Leisure time was also spent swimming in the Beauty Hole, an underground cavern discovered in the 1920′s (near present day Laieloa Bridge along Kamehameha Highway). Many of La’ie’s children learned how to swim there before being allowed to go to the beach. Children often went there after school to swim with friends and occasionally dive for coins that tourists would throw into the water.

Laie_s Beauty Hole_ circa 1920s _Courtesy BYU-Hawaii Archives_

Laie’s Beauty Hole, circa 1920s (Courtesy BYU-Hawaii Archives)

During various seasons, children often walked into the foothills to pick fruits (especially mangos). A few “brave” souls even found time to rustle a watermelon or two from the watermelon patches in the darkness of night!

We live in the 21st Century now, but leisure time is not spent much differently. We have our own theatre of course, and many eateries, in the shopping center. La’ie Park is the scene of constant activity, our beaches fill up each day, ward camps fill the summer months with fond memories, and the bus can take you anywhere you like.


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Laie Gas Station Opens Tomorrow, Community Celebrates 150th

The Foodland Gas Station Laie opens tomorrow!

The attached convenience store is being stocked today in preparation for a blessing at 9 a.m., with the official opening to follow. Refreshments, including coco-rice and bread, will be provided by Tita’s Grill!

The convenience store will offer cold drinks, ice, snacks, grab-and-go meals, and basic essentials.
The new Foodland station will sell five grades of fuel under the Aloha Petroleum brand: Regular, Plus, Super, Ethanol-Free and Diesel.

Construction barricades are being removed today as the station prepares for its first customers.

We hope to see you there tomorrow for the grand opening!

Community Celebrates Sesquicentennial

The major events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the LDS Church in Laie were marvelous!

Several hundreds of local Ko’olauloa residents, and family and friends who traveled from afar, participated in the historic celebrations.

As mentioned in our last newsletter, the culminating celebratory events included a Devotional with Elder D. Todd Christofferson; the Hawaii Reserves, Inc., Annual Bash at the Laie Shopping Center; a huge parade throughout Laie hosted by the Laie Community Association; and the “Behold Laie” Youth Pageant.

The sesquicentennial celebrations provided a wonderful way for our community to honor the past and remember those who created a rich heritage for all of us, including our keiki.

For more about the sesquicentennial, please go the Laie150th website, or click on the links below.

Laie 150th Devotional
Youth Pageant & Laie Parade (from Deseret News)

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Celebration Bash on Friday, Parade & Pageant on Saturday!

Events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the LDS Church in Laie culminate this weekend!
Join us tomorrow at 6 p.m. for the Celebration Bash at the Laie Shopping Center, and enjoy:
  • Good food
  • Free ‘Extreme Fun’ rides and activities
  • Live entertainment, including Da Bruddahs, Vaihi, Touch of Gold, and other local favorites
Fun rides at the HRI _ Laie Shopping Center Bash
Free rides at the HRI / Laie Shopping Center Bash
Sponsored annually by Hawaii Reserves, Inc., and the shopping center, this year’s bash will help celebrate the sesquicentennial with the singing of “Happy Birthday” to the LDS Church in Laie.
Then join us for a Community Parade and the Behold Laie” youth pageant on Saturday.
The parade will start at 9 a.m., is being hosted by the Laie Community Association, and will take place on portions of Naniloa Loop, Hale La’a Boulevard, and Kulanui Street. (Note that some sections of these streets may be temporarily closed or restricted during the parade.)
Residents enjoy the parade in Laie
Residents enjoy the parade in Laie
Come participate in the balloon release at the Hale La’a big circle and along the parade route to celebrate the 150th anniversary!
Later that afternoon the “Behold Laie” youth pageant will have two performances in the BYU-Hawaii Cannon Activities Center, at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
Hundreds of youth from the LDS community stakes in and around Laie will take you on a journey through the history of this special place. The pageant is a ticketed event and BYU-Hawaii will live-stream this event over the Internet at http://flash.byuh.edu/live.html
Youth participate in April 2014 pageant
Youth participate in April 2014 pageant
For more info about these wonderful celebration events and others, please go to the Laie150.org website.
We look forward to seeing you this weekend at the celebrations!

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“Labor Missionaries, Part 2″ Historical Vignette

As we continue to prepare for the main celebration events for the 150th anniversary of the LDS Church in Laie, we feature below another installment in a series of stories about the rich history of our beloved town.
We encourage everyone to check out the schedule of upcoming celebration events on the Laie150.org website.
We express our appreciation to the Mormon Pacific Historical Society which has graciously authored these historical vignettes to help us remember and honor our wonderful heritage.
Labor Missionaries, Part 2
When David O. McKay visited Hawaii during a 3-year tour of the missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world, he witnessed a flag-raising ceremony at the Laie Elementary School. He was then a member of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and was impressed by the mixture of races and ethnic groups united in learning. At that time he envisioned a school of higher learning in the community.
Elder McKay never forgot that impression and as early as 1949, committees were formed to examine the possibilities. A few years later when McKay became the president of the Church, he wasted little time in establishing a college in Laie. He asked that the school begin in temporary quarters (army barracks) while a permanent campus was built.
A Labor Missionary program was begun in Hawaii and men from around the Hawaiian Islands were called to serve. They reported like any other missionary to the mission home in Honolulu and were set apart by mission president, D. Arthur Haycock. Tom Kaleo of Hauula was the very first labor missionary in this era and altogether there were over 150. They worked, ate and lived together in a couple of old buildings where Pat’s at Punaluu and Hanohano Hale are now. All but a handful have gone on to their reward in Heaven.
As early as 1947, Elder Matthew Cowley of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles began publicly sharing his vision of small villages or marae where Polynesian Saints could stay when they came to the temple in Laie. He had seen the small Samoan village a block from the temple built by the Fonoimoana family. His thoughts, together with the growing need for a place of employment for foreign students, convinced the Church to accept a proposal put forward by President Edward Clissold, Manager of Zion’s Securities, to build the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Some of Laie_s _second wave_ of labor missionaries
Some of Laie’s “second wave” of labor missionaries
Once again labor missionaries were called to serve (for more about the first group labor missionaries in Laie, please see our last newsletter). This time in addition to local young men, a number of men from New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga were called. Many of these men already had experience as labor missionaries in their own countries, building chapels and schools.
This “second wave” of labor missionaries accomplished much during the three years they labored under the general direction of supervisor Joseph Wilson. In addition to building the PCC, they greatly expanded the Temple complex, the Visitors’ Center, built four new dormitories, several homes on Lanihuli Place, and a number of chapels around the islands, including the Laie Stake Center, and chapels in Waialua, Kalihi, and Hauula (Kai).
Former labor missionaries at a reunion in 2005
Former labor missionaries at a reunion in 2005
When the main structures were in place at PCC, cultural specialists from each island group were called on missions to see that the construction of the villages, and the teaching of cultural practices, was accurate and appropriately taught to the young students at the Church College of Hawaii. Many of these missionaries later became employees of the PCC.
Labor missionaries at PCC_ early 1960s
Labor missionaries at PCC, early 1960s
Today we still find labor missionaries in our community.  Some are working as service missionaries for PCC in various capacities: Gateway greeters, electricians, welders, seamstresses, safety officers, and Hawaii Mission Settlement organists, to mention just a few. Others work as educational missionaries at BYU-Hawaii teaching classes, tutoring, and counseling. Up until around the year 2000, labor missionaries contributed their unique knowledge and skills to the work of land management company, Hawaii Reserves, Inc.
Present-day Church service missionaries
Present-day Church service missionaries
For 150 years now, many have been blessed by lovely Laie. To this special community have gathered persecuted Saints, temple patrons, visitors, university students and . . . missionaries who have labored for our benefit, with “little in return” except for our gratitude, enduring memories, and the blessings of an all-knowing Heavenly Father.
- The Mormon Pacific Historical Society

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