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Organizational History and Activities


Mālama Mānoa Milestones

The Beginnings of Mālama Mānoa (1991)

The catalyst for the creation of Mālama Mānoa was William J. ‘Bill’ Murtagh, PhD, nationally renowned historic preservation authority and the first Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places in Washington DC. Dr. Murtagh established the Historic Preservation graduate program in the Department of American Studies at UH Mānoa in 1986, and came to Hawai`i to teach for one semester each year.

He had become friends with Sam and Mary Cooke and on one of his visits, at dinner one evening, Mary was bemoaning the demolition of an attractive historic house at East Mānoa Road and Kolowalu Street which was replaced by an ‘ugly box’. Bill told her that, "unless you do something, more of that will keep happening." She asked Bill if he would speak about the value of historic preservation at the Mānoa Neighborhood Board meeting. He did so and told the Board what a treasure the historic homes of Mānoa were, but compared them to a string of pearls -- when one pearl is lost from a beautiful string of pearls, the beauty is lessened because of it, and it continues to decline as each pearl is lost. He urged that efforts be made to recognize and preserve Mānoa‘s historic houses. This was the impetus, with Bill’s encouragement and Mary’s enthusiasm, that led directly to the formation of Mālama Mānoa.

Bill served as an honored Advisor to Mālama Mānoa from its founding until his death in 2018 at age 95. His New York Times obituary called him “The Lion of Historic Preservation,” and The Washington Post referred to him as “The ‘Pied Piper’ of American Historic Preservation.”

Founding and Organization (1992)

What became Mālama o Mānoa (MoM) first began in January 1992 as the informal Mānoa Historic Preservation Committee at a Mānoa Neighborhood Board meeting. It was soon decided to establish a formal organization and an organizing meeting was held and a board of directors formed. At one of the early meetings, in September 1992, the name Mālama o Mānoa was adopted (meaning “to care for Mānoa”). The Charter of Incorporation as a non-profit corporation in the State of Hawai`i was granted in December 1992. The IRS approved MoM as a 501(c)3 non-profit tax-exempt organization in 1993. Mary M. Cooke was elected the first president. As her “partner in crime” (as she put it), she enlisted Helen Nakano, who became vice-president. Founding directors in 1992, besides Mary and Helen, were Gerald Honda (treasurer), Linda Legrande (secretary), Lowell Angell, Tom Heinrich, Vi Hiranaka, Agnes Hirotsu, John McLaren, Chuck Pearson, and Bertha Ueoka. The initial mission statement of MoM was to “preserve, protect, and enhance the special qualities of historic Mānoa Valley.” It was soon expanded to include “promote community; and celebrate our cultural diversity and heritage.”

In 2011, the name of the organization was changed to Mālama Mānoa (MM) to more accurately reflect Hawaiian language usage.


The organization has been led by Mary Cooke (1992-1996), Helen Nakano (1997-1998), Kozen Kaneshiro (1999-2000), Barbara Lowe (2001-2002), Jeremy Lam (2003-2004), Chuck Pearson (2005-2006), Scott Wilson (2007-2008), Eric DeCarlo (2009-2010), Kim Ku‘ulei Birnie (2011), Pat Chung (2012-2013), Joyce Arizumi (2014), Eliza Lathrop (2015-2017), Thalya DeMott (2018-2020), and Linda Legrande (2021 - present).

Membership (1992 - Present)

Starting with 37 people who attended the first meeting, active recruitment of new members, with tables set up at Mānoa Marketplace, resulted in more than 600 members in the first three months. There are now more than 4,000 registered members. Membership, while primarily aimed at residents of Mānoa, is currently open at no charge to anyone who supports the mission of MM.

Membership Meetings (1992 - Present)

Regular membership meetings are held at various locations, usually twice a year, featuring speakers and programs of wide interest.

Members are also welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the Board of Directors, usually held on the second Wednesday, at various locations.

Community Fellowship (1992 - Present)

MM produced several 'Ohana Nights, a combination of fellowship, fun, a showcase for local talent, and a fundraiser with special bentos and a country store.

A holiday party to thank volunteers for their contributions is held every year at various places. Past events have been at Kuali‘i (Cooke family home), Mānoa Valley Theatre, College Hill (UH President's home), Noelani School, and St. Francis School, among other venues.

In 2008, a Laulima reception to bring the community together took place at College Hill, as guests of UH President David McClain and wife Wendie. Organizations present included Boy Scout Troops 33 and 35, East Mānoa Lions, Lin Yee Chung Association/ Mānoa Chinese Cemetery, Lyon Arboretum, Mānoa Valley District Park, Mānoa Elementary School, Mānoa Heritage Center, Mānoa Marketplace, Mānoa Neighborhood Board, Mānoa Valley Theatre, Mid-Pacific Institute, and Mo'ili'ili Community Center.

Community Service and Activities (1992 - Present)

Since 1992, MM has participated in the East Mānoa Lions Club Christmas Parade in the Valley.


In November 1993, MM organized over 100 volunteers from various Mānoa groups to clean and paint the Mānoa Valley Recreation Center meeting rooms and furniture. A cleanup of graffiti took place in 1995, with periodic patrols since then.

In 1995, a newcomers welcome reception at Wai`oli Tea Room was organized, with representatives from other Mānoa groups joining in to welcome the new UH President and Mrs. Kenneth Mortimer and new Mānoa residents. 


In 2001, MM welcomed the new UH president, Dr. Evan Dobelle, his wife Kit and son Harry, at a special afternoon aloha reception.

In 2006, members participated in cleaning the Kawaiaha`o Church cemetery at Mānoa Valley Theatre.


In July 2013, MM members volunteered at Ka Papa Lo'i o Kanewai, run by the UH School of Hawaiian Studies.

The Kawaiaha`o Mānoa cemetery was again cleaned in October 2013 by volunteers from MM, Mānoa Valley Church and families of some of the kūpuna buried there. After a mahalo dinner, volunteers enjoyed storytelling in the adjacent Mānoa Valley Theatre, coordinated by Marian Lyman-Mersereau.

In August 2019, MM members joined by The Outdoor Circle and Boy Scout Troup 82 and UH volunteers helped replant a hedge fronting College Hill, the UH president’s home. 200 new mock orange plants were put in. Lunch and refreshments were provided by City Council member Ann Kobayashi.

In December 2016, MM and library volunteers participated in a workday at Mānoa Public Library, pulling weeds, grass and invasive species and spreading mulch to clean and beautify the grounds.

Newsletter and Website (1993 - Present)

The MM Newsletter was first published in March 1993. Originally issued quarterly, it is currently published twice a year. The newsletter has been the primary means of communicating with residents of Mānoa Valley, members and non-members, about our programs and activities.


In June 1996, MM established its website at http://www.malamaomā

Historic Homes Survey (1993)

A survey of historic homes in Mānoa, 50 or more years old, first conducted by the Junior League of Honolulu in 1978-80, was updated and expanded by MM. Survey teams canvassed the Valley and after doing visual fieldwork from the street and taking photographs (sometimes known as a “windshield survey”), the teams documented the architectural descriptions. Volunteers received instruction in describing architectural styles and details. Director Agnes Hirotsu coordinated assistance with this project by Hui o Mānoa, a senior citizen group.

A color-coded map of the Valley’s houses by decade built was then prepared and is valuable in showing the historical development of the Valley.

This survey of more than 500 homes is an invaluable record of Mānoa’s architecture and built history.

Kūpuna Recognitions (1993 - Present)

Starting in 1993, kūpuna celebrations were held bi-annually to honor Mānoa residents who have lived in the Valley for more than 50 years and are at least 65 years old. The first event was at Wai`oli Tea Room and honored Bea Krauss.

The dinner or lunch gatherings have featured lei for the kūpuna, music, a buffet meal, and entertainment focusing on the contributions of kūpuna to the Mānoa community.


In recent years, attendance was 50 to 70 kūpuna, plus 60 to 80 of their family members and friends. In 2013, MM decided to have these celebrations every three years. At the luncheon in 2015, three speakers ‘talked story’ about three outstanding kūpuna: Amelia Ana Kaopua Bailey, 4


David ‘Pop’ Eldredge II, and retired Hawai‘i Supreme Court Justice William S. Richardson.

Oral History Project (1993 - Present)

Oral history interviews, under Joan Dempster’s leadership, were recorded with longtime Mānoa residents Charles Arizumi, Beatrice Krauss, Noboru Oda and others.

In 2018, Harry Spiegelberg and Lowell Angell revitalized the committee. Interviews have been conducted to date with Mary Cooke and Helen Nakano, George Arizumi, Mona Teves, Ann Kobayashi, Tom Heinrich, and others. More than 55 interview transcriptions are on the MM website.

Book Publication – Mānoa, The Story of a Valley (1993 - 1994)

A group of more than a dozen longtime Mānoa residents met regularly for 16 years to compile a history of Mānoa Valley. Author and storyteller Glen Grant served as editor to guide this first comprehensive history of our kama‘āina community so it could be published.

In 1994, MM president Mary Cooke and director/publication chair Lowell Angell met with Mutual Publishing CEO Bennett Hymer to express Mālama’s interest in promoting and selling the book. Hymer invited MM to formally sponsor the book’s publication, have input in its cover design and editorial pages, and to exclusively sell it. We agreed to do so.

To fund publication, MM established various sponsor and donor levels, with names to be listed in the book. Major sponsors were Leburta and Alexander Atherton, Bank of Hawai`i, Henry B. Clark, Jr., Mānoa Shopping Center, and Marti and Dwayne Steele.

Major donors were Lori and Charley Arizumi, Mary and Sam Cooke, Margie and Mike Durant, Nicholas and Alex Kawakami (Mānoa grandsons of Edith and Keiji), Dee and Jim Lawrence, Elizabeth L. and Peter A. Lee Foundation, Louise and Y.T. Lum Foundation, Molly Moore, Arlene Kanemoto Skillman, Julie and J.D. Watumull, and Kitty and Buzz Wo.

Approximately $50,000 was thus raised, which covered the cost of the book’s publication.

The initial printing of 4,000 copies was sold directly by MM, as well as by Longs Mānoa, Bank of Hawai`i Mānoa Branch, Costco and Borders Waikele, who each sold it as a community service at no cost to MM. The initial printing sold out, as did an additional 4,000 copies. The total net sales proceeds were well in excess of $100,000. A restricted endowment fund was established with the proceeds, with earnings to be used for grants relating to Mānoa Valley.

Educational Grants Program (1994 - Present)

As a result of the successful fundraising and sales effort for the book Mānoa, The Story of a Valley, a restricted Educational Endowment Fund was established to annually award grants relating to projects in keeping with the goals of MM. The first grant was awarded in 2000 to Punahou School’s Pu`u o Mānoa project coordinated by teacher Gail Peiterson.

Grants have been received St. Francis, Mid-Pacific and Mānoa Schools, Lyon Arboretum, Mō‘ili‘ili Community Center, Lo‘i Theatre, Hālau Kū Mana Charter School, Be Ready Mānoa, Mānoa Public Library, UH Mānoa, Boy Scout Troop 33, Mānoa Japanese Language School, Mānoa Valley Theatre, Mānoa Heritage Center, O‘hia Legacy Initiative, and the Atherton YMCA. All grant projects are in keeping with MM's goals of preservation and enhancement of our historic valley.

In 2016, the award recipients were: 1) Mānoa Heritage Center, to expand the Hawaiian garden surrounding the Visitor Education Hale. The garden featured both native and Polynesian-introduced plants. 2) The O‘hia Legacy Initiative, with a five-year goal to plant o‘hia trees at 50% of 5


Mānoa households (1,761 trees). The purpose is to increase the ecological diversity of the community. 3) University of Hawaii, led by Georgette Sakumoto and Brett Oppegaard, created a new and free mobile app about public art in Mānoa in 2015. They were awarded an additional grant to create more content for the app, including locations outside of the UH campus. 4) YMCA, Atherton branch, partnering with Kumuola Foundation, to start a farming program on 5.5 acres in the back of Mānoa Valley. Crops to be sold at the Mānoa farmer’s market, and community members are welcome to visit the farm and harvest what is needed. The goal is to make Mānoa a more self-sustainable community.

Mānoa Valley Special District Protection of Mānoa (1995 - 1996)

In 1995 and 1996, a series of workshops showed that community support was strong for protection of the tree-lined streets, period architecture, mountain vistas, and the quiet residential character of the valley. A Design Guidelines Committee, chaired by John Whalen, recommended the creation of a Mānoa Valley Special District by city ordinance, in order to establish zoning rules designed specifically for the unique features of Mānoa. The lack of a consensus among the residents led the Board of Directors to defer submission of the proposed ordinance.

Historic Preservation Conference Delegates (1995 - 2011)

Over the years, MM has sent one or two delegates to the annual National Trust for Historic Preservation conference held in various mainland cities. Board members attending have included Mary Cooke, Helen Nakano, Kozen Kaneshiro, Barbara Lowe, Beryl Blaich, Mike Durant, Joe Farber, George Arizumi, Thalya DeMott, Linda Legrande, Naomi Ohta, Aurora Fruehling, Scott Wilson, Kim Birnie, Jean Trapido-Rosenthal, Jan Tucker, Diane Ito, Mayumi Hara and Pat Chung.

Beginning in 1997, MM has often sent delegates to conferences, workshops and educational seminars hosted by the Historic Hawai`i Foundation.

Historic Homes Walking Tour (1996 - Present)

Mālama Mānoa’s first historic homes tour was held in 1996. Led by preservation architect Spencer Leineweber and director Lowell Angell, the walk featured the College Hills tract and was enjoyed by 66 participants. The tour was so successful that it was repeated in 1997.

In 1998, MM presented ‘Historic Homes of Mānoa’ in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Five home interiors were visited.

In 2000, a tour of the College Hills neighborhood was presented by MM as part of the Historic Hawaii Foundation’s annual conference. An enthusiastic 350 people toured the area and saw 66 homes.

In 2003, director Linda Legrande took over coordinating the walking tours for MM. The two-mile walk, with 62 homes, through lower Mānoa Valley included 27 properties listed on the Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places, and five of those properties were opened for tours. More than 400 people attended.

In 2005, another 400 participants walked a mile and half through College Hills on a tour of 23 homes, and were able to enter six homes listed on the State Register. UH President and Mrs. David McClain hosted refreshments at College Hill.

The 2007 tour was held on Mother's Day. More than 350 people explored the neighborhood of Mid-Pacific Institute, University Avenue, Armstrong Street, Mālama and Parker Places, and O`ahu Avenue. In addition to touring four historic homes, walkers were treated to numerous informative signs giving history of buildings and homes along the route.

In 2009, eight historic homes in the Pu‘u Pueo district of Ferdinand Street, ‘Awapuhi Street and Terrace Drive were opened to over 400 participants, again on Mother’s Day.

In 2011, the tour featured seven homes in the Pu‘u o Mānoa (Rocky Hill) neighborhood open for viewing. More than 700 people participated.

The 2013 tour highlighted homes on the slopes of ‘Ualaka‘a, part of the ancient agricultural district of Pāhao, which includes ‘Awapuhi, Ferdinand, Ventura, ‘Aleo and Sonoma Streets. Torrential rains could not prevent more than 400 participants from visiting the nine homes that were open for viewing.

In 2016, more than 650 people strolled through the College Hills neighborhood, Honolulu’s first “streetcar subdivision,” and enjoyed its many homes dating from the 1920s and 1930s. The interiors of nine homes were open.

The 2019 tour again featured the College Hills tract, and attracted nearly 400 participants who enjoyed seeing the interiors of seven historic houses, culminating in College Hill, formerly the 1902 Atherton home.

Leadership Workshops and Board Retreats (1996 - Present)

Leadership Workshops have been held on an occasional basis for directors, advisors, volunteers, and Mānoa community leaders. Board retreats have taken place in 2010 and 2016. These well organized retreats helped the board and advisors reflect on past efforts and continue defining how to implement MM’s mission in the years ahead.

Design Resource Brochure (1997)

In 1997, Joe Ferraro and the Design Guidelines committee prepared a design resource mailer. Two-thousand mailers were printed and distributed showing the different architectural styles of the homes in Mānoa Valley and giving suggestions for additions, renovations, new construction, and landscaping.

Opposition to Hawaiian Electric's 138 KV Line on Wa'ahila Ridge (1997 - 2002)

A coalition, Safe Power Action Network (SPAN), brought together several neighborhood, environmental and other groups from 1997-1999 who were concerned about Hawaiian Electric Company’s (HECO) proposed 138,000 volt transmission line on Wa‘ahila Ridge. In 1997, the National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Wa‘ahila Ridge for its "11 Most Endangered Historic Sites" list.

In 1998, a press conference in front of the Public Utilities Commission office, and a rally in front of the State Capitol helped to bring public attention to the issue. The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was rejected by the Dept. of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) in January 1999, requiring HECO to resubmit a draft EIS.

In 2001, MM organized a petition campaign in preparation for the Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) public hearing held on March 22 at the State Capitol. On November 1, MM joined with Life of the Land and The Outdoor Circle in a CDUA Contested Case Hearing. The final decision on HECO’s request to build the transmission line on Wa‘ahila Ridge, which is in a Conservation Zone, was made by the seven members of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, who voted to deny the permit in June 2002. 

Adopt-A-Stream Project (1998 - Present)

In 1998, MM was among the first organizations to "Adopt-a-Stream," a program of the City & County. MM’s portion extends from the Woodlawn Drive bridge near Longs Drugs up to the Kahaloa Street bridge near Mānoa Gardens at Mānoa Valley District Park. Volunteers clean the stream on a quarterly basis.

Historic Preservation Awareness Day (circa 2000 - 2011)

MM participated in the Hawai‘i Legislature’s annual forum with a booth display of its historic preservation projects and activities. The last year that the legislature sponsored this event was 2011.



Kahalaopuna Book and Wa'ahila CD Publication (2001)

In 2001, MM, along with award-winning author and illustrator James Rumford and Mānoa Press, produced the book, Kahalaopuna, The Beauty of Mānoa. The newest retelling of this classic Mānoa Valley legend was done to heighten awareness of the rich cultural significance of Wa‘ahila. The first printing included editions in both Hawaiian and English and a special gift set of both books in a cloth covered slipcase. A companion CD, “Wa‘ahila,” was produced by MPI Talent (Cathy Cooke & Mark Hee) to increase public awareness of the proposed transmission project and the rich historical and cultural significance of Wa‘ahila Ridge.

Fundraising Efforts (2001 - Present)

In 2001, under the leadership of Recording Secretary Pat Avery, an annual appeal was begun. The funds received are used to support MM projects, programs and activities. An average of 300 MM members have made contributions each year.

Kuleana Project (2003 - Present)

In 2003, MM, under Helen Nakano’s leadership, organized an educational program funded by a Honolulu Board of Water Supply grant of $76,850 to educate residents of the Mānoa watershed on ways to preserve and protect our water resources. Called “The Kuleana Project,” MM partnered with 25 teachers and over 950 students, ages 8 to 18, in 12 area schools to conduct surveys of household practices which impact the water quality of our streams and oceans.

In addition, MM produced a video DVD, “Ka Wai o Mānoa,” which was mailed to 5,000 households in the Valley, conducted a valley-wide canvas to pass out BWS water conservation packets, stenciled “Don’t Dump, Goes to Ocean” signs on 400 storm drains in the Valley, hosted the City Watershed Model contest at the Mānoa Marketplace, conducted field trips to the Water Treatment and Recycling facilities at Honouliuli, and sponsored a “Give Us Your Idea” student writing contest.

During August-October 2004, MM partnered with six schools, 950 students and 38 teachers to conduct a Water Warrior Challenge. Altogether 1,404 people pledged to protect the environment. On October 23, Make-A-Difference Day, MM sponsored a Kuleana Eco-Fair. Events included 40 information and testing booths. 1,000 people participated.

In 2004, MM received an Environmental Award for Outstanding Achievement from Region IX of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for this project.

A 136-page guidebook for conducting a watershed outreach campaign, “Water Warriors,” was written and distributed in June 2005. 


In 2006, students of the Hawaiian charter school Hālau Kū Mana conducted the Kuleana survey with their parents and made a presentation at their annual `ohana event.

1000 Tree Giveaway (2004 - Present)

In 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, MM organized "1000 Tree Giveaway" events at the Mānoa Valley District Park. In 2016, and again in 2019, MM co-sponsored this popular event with the Outdoor Circle, Mānoa Branch. Under the leadership of Jeremy Lam, trees grown by volunteers have been distributed to residents from all over O`ahu. At every event more than 1,000 trees are distributed. Trees not only help to make communities beautiful, cool and comfortable, but also improve the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide. MM now supports and assists in the project with the Mānoa branch of The Outdoor Circle, which has assumed responsibility for the 1000 Tree Giveaway.

"Live Green and Save" Eco-Fair (2007)

In October 2007, with the sponsorship assistance of Hawaiian Electric Company, MM hosted an Eco-Fair focused on how individuals can use new products and techniques for building, gardening, heating and cooling, and driving, all with the goal of lowering expenses and living greener lives. The fair featured approximately 40 product booths, educational games for children, and entertainment. There was also a forum on living green led by a panel of experts, and a tour of Duane Preble’s "green" home located in Mānoa. MM also produced and sold 5,000 reusable eco-totes. Approximately 2,000 people attended this event.

Environmental Endowment Fund (2007)

In 2007, MM established a special endowment fund to specifically support efforts to preserve the distinctive environmental, ecological and cultural heritage of Mānoa Valley. The nucleus of this fund is the balance remaining from the successful effort to defeat the proposal to erect the 138 kV transmission line on Wa‘ahila Ridge.

The purposes of the fund include educating the public on environmental and cultural issues; encouraging the prudent management of public properties, natural resources, and native flora and fauna; communicating the importance of preserving historic and cultural resources, in order to preserve the essential and historic character of the built environment in Mānoa Valley; and supporting the MM Newsletter as the principal organ for maintaining communications in support of the above purposes.

Visioning (2007 - 2008)

The Visualization Committee, led by Scott Wilson, prepared a series of photo simulations showing suggested improvements to Mānoa’s commercial district and residential areas.

Wahi Pana O Mānoa, Storied Places of Mānoa (2007 - Present)

This fascinating series of informative articles in the MM newsletter by Kim Ku`ulei Birnie explores the history and stories of a place, district, street name, heiau, building, or archaeological feature in the Valley. They are a valuable part of MM’s efforts to help educate residents about Mānoa.


Strategic Planning (2008 - Present)

In 2008, MM received a $5,000 grant from Hawai`i Community Foundation for strategic planning. The planning process during 2009 included interviews with community stakeholders, a Board retreat, and a presentation to the public at the MM General Meeting. Based on meeting feedback, the plan was finalized early in 2010. The key areas of emphasis were stewardship of Mānoa’s physical environment, cultivation of the social environment and attention to MM’s assets and resources. Core values and guiding principals were defined as kuleana (responsibility), mālama (protecting and serving), laulima (cooperation) and pono (righteousness). The plan will be updated as needed.

Saving Mānoa Marketplace Mokeypod Trees (2017 - 2018)

Alexander and Baldwin Inc., owners of Mānoa Marketplace since 2016, planned to remove seven of the giant 40-year old canopy trees in the makai parking lot and relocate two more because the surface roots were causing a tripping hazard. They also wanted to make more room for parking. After witnessing strong reaction to their presentation at the Mānoa Neighborhood Board meeting, they agreed to delay the project and solicit community input. The Outdoor Circle helped publicize the situation and Neil Bond and The Mānoa Alliance created an online petition which resulted in almost 20,000 signatures. MM’s Board voted unanimously against removal of any trees. These groups, elected officials, and many concerned residents joined together with A&B to explore various alternatives.

Ultimately A&B decided to create large planters around the trees and reconfigure the parking lot. By doing so, they saved the trees and were able to add new parking stalls. Just one tree, which was blocking a storm drain, was moved to a nearby location. The trees were carefully pruned and are now better than ever. Thanks to A&B’s willingness to work with the Mānoa community, this was a true “win-win” for all concerned.

Kamanele Park Project (2017 - Present)

Long a neglected treasure in the Valley, Kamānele Park began receiving some much deserved attention. MM joined with The Outdoor Circle in a project to research and document the historic park, dedicated in 1915 by Queen Lili’uokalani and Honolulu Mayor John Lane. The area was originally owned by Oahu College (Punahou School) and donated by them to the City for park use during development of the College Hills tract circa 1900.

Among the park’s most notable feature is a pyramid-shaped natural formation, identified on some early maps as a heiau. There are also walkways, stone terraces and a rock shelter. Archaeologists and historians pursued detailed research on the site, and groups of volunteers helped remove weeds and overgrown plants during more than 18 work sessions. The archaeologists confirmed that the site was a heiau used in pre-contact time for ceremonial, habitation and agricultural purposes. A historic preservation plan for the heiau site is being devised and decisions made regarding signage, pathways and maintenance.

City Council member Ann Kobayashi championed funding for the project, which allocated $150,000 for playground improvements at the park.

Regular volunteer cleanup efforts, organized by MM, take place on the hillside to remove and control weeds.


Mānoa History Guided Walks (2017)

MM Director and Punahou teacher Tai Crouch led interested residents on a series of four guided walks through Mānoa from April through July. Each explored a different aspect of the Valley’s history, including Lyon Arboretum, Pu`u Mānoa, Punahou School and Mānoa Park. In addition to telling the history of each place, Tai related special legends of the site and the Valley.

25th Anniversary Photo Contest (2017)

To celebrate MM’s silver anniversary in a unique way, the community was invited to capture in photographs their favorite moments and scenes in the Valley. The photo contest, Ku`u Mānoa, was open to both amateur and professional photographers, and young and old alike. Photo categories reflected what makes Mānoa special, including our kūpuna, historic character and cultural heritage, and natural environment. The 43 entries received were judged by a panel of community members, then displayed in the lobby of the Mānoa Public Library. The winners were recognized and awarded prizes at the MM general membership meeting in November.

Urban Garden Tours (2017-2018)

There was overwhelming interest and participation in two separate MM tours of Mānoa urban gardens. Among the tours, a Loomis Street garden featured vegetables and fruit, a beehive and a chicken coop with young chickens, while on Armstrong Street, the hilly terrain was no obstacle to re-purposing an old fishpond as an aquaponic garden. At Manoa Chinese Cemetery, tour members learned about Hawaiian medicinal plants, as well as fruit trees and staple foods that can be easily grown, and the garden on Ka`aipu Street showed that food and herbs, and even bees, can be tended in a small space.

Blue Zones Project Partnership (2019)

In 2019, MM became an official community partner of the Blue Zones Project, a national effort sponsored in Hawai`i by HMSA. Blue Zones is a community-led, well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy and social networks.



Lin Yee Chung Association – Proposed Housing Development (2021 - Present)

In 2021, the Lin Yee Chung Association (LYCA), non-profit owners of the historic Mānoa Chinese Cemetery, proposed developing a 288-unit affordable senior housing project on eight acres of preservation-zoned land along East Manoa Road, adjacent to the cemetery. Neighbors and Valley residents voiced many concerns about the scale and density of the project, traffic impact, and environmental issues. Much discussion, pro and con, ensued at three Mānoa Neighborhood Board meetings. MM took a neutral position calling for more discussion and answers to resident’s concerns. It joined with The Outdoor Circle and Councilman Calvin Say in co-sponsoring a Town Hall meeting on April 30, 2022, attended by more than 350 residents, many of whom testified about the project. All await further communication from LYCA.

'Cofabulous' Summit of Mānoa Stakeholders (2021 - Present)

MM partnered with 43 representatives from nearly two-dozen non-profit Mānoa organizations in December 2021 and shared their mission statements and discussed their needs and wants and what types of community service projects they would like to collaborate on. Chair Helen Nakano was thrilled at the synergy of the event. UH professors Dan Milz and Suwan Shen each organized student participation in their courses to support the summit’s activities.

Mālama Mānoa - Additional Endeavors and Achievements Community Partnerships (ongoing)

MM has been pleased over the years to partner with various other valued community organizations in a variety of efforts. Among them have been Mānoa Library, Mānoa Neighborhood Board #7, Mānoa Neighborhood Security Watch, Be Ready Mānoa, Historic Hawai`i Foundation, Mānoa Heritage Center, Lyon Arboretum, The Outdoor Circle, HI Good Neighbor, Mānoa Alliance, Mānoa Lions Club, Boy Scout Troop #1, Girl Scout Troup, Salvation Army/Wai`oli Tea Room, Lin Yee Chung/Mānoa Chinese Cemetery and Mānoa Valley Theatre. We have also enjoyed working with the various schools and churches in the Valley.

Grants Received (1996 - ongoing)

Grants have been received from the Cooke, Atherton, McInerny, Castle, Strong, and Gerbode Foundations for many different projects.

In 1996, MM received a $10,000 grant from the Strong Foundation to produce a colorful poster and voluntary design resource booklet for Valley residents describing Mānoa’s architectural styles and giving suggestions for additions, renovations, new construction and landscaping. (see DESIGN RESOURCE BROCHURE - 1997)

In 2003, MM organized a grassroots educational Kuleana Project funded by a Honolulu Board of Water Supply grant of $76,850 to educate residents of the Mānoa watershed on ways to preserve and protect our water resources. (see KULEANA PROJECT- 2003)

In 2007, the Hawaiian Electric Company became the corporate sponsor of MM's "Live Green and Save" Eco-Fair with a $10,000 grant. (see “LIVE GREEN AND SAVE” ECO-FAIR - 2007)

In 2008, MM received a $5,000 grant from Hawai`i Community Foundation for strategic planning. (see STRATEGIC PLANNING - 2008)

Awards and Recognition Received By Mālama Mānoa (1994 - Present)

In 1994, the Honolulu City Council honored MM with a certificate for outstanding leadership in community planning and preservation. Governor Cayetano issued a special Proclamation in February recognizing the organization for its community-building efforts and its role in the publication of Mānoa, The Story of a Valley.

1995 brought the Hawai`i Chapter, American Society of Interior Designers award for historic preservation; the Historic Hawai`i Foundation Preservation Commendation; the American Institute of Architects, Hawai`i Chapter Presidential Citation for promoting architectural awareness and appreciation.

Also in 1995, the American Association for State and Local History presented an award to MM for Mānoa, The Story of a Valley.

In July 2002, the Honolulu City Council presented MM with an Honor Certificate in recognition of their preservation efforts and community spirit.

In 2002-2003, the Historic Hawai`i Foundation presented MM with its Historic Preservation Honor Award, ‘as lead agency that created the first thematic district in Mānoa.’


In April 2004, MM won the prestigious 2004 Environmental Award for Outstanding Achievement for its Kuleana Project from the Region IX of the EPA, along with only two other groups from the state. Volunteers of the Kuleana Project also received recognition from the City and the State.

MM was honored with a certificate in 2009 by the City for organizing the popular 1000 Tree Giveaway project, spearheaded by Jeremy Lam.

In 2012, MM received a certificate from the City honoring and recognizing MM and the contributions of George Arizumi, Mary Cooke and Linda Legrande in celebration of twenty years of outstanding service to the community. George Arizumi was honored for his environmental protection efforts; Mary Cooke for her continued promotion and support of the community; and Linda Legrande for her tireless efforts in historic preservation. The certificate reads, in part: "Only through the leadership and tireless efforts of these individuals, Mālama Mānoa continues to serve as a shining example of highly effective community collaboration. Much to the benefit of all, Mālama Mānoa and their remarkable volunteer members continue to provide an invaluable service in allowing Mānoa Valley to remain one of our islands' finest communities.”

In 2015, MM received a Good Neighbor Award from the City & County for its continuing efforts at stream cleanup. And its long-standing participation in the City’s Adopt-a-Stream program.

In 2017, the Honolulu City Council recognized and honored MM on its 25th anniversary for Outstanding Service to the Community. Introduced by Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, past and present board members and advisors gathered at Honolulu Hale for the presentation.

Recognition Awards Given By Mālama Mānoa (2004 - Present)

MM presented Recognition Awards at the October 2004 General Membership meeting to four homeowners for their restoration of an existing home or construction of a new home reflecting a traditional style of Hawaiian architecture. Also recognized was landscaping featuring Hawaiian plants and lava-rock walls.

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