03 Apr KBRA Names Gayle Miyaguchi ‘Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali’
Gayle Miyaguchi, Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel’s Hawaiian Culture Resource Specialist, has been named by the Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association as “Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali.” Miyaguchi is one of 10 “shining stars” who act as ambassadors of KBRA’s public relations campaign. The campaign aims to highlight Kā‘anapali’s best and brightest individuals and share their stories with media, thereby increasing the public’s understanding and interest in this dynamic area.
Miyaguchi grew up in Makawao and spent her childhood years on the family farm in Kula. With this deep background in agriculture, and especially through successful methods of growing ipu (gourds), she was able to create Nā Kani ‘O Hula, a business which handcrafts hula implements. Her many years as a hula dancer under Kumu Hula Hokulani Holt-Padilla in Halau Hula Pa‘u ‘O Hi‘iaka gave Miyaguchi an understanding of how each instrument was used. For 23 years, Miyaguchi provided hula dancers throughout Hawai‘i and worldwide with their hula instruments and Hawaiian crafts, produced from her farm in Kula.
Miyaguchi now shares this unique gift with guests at Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel (KBH), helping them to create one-of-a-kind instruments like the pūʻohe, bamboo trumpet, which guests learn to make, play and then take home with them! Another favorite instrument to create is‘uli’uli (Hawaiian feathered gourd rattle). Miyaguchi says that the opportunity to breathe life into ideas, projects and activities is her favorite part of her job, to see the appreciation and pride in the faces of those who completed an activity.
In addition to her work at KBH, Miyaguchi offers occasional workshops, such as a February demonstration at the Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao. As part of the “Art with Aloha” program, Miyaguchi is conducting a talk story and demonstration about crafting hula implements, along with two ‘uli’uli workshops.
She continues to run her small Kula farm, raising asparagus, flowers, fruits and plants. She has five kids and six grandkids, plus dogs, cat and hens. In her free time, Miyaguchi can be found surfing Maui’s clear, clean ocean, or (her favorite!) enjoying Salmon Benedict at KBH’s Tiki Terrace Restaurant.
Miyaguchi lives by the philosophy “kokua aku, kokua mai,” which basically means to treat others the way you want to be treated. The saying is a Code of Conduct at KBH, where everyone from hotel management to hoʻokipa (hospitality) staff takes immense pride in nurturing and perpetuating the rich culture of the Hawaiian Islands.
KBH is recognized as “Hawaiʻi‘s Most Hawaiian Hotel” by the Waiaha Foundation, with an extensive Poʻokela (excellence) program in practice that includes topics such as Hawaiian geography, religion, mythology, economics, technology and the native Hawaiian diet. Staff receive a wealth of cultural training, including ʻukulele and hula classes, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) lessons and a deep understanding of our islands’ history and sense of place.
When she came on board as Hawaiian Culture Resource Specialist in 2017, Miyaguchi brought many new, exciting ideas to KBH’s team of cultural experts. “Through her cultural expertise, Gayle is able to give visitors to Kā‘anapali not only a beautiful craft that they made with their own hands, but a lasting memory and understanding of their connection with the Hawaiian culture,” says KBRA Executive Director Shelley Kekuna. “We are very proud to name Gayle as one of our ‘Na Hoku’ of Kā‘anapali.’”
Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali embody several essential qualities: they are well-respected in the Kā‘anapali community; they are 100-percent committed to serving the area; and they are at the top of their game in their professional fields. They are also fascinating individuals with unique interests—and their respect for Hawaiian culture runs deep.
Throughout the year, KBRA introduces and celebrates more of our Nā Hōkū with media events, demonstrations and discussions, both in person and online. Our stars help to promote Kā‘anapali and increase editorial exposure in key national markets, thereby attracting a steady flow of visitors to help ensure a vibrant local economy.