Management by mana.
That's how Dr. Tusi Avegalio's staff at the UH Pacific Business Center Program described their boss pulling together an ambitious event last night in Waikiki after expected funding fell through.
The event, a dinner honoring eight women from throughout the Pacific as "Stars of Oceania," was held at the Hale Koa Hotel. And it turned out to be a terrific evening, full of inspiration in the honorees' speeches and overflowing with guests' good will. There was also an impromptu and soulful rendition of the national anthem and Hawaii Pono'i by a female Army ROTC cadet, a traditional kava ceremony, and dynamic Samoan dance.
Here's Dr. Tusi (above), stopping by PBS Hawaii this morning with a gift for me as emcee. He should've been catching up on sleep, but he was on his way to Saipan.
During the planning process for the function, Dr. Tusi used sailing-canoe analogies when a setback appeared. "Time to adjust our sails," he would email. Or, "we're navigating in shallow reef waters." A close friend of his and a wonderful key member of his volunteer planning committee, Cha Thompson, would sometimes try to get him to be more specific. He did, but there was always imagery in his to-do list. His attitude was always positive. And the Stars of Oceania aligned. Management by mana!
The honorees were: Angela Williams, now living in Texas; Beadie Kanahele Dawson of Honolulu; Dr Diane Ragone, Virginia; Dr. Sela Panapasa from Rotuma, Fiji; Susan O'Connor of Kipahulu, Maui and Montana; Dr. Takiora Ingram from Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Dr. Tin Myaing Thein, originally from Burma; and Vaimsenu'u Zita Martel, Samoa. Keynote speaker was Esther Kia'aina, current First Deputy Director of the Hawaii Land Department, nominated by President Obama for a top post in the federal Department of the Interior.