Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Historic Hawai‘i Foundation announces Daniel and Irene Hirano Inouye to be honored as “Kama‘āina of the Year™” at annual benefit.

Senator Daniel K. and Mrs. Irene Hirano Inouye will be honored as the “2009 Kama‘āina of the Year” at the annual Historic Hawai‘i Foundation (HHF) benefit on December 5.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Mrs. Irene Hirano Inouye will be honored as the 2009 Kama‘āina of the Year in recognition of their contributions to preserving Hawaii’s rich history and perpetuating the essence of Hawai‘i. Senator Inouye’s leadership in strengthening the National Historic Preservation Act, establishing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and recent legislation regarding Japanese-American World War II Internment Camps are just some of the preservation achievements from his fifty years as a legislator. Mrs. Irene Hirano Inouye was the President and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and continues to serve as its Executive Advisor. Mrs. Inouye’s preservation leadership is also evident in her service as a board member of both the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Ford Foundation, a major historic preservation funder throughout the United States.

“In this 50th anniversary of the Senator’s congressional service and 50 years of statehood, it is fitting to recognize Senator Inouye’s leadership in preserving the essential places of Hawai‘i,” said Ray Soon, President of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation. “His longstanding leadership has been integral to preserving sites of historic and cultural importance to Native Hawaiians, Japanese-Americans, and all people of Hawai‘i.”

“We are equally pleased to recognize the important contributions of Mrs. Inouye in preserving and telling the stories of Japanese Americans across the country, especially through her work with the Japanese American National Museum as it works to insure that Japanese Americans preserved their rich heritage, cultural identity, and unique history,” Soon said.

Preservation of sites for the protection of historic, cultural and natural resources has been a priority for Senator Inouye. In addition to his role in strengthening key preservation legislation, he has been instrumental in supporting both federal acquisition and public-private partnerships for purchase of fee title or conservation easements for special sites. These include historically significant lands such as the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau Historic Park, Kīlauea Lighthouse, Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Kawainui Marsh and Waimea Valley.

The Inouyes are the 22nd recipients of the Kama‘āina of the Year award, which honors individuals who have made unique and lasting contributions to the preservation of Hawaii’s historic places and cultural resources. The event is Historic Hawai‘i Foundation’s annual fundraiser and proceeds support the preservation of historic sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

A statewide 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation encourages the preservation of historic buildings, sites and communities relating to the history of Hawai‘i. Founded in 1974 by concerned citizens who saw the need to protect the Islands’ irreplaceable historic and cultural legacy from destruction, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation has become the driving force behind preservation of Hawaii’s historic places. Through strong partnerships with public, private and non-profit organizations, HHF helps to unleash critical local energy to protect the essential character of Hawai‘i.

The Kama‘āina of the Year™ benefit is an annual fundraiser for Historic Hawai‘i Foundation and will take place on Saturday, December 5 at 6:00 p.m. in the Monarch Room at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu. Additional information about the event is available by calling 808-523-2900 or visiting