Thursday, February 8, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, February 8, 2001

National Geographic profiles Waimanalo

By Tanya Bricking
Advertiser Staff Writer

Waimanalo, 96795: National Geographic has discovered you.

The yellow-bordered magazine, known for decades as a window to faraway places, is landing in mailboxes of 8.5 million people worldwide with a feature that’s close to home. Waimanalo’s number came up in this month’s "ZipUSA" spotlight.

The magazine notes that about half of Waimanalo’s inhabitants claim at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood and captures telling images from the beachside community, from paddlers at sunset to brothers enjoying ukulele tunes in a yard backed by the Koolau mountain range.

Senior writer Tom O’Neill met Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, a Hawaiian activist, and Nani Akeo, a coach for Waimanalo Canoe Club’s women’s crew, who says she "threw him in a canoe" and "he got good."

Akeo, who prefers to be called what everyone calls her — "Auntie Nani" — even made the opening line of the story on "The Hawaiians’ Hawaii." But she says she hasn’t had a chance to read the article, because she’s too busy doing what National Geographic describes ö making a difference in the town of 9,057 people, where she is the head custodian at Pope Elementary and volunteers in an after-school program teaching youngsters to care for the ocean.

The story spotlights the beauty of Waimanalo’s undeveloped coastline and the flaws of being touched by drugs and homelessness, but Dr. Patrice Ming-Lei Tim Sing, who is mentioned in the story, said she hopes readers focus on its most healing resource:

The sea.

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