Robert Malaiakini receives Hana’s Malaikini service award

Lynette Malaikini (from left), Robert Malaiakini and his wife, Pat, are shown at the award presentation. -- MAILE GETZEN photo

The 2018 Tiny Malaikini Mea Kokua Award, the community’s highly coveted recognition for public service, was awarded to Robert Malaiakini on Oct. 6 during Hana’s Aloha Festivals celebration.

Malaiakini was chosen by the Malaikini family because of his involvement with the Hana Canoe Club since its inception 42 years ago. He has been both an paddler and, as early as the 1990s, a coach for the youths of Hana who want to learn to paddle outrigger canoes. In particular, he coached the first Hana High School team that participated in the Maui Interscholastic League tournament. He transports canoes to Maui County championships, especially the koa-built Te Tane Hana Hoe for which he is the kahu.

According to the announcement, Malaiakini lives a humble life practicing Hawaiian cultural values. He is also a skilled deep-sea fisherman who shares his catch with Hana nonprofit organizations and many Hawaiian families who are celebrating important events. When visitors such as athletes and cultural groups come to Hana, he often hosts them in his home. Throughout his life he has passed on Hawaiian cultural knowledge and ocean safety to the youths and adults throughout the Hawaiian community.

In attendance for the presentation was Tiny’s widow, Lynette Malaikini, son, Joe-Sol, and Kaluna (niece) and Jackson Cantero.

Established in 1992, the Malaikini Award is presented annually to the person who has given most selflessly for the betterment of the Hana community.

Simultaneously, it honors the memory of Viewed Paniani “Tiny” Malaikini, a much beloved Hawaiian man whose life embodied “aloha” and “kokua.”