Well wishers fill Zonta Hilo’s event to honor Helene Hale

About 75 people attended the dinner to honor Helene Hale on United Nations International Women’s Day Monday (March 8, 2010.) For Hilo on a Monday, that’s proof of the fantastic draw that Ms. Hale, who will be 92 later this month, commands.  Zonta Club of Hilo organized the honor.

Hilo Zontians and Zonta District 9 Advocacy Chair Kolua Seiko (left of Hale.)

Mayor Billy Kenoi  spoke of her tireless (actually he said ‘indefatigable’) efforts to make the world a better place;  Elroy Osorio, who served with her as elected county officials,  said there are politicians and there are statesmen, and Helene Hale has always been a statesman.

Members of  the United Nations Association Chapter  that she started in Hawaii were on hand,  with members of the League of Women Voters of which she is a dedicated member.  Each organization, including the YWCA of Hawaii Island, spoke of Ms. Hale’s contributions.  She was the first woman executive in Hawaii government since Queen Liliuokalani; the first African American elected to office in Hawaii; she battled in the state Legislature for her Puna district. She went to Beijing in the ‘90s with the League of Women Voters to participate in the U.N. Forum on Women.

Zontians honored Ms. Hale with the Rose Award for her lifetime of service.  Zonta Club of Hilo is part of Zonta International whose mission is to advance the status of women worldwide.

Kolua Seiko, Zonta International’s District 9 Advocacy Chair, who works on Zonta’s and the UN’s initiatives to reach the world’s women, took part in honoring Ms. Hale.  Seiko was in Hawaii to address Zonta’s Area 7 Workshop on Kauai over the weekend and flew over to attend the Hilo event.

More photos:

Councilmember Dennis 'Fresh' Onishi was among those who spoke at the event.

Mayor Kenoi with Hale and RJ Hampton.

Flanking Hale are Zontians Dawn Pung, Julie Tulang, Jan Higashi, Karolyn Lundkvist, Mele Spencer and in back, Barbara Hastings. Pung is former Zonta Area 7 director, Spencer is director-elect and Tulang is a past district governor. Photos by Bo-Goran Lundkvist.

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3 responses to “Well wishers fill Zonta Hilo’s event to honor Helene Hale

  1. What a stellar event this was! Between Eleanor’s mild invitation to Mele’s ‘push’ I ended up at one of the most memorable Zonta events I have ever attended. The synergy was palpable and the diversity a wonderful amalgamation reflecting lives touched by a grand woman whose life exemplifies what Barbara put so well “Helene is who I want to be when I grow up”. Me too.

  2. Kolua, it was a pleasure to meet you and hear about your fervor for Zonta advocacy. District 9 is fortunate.

  3. Mele U. Spencer

    It is most gratifying to know that Hawaii County has many remarkable women that have contributed so much to our communities — Helene Hale, being one of the greats. We need to continue to honor them and introduce them to our young women because they set the high standards for us all.

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