Friday, February 28, 2014

Miss Ka‘u Coffee Contenders Announced

Miss Ka'u Coffee and Peaberry contenders learn about coffee on Lorie Obra's farm in Moa'ula. Photos by Nalani Parlin
Miss Kaʻu Coffee and Miss Kaʻu Peaberry Pageant candidates and details have been announced. The Pageant takes place Sunday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Kaʻu Coffee Mill. A mahalo reception will be held at 6 p.m. for the service of reigning Miss Kaʻu Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya and Miss Kaʻu Peaberry Rebecca Kailiawa. The two queens will accept flowers, gifts and thanks before the show begins. Pageant candidates are selling pageant tickets for $10.

Four candidates will compete for the title of Miss Kaʻu Coffee:

Shyann “Makamae” Flores-Carvalho, age 16, is daughter of Helena Carvalho and Glen Hashimoto, and sister to Buddy Flores and Andre Carvalho. She lives in Pahala and is a junior at Kaʻu High School. “I like playing basketball, riding horses and spending time with my family and friends,” said Flores-Carvalho. After she graduates from high school, she plans to study nursing. Her talent is Tahitian dance.  

Gloria Ornelas, age 16, is daughter of Osamea Ornelas and granddaughter of Memmy and Mario Ornelas. She has one brother, Carlos. She lives in Waiʻohinu and is a sophomore at Kaʻu High. “I play volleyball for Kaʻu High. I love coaching T-ball, and I love to spend time with family," she said. Ornelas aspires to be a nurse or lawyer. Her talent is hula.

Rachel Ornelas, age 20, is daughter of Osamea Ornelas and granddaughter to Memmy and Mario Ornelas and hails from Greensands in Waiʻohinu. She works as a teacher with Tutu & Me Traveling Preschool in Kaʻu and attends University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in hopes of eventually becoming a registered nurse. “I want to represent my community and make a difference” by entering the pageant, she said. 

Amery Silva, age 21, is daughter of Michael Silva and Wendylee Napoleon. She lives in Pahala, is a member of Huala Halau ‘O Leionalani and works as retail associate at Kaʻu Coffee Mill. “I want to attend college to study business management,” Silva said. Her siblings are Kavelle, Kevey, Savannah, Cameron, Chisum, Shanialee and Wrangler. She said she is enjoying running in the pageant with her little sister Shania, who is a Miss Peaberry candidate. Her talent is hula and singing.

Five candidates will participate in the Miss Peaberry Pageant:  
Cristina-Nicole Kawewehi, age 9, is daughter of Angelica Kawewehi and Bill Lorenzo, of Pahala. She is in third grade at Pahala Elementary School. “When I grow up I want to be a teacher,” said Kawewehi. She enjoys dancing, singing and swimming. Her siblings are Keana and Zachary Kuluwaimaka. She plans to do a Zumba dance for her talent.
Calaysa Koi, age 9, is daughter of Cory and Connie Koi, of Pahala. She is sister to Callen and Casey Koi. Her pet family includes a dog, cat, bird and guinea pig. She is a fourth-grader at Pahala Elementary. She enjoys playing and videos. “When I grow up I want to be a star in Hollywood,” said Koi. Her talent is singing.

Madison Mikaelya Iwalani Okimoto, age 8, is daughter of Malcolm and Sheilah, of Waiʻohinu. She has three sisters, Sydnie, Siena and Melia, a former Miss Kaʻu Peaberry first princess, and three dogs. She is a third-grader at Naʻalehu Elementary School. “I aspire to become a doctor or geologist,” said Okimoto. She enjoys baking with her Easy-Bake Oven, swimming, playing baseball, playing with her dog, riding her ripstick and barbecuing with her family. Her talent will be hip-hop dancing.

Chazlynn Marie Kapualokelaniokuʻuleinani Pua-Queja, age 7, is daughter of Jerilynn Pua and Chad Queja, of Pahala. She is in second grade at Pahala Elementary School. She has one brother, Preston, and two sisters, Zeishalynn and Jaymelynn. She is still considering the many possibilities of what she could be when she grows up. Her talent is hula.

Shania Lee Napuamaeloʻiʻokewe Silva, age 8, is daughter of Wendylee Napoleon and Michael Silva, of Pahala. She is in the third grade at Pahala Elementary. She has seven brothers and sisters. “I want to apply for scholarships for becoming an E.R. doctor,” she said. She enjoys playing T-ball and Coach Pitch baseball. Her talent is hip-hop dancing.

The candidates recently started practice, which aims to instill confidence while learning poise and presentation skills with future application to work and school settings. The program also seeks to align itself with Hawaiʻi Department of Education Common Core speaking and listening standards and help students to become resourceful and self-directed learners.

The candidates also visited Lorie Obra’s coffee farm to experience picking coffee and learn more about the life cycle of the coffee tree, the life of a coffee farmer and the history of Kaʻu Coffee.

Each contestant is also competing for Miss Popularity. To support candidates, Kaʻu residents can buy donation tickets for one dollar and become a friend of the pageant. Donations go to support of candidates and toward scholarships and sustaining future pageants.

Anyone wanting to support the candidates can contact them directly to provide sponsorship or donations. Anyone wanting to donate flowers for decorations, other supplies, time or help is asked to contact Pageant Director Nalani Parlin at 217-6893 or Pageant Chair Gloria Camba at 928-8558. Anyone wanting to donate scholarship money can contact Scholarship Chair Julia Neal at 928-9811. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sunset Magazine Features Ka'u Coffee

Sunset Magazine features Ka'u Coffee in its January 2014 edition. The publication boasts more than a million subscribers. The story by travel writer Christopher Hall features small-business owners like Will and Grace Tabios, who operate a Na'alehu store and a farm with internationally award-winning Ka'u Coffee. The writer illustrates the Ka'u pace of life starting with the Tabios family:

Sunset Magazine points to for info
about our annual events coming up, May 2-11.
Photo by Julia Neal
“Owner Willie Tabios was up at dawn working his family’s seven-acre farm before opening the tiny shop for the day with his wife Grace. But now he sits on an overturned bucket, chatting, or ‘talking story,’ as the say on the islands.”

The author drinks Ka'u Coffee at Hana Hou Restaurant and travels to Cloud Rest to visit the farm of Trini and Francis Marques, where they grow their own award-winning Ali'i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee. The author writes about being at Cloud Rest. “I tell Trini that this place feels removed somehow from the real world.” He also quotes Trini Marques saying, “I believe it is sacred here,” and that she recounted “with every tree she plants, she utters a silent prayer.” The author describes the many details on the farm taken care of by Francis Marques and writes, “The work is exacting, expensive and, Trini believes, crucial to producing quality coffee.”

The illustrations are by travel photographer Susan Suebert. Images include the iconic location photographed by almost everyone who goes to Cloud Rest – looking down on numerous Ka'u Coffee farms and Lorie Obra’s tiny coffee shack and out to the Pacific Ocean. Photos also include picking and processing, the drying floor at Ka'u Coffee Mill, the Flyin’ Hawaiian Coffee Truck, the inside of Will & Grace shop, the outside of Hana Hou and a table within.

The Sunset story says Ka'u Coffee is exacting and expensive.
Photo by Andrew Hara
The story takes readers to the farm of Lorie Obra and her award-winning Rusty’s 100% Hawaiian Ka'u Coffee. It tells the story of coffee creating an economy after sugar shut down in 1996 and describes some of the risks such as fires that damaged orchards and the coffee berry borer threatening the crop. “And in a turn of events that resurrects the feelings of helplessness that arose when Big Sugar left, ownership of the leased coffee land has fallen to a big New York bank that’s looking to sell. For now the trees are flourishing and there is reasonable hope that the coffee borer can be managed and the coffee leases will be renewed. Either way, the people of Ka'u will take it as it comes,” the Sunset writer concludes.

The story ends with a quote from Lorie Obra: “Learning how to grow coffee has been important for Ka'u ... but maybe more important has been learning how resilient we are. We are gutsy, and we aren’t going away.”

In a separate section called Where to Fill Your Mug, Sunset suggests locations to visit. Under the category Taste, the writer recommends having a cup at Hana Hou with a slice of cream pie and enjoying Ka'u Coffee with Hawaiian sweet bread at Punalu'u Bake Shop. Under Shop, it recommends Ka'u Farmers Market, where Rusty’s can be purchased for $35 a pound. It also recommends Hawaiian Hula Hands at $41 a pound and The Rising Sun at $28 a pound. Under Tour, the article recommends Aikane Plantation Coffee Co., with a walk through the orchard and visit to the 1930s plantation house. It also recommends Ka'u Coffee Mill for touring the growing, processing and roasting operations and tasting at the visitor center.

The article also suggests Ka'u Coffee Festival: “The district goes full-tilt coffee crazy with the annual Ka'u Coffee Festival, ten days of tastings, tours and events, including the Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant,” the story says. It points readers to for information about the May 2 - 11 event.
For more, see

Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya Appearances in 2013

Tiare-Lee Shibuya on the even of her coronation as Miss Ka'u Coffee with her predecessor, and sister, Brandy Shibuya at right, who served as Queen from 2011 to 2013. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya
served as a judge for the 2013
Triple C Recipe Contest.
Photo by Julia Neal
Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya
 performed hula at the 2013
 Triple C Recipe Contest.
Photo by Julia Neal
Tiare-Lee Shibuya, daughter of police office Dane and Terry-Lee Shibuya, of Wai'ohinu, was named Queen for 2013-2014 at the Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant held on April 26, 2013. Her talent is hula. Tiare-Lee is a graduate of Kameahameha Schools, attends Hawai'i Community College and plans to be a nurse. She won a $1,000 scholarship presented by the Edmund C. Olson Trust II.

Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya
rode through Na'alehu during the
Fourth of July Parade in the back of
Dexter Lee's classic 50's corvette.
Photo by Julia Neal
Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya
waved to the public from the back of
Aikane Plantation Coffee's Corvette
at Volcano's Fourth of July Parade.
Photo by David Boyle
During the eight days following her coronation, Tiare-Lee attended, assisted and performed at various Ka'u Coffee Festival events.

Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya
and Volcano Rain Forest Runs organizer
Sharron Faff. Photo by Julia Neal
Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya
attended the 2013 Ka'u Chamber of
Commerce Scholarship award ceremony
and encouraged the recipients to keep
striving toward their educational goals.
Photo by Julia Neal
Throughout the year of her reign, Tiare-Lee has attended several island events and schools, representing the well-renowned coffee growing region of Ka'u, Hawai'i. Her schedule has included teaching ti leaf lei making to elementary school students, hula class and participating in a May Day event, helping with a health fair at Kamehameha School, Heart Walk, participating in both the Na'alehu and Volcano Independence Day parades, giving out educational scholarships on behalf of the Ka'u Chamber of Commerce, starting the Volcano Rain Forest Runs, performing a solo at the Evangelical Community Church's first annual Ho'olaule'a, and participating in the Pahala Christmas Parade. She has also volunteered at the Tropic Care free health clinics and with cleaning up Highway 11 and Punalu'u Pond with the O Ka'u Kakou community organization.

Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya gave the starting yell for two of the three races at the 2013 Volcano Rain Forest
 Runs. Photo by Julia Neal
Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya braved the possibility
of rain in a convertible at the Pahala Christmas Parade.
Photo by Julia Neal
Tiare-Lee will perform at the upcoming Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant set for the evening of May 4, 2014, at Ka'u Coffee Mill where she will pass the crown onto a new Queen.

For more about the upcoming pageant, to apply or to volunteer, visit