Most of you know all about the good times, great drinks and jubilant vibe at Duke's Waikiki. A few of you even know that the venue is a Hawai`i institution—where you can often find legendary Waikiki Beach Boys like Rabbit Kekai and Buffalo Keaulana (to name a few) saddled up to a bar stool. But not many know of Duke's commitment to raise awareness for Hawaii's traditions. On Friday, April 9, Duke's management will honor Moloka`i conservationist, non-profit founder and fisherman Mac Poepoe for his dedication to perpetuating Hawaiian practices with the annual Ho`okahiko Award for 2010.
Poepoe, a retired fireman and spear fisherman, founded Hui Malama o Mo`omomi and publishes the Pono Fishing Calendar—a coveted guide that promotes ethical fishing practices based on the phases of the moon. The guide insures that species of fish are not caught during phases when they would be unlikely to reproduce, hence keeping the fish population flourishing. The calendar respects the natural rhythms and renewal process of the ocean, according to Poepoe, who also initiates educational outreach efforts for Moloka`i youths, teaching them good practices that have been passed down through Hawaiian ancestry.
Folllowing the presentation in a private ceremony at Duke's, a public Ocean-Reef Expo will take place in the ocean-fronting courtyard at Duke's. There will be representatives from the Waikiki Aquarium, a University of Hawaii marine biology professor who will speak about invasive algae, and groups from various schools who will participate in the expo.
"It's fun to throw a party," says Ross Anderson, Duke's senior general manager. "But these people have dedicated their lives to sustaining our ocean. So we thought about how we as a restaurant can expand the reach of their message. This expo will hopefully become an ongoing thing."
Anderson first heard about Poepoe in an article that talked about his conservation efforts which he was self-funding. After relentlessly trying to reach Poepoe (who famously shies away from publicity), Anderson had to send someone to Moloka`i to find him to see if he would accept the award. In addition to the honor, Anderson will bestow a sum of funds to Poepoe, so that he may continue publishing the fishing calendar. Duke's earmarked these funds through the ongoing sale of a special t-shirt at the bar's retail shop. Last year they raised $14,000.
"Poepoe preaches good fishing practices, or, living pono. There's no legal authority to do this, but he just does it because it's right. If you manage the sea correctly and don't over-fish it, it can provide for a lot of people. It's that simple. Mac lives by this credo. The least we can do is help him continue it, with this small honor," adds Anderson.
The Ocean Reef Expo will take place at Duke's this Friday, April 9, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
For more information, log on to www.DukesWaikiki.com. Duke's is located in the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach Hotel, at 2335 Kalakaua Avenue.
"If you manage the sea correctly and don't over-fish it, it can provide for a lot of people. It's that simple. Mac lives by this credo. The least we can do is help him continue it, with this small honor," adds Anderson.