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Ban on shark-finning brings Hawaii international notice

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Kelly Hu

The international ocean conservation community turned the spotlight on Hawaii last week to salute our state for becoming first in the world to ban shark-finning for soup. Among the highlights was a reception at the Mandalay Restaurant on June 30, organized by sisters Vicky Cayetano and Ginny Tiu, attended by actress Kelly Hu ("The Scorpion King" and "Nash Bridges") and Vicky’s husband, former Gov. Ben Cayetano. Also attending was Kauai’s Michael Coots, who lost his leg after a shark attack but who flew to Hawaii from Washington, D.C., where he’d been lobbying Congress for similar shark protection …

Clayton Hee

Robert Nixon, co-producer of "Gorillas in the Mist," shot footage of sharks off Haleiwa earlier and interviewed state Sen. Clayton Hee, author of the bill to ban shark-finning that took effect July 1, and Peter Knights, head of the international organization WildAid, for his new documentary on what humans have done to their ocean environment. Nixon stayed to shoot the June 30 news conference at the state Capitol featuring Hu, a Kamehameha Schools graduate, who urged her fellow actors to support a shark-fin ban in their home states and countries. Artist/ocean activist Wyland Skyped in and e-participated long-distance.

The VIP reception at the Mandalay on Alakea Street was attended by several members of the cast and crew of the Bethany Hamilton biopic "Soul Surfer," including former Mrs. Hawaii Arlene Newman-Van Asperen and actor Dutch Hofstetter. Bethany lost an arm in a shark attack while surfing off Kauai.

Others in the crowd were Hee and wife Lynne Waters, Waianae’s Aggie Cope, former OHA trustee Kamaki Kanahele, Dr. Larry Tseu, Leilani and Ed Keogh, Circuit Court Judge Mike Wilson, Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey, state Sen. Willie Espero, Dr. Kathie Kagawa and former prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, who helped write the bill. The Mandalay was a perfect venue, as owner Linda Chan voluntarily stopped the sale of shark fin soup even before the ban was passed …

Abigail Kawananakoa’s quarter horse Divide The Cash won the "Make It Anywhere" Handicap and set a new 350-yard track record at Los Alamitos, Calif., appropriately on Kamehameha Day, June 11. "It’s going to be an exciting season for this 3-year-old colt," the Campbell Estate heiress said …

The 40th anniversary Ukulele Festival Hawaii is scheduled for July 18, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Kapiolani Park bandstand.

A fundraising gala will be held for the fest next Friday at the Ala Moana Hotel Hibiscus Ballroom at 5:30 p.m. Roy Sakuma says the fundraiser will feature entertainment by Danny Kaleikini, uke stars Jake Shimabukuro and Herb "Ohta-San" Ohta, accompanied by guitarist Nando Suan, and vocalist Natalie Ai Kamauu. There will be a buffet dinner. Tickets are $65. For reservations, call 486-0546 …

Diamond Head Theatre’s exec director Deena Dray has to be a happy camper after the theater received $17,500 in grants to repair and replace cushioning on its seats. The Atherton Family Foundation awarded a grant of $10,000 and the McInerny Foundation contributed $7,500. The DHT opens an endearing favorite, "The Sound of Music," tonight at 8 p.m.


Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things Fridays. E-mail him at


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