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News anchor Kathy Muneno leaves KHON2 to spend more time with family

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Kathy Muneno and her husband, Nainoa Thompson, stood near the Hokulea before it set sail out of Keehi Lagoon for the Big Island on Jan. 11, 2007. Muneno has worked as a Hawaii news broadcaster for more than 25 years.

KHON2 news anchor Kathy Muneno has left the station to spend more time with her children.

Muneno, 56, has anchored the news at the station since 2007 and has worked as a Hawaii news broadcaster for more than 25 years.

“I wanted and needed weekends with my children, who are growing up way too fast,” Muneno wrote on Instagram, adding that she will, however, continue producing “passion projects.” She is the mother of 10-year-old twins.

Still, the move is bittersweet for Muneno, who became KHON’s first weekend weatherperson in 2009.

“I love my job. I love the people here, but … this is a crucial time for (my children),” she said. “They’re going to be teenagers soon. I really want to have more time with them. That really is the driving force.”

She most recently anchored the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays and also wrote and produced Kupuna Life, a twice-a-month segment highlighting extraordinary seniors and issues in the community. She plans to start her own business and produce her own projects, including Kupuna Life and other specials and documentaries.

“I want to continue to tell stories about Hawaii and its people,” she said. “I seriously feel like it’s such a privilege to have this job, to work in this business. Everyday I walk into this studio I feel lucky and I feel like it’s so cool. Everytime I sit at my computer and I get to write these stories, just the whole process, I enjoy it.”

While at KHON, Muneno won an Emmy for a half-hour program called “SEARCH Hawaii: Where Food Meets Culture.” She also won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii chapter for her documentary on “Hokuleʻa: Her Farthest Journey,” and an SPJ feature award for an article in the Ka Wai Ola newspaper. She is the wife of Hokule‘a navigator Nainoa Thompson, who works for the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“Part of me is saying, ‘Am I crazy walking away?’ I don’t think anybody would have imagined that I would be doing this or had lasted this long in this business,” Muneno said. “Growing up I was super, super shy. But I consider myself as a voice of the public, of the community, so when I’m interviewing people and finding out things, I don’t see it as being about me. It’s about the community and what they deserve to know and should know.”

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