Living Treasure honoree Nola Nahulu, with many lei, and Mitsuyo Saito (photo by Ruth Tokumi)
2013 Living Treasure Nola Nahulu with Mitsuyo Saito. Photo by Ruth Tokumi.

Living Treasures of Hawaii™ recognizes and honors individuals who have demonstrated excellence and high achievement in their particular field of endeavor, and who, through continuous growth, learning, and sharing, have made significant contributions toward enriching our society.

The program was inspired by the Living National Treasures (Ningen Kokuho) of Japan. In 1976, Bishop Yoshiaki Fujitani instituted the program within the Hongwanji at the suggestion of Paul Yamanaka, a local insurance executive. Initially established to honor those involved in the perpetuation of the island’s distinctive cultural and artistic heritage, the recognition has been expanded to include contributions by individuals in all areas of endeavor. A complete list of honorees since Living Treasures was established in 1976 is available.

49th Living Treasures of Hawai’i™ Recognition Program and Luncheon
Saturday, February 10, 2024, 12 p.m.
Coral Ballroom, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Living Treasures honorees on stage at the end of the 2024 recognition program. Photo: Alan Kubota
Congratulations, honorees! On the stage at the conclusion of the 2024 recognition program, honorees holding calligraphy and certificates, left to right: Julian Keikilani Ako, Douglas D.L. Chong, Davianna Pōmaika’i McGregor, Ricardo D. Trimillos, Sarah ‘Ilialoha Ayat Quick Keahi. With Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Bishop, Rev. Toshiyuki Umitani, and President, Dr. Warren Tamamoto.

2024 Honorees

Julian Keikilani AkoJulian Keikilani Ako, retired teacher and administrator, Kamehameha Schools; Hawaiian music composer and musicologist, leader in the indigenization of curriculum, promoter of international studies and relations, and regenerative tourism

Douglas D.L. ChongDouglas D.L. Chong, leader of Hawaii’s Chinese history with the Hawaii Chinese History Center, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, United Chinese Society, oral historian, author of Chinese community history, cultural values, educator, U.H. Research Corporation, Department of Education

Sarah ‘Ilialoha Ayat Quick KeahiSarah ‘Ilialoha Ayat Quick Keahi, reviver of Hawaiian language at Kamehemeha Schools, where she taught for 37 years; legacy includes former students teaching ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi across the state at all levels, from immersion to university

Davianna Pōmaika’i McGregor, PhDDavianna Pōmaika’i McGregor, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Ethnic Studies Department; Director Oral History Center, University of Hawai‘i; one of the primary leaders of the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana; author of seminal book, “Nā Kua’āina: Living Hawaiian Culture”

Ricardo D. Trimillos, PhDRicardo D. Trimillos, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Ethnomusicology, University of Hawai‘i, perpetuator of Hawai‘i’s cultural, music, and artistic traditions, international consultant on ethnomusicology

Nominations for 2025

An organization or person may nominate a candidate for this recognition by submitting a nomination form with information on the nominee and up to three letters of recommendation. You may download a nomination form or pick one up at the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Headquarters Office (see Contact Us). Completed nominations may be submitted in the following manner:

  • By mail.
  • By fax – (808) 522-9209.
  • By email –
    (please use “Nomination for Living Treasures of Hawai’i” in the subject line)
  • Dropped off during office hours.

The completed nomination must be received by the Living Treasures Committee no later than the close of business on August 1. Presentation is made in February of the following year. For additional information, please call our office at (808) 522-9200.


Donations to support the Honpa Hongwanji’s Living Treasures of Hawaii™ program are welcome. You may use the PDF registration form linked above to make a donation even if you are not attending the event. You may also donate online to the Living Treasures Fund. Thank you!