A Big Reunion of Sorts for the Mayor

Sione Tau
Sione Tau
Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Mayor Mufi Hannemann

KALIHI (KHNL) -- It was a meeting of two giants. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann reunited with a high school student whose life he touched years ago.

The mayor stands 6 feet 7 inches tall. And Sione Tau is just an inch shorter at 6'6". But these two men have more in common than their height.

It was a reunion of old friends. Mayor Hannemann and Sione Tau met years ago when Tau was a student at Pu'uhale Elementary. That encounter stayed with Tau.

"He's like an older me," said Tau.

Besides their statuesque frames, they come from similar backgrounds.

"I grew up in Kalihi in a Polynesian household where we didn't have much in terms of material possessions," said Hannemann. "But we had a very strong family bond."

Tau is growing up in Kalihi in a single-income home where money is sometimes tight. So, Tau helps his dad's business.

"Sometimes he doesn't have that much workers to at least get enough money to get home so I'll just go and help him out and do what I can," said Tau.

Besides helping out the family, Tau plays football and is the senior class vice president. This on top of keeping up with his schoolwork. In a newspaper article, he said the mayor is one of his role models.

"The fact that he cited me as someone reaching out to Polynesians, I was very touched by that," said Hannemann.

Tau said he has learned a valuable life lesson from the mayor.

"If he listened to what other people said he couldn't be, he wouldn't be here today," said Tau. "Just hearing that kind of makes me think about what I went through and people telling what I couldn't be and I couldn't do. And it made me just want to work towards it more."

Will he follow in the mayor's footsteps?

"I think so. Most likely because I like to help people," said Tau.

A passing of the torch from one generation to another.

Tau is one of top recruits in the state. He said he plans to graduate from college, and go into public service. Tau said first and foremost, he wants to help his parents, who have given him so much over the years.