(KHNL) - Do you know someone, a business or an organization that showcases or preserves Hawaiian culture? if so, the Hawaii Tourism Authority wants to hear from you. It's seeking nominations for the 16th annual Keep it Hawaii Recognition Awards. Here to tell us more is the Hawai Tourism Authority's Muriel Anderson.
MARVIN: GOOD MORNING.
MURIEL: Good morning.
MARVIN: So tell us about the award itself.
MURIEL: The Keep it Hawaii Awards is an award to recognize those in the community who really helped to preserve our Hawaiian culture, who made every effort to do that.
MARVIN: Can you give us some context. This is the 16th year , what was it like in the beginning, what prompted the award to be fashioned and how far we've come here in 2007?
MURIEL: Right, 16 years ago, the Hawaii Convention Center and Bureau decided that the industry needed to recognize those in the community who really made all of these efforts to preserve the culture and we've come a long way. We've come a long way in recognizing that's there's more out there that's done in the community by individuals, by small groups, by non-profit organizations and it's not only the visitor industry's responsibility to do that but also everyone out there in the community.
MARVIN: Even when you go to work or when you're with family, go shopping how would you describe the sensitivity we now experience as far as preserving Hawaii's culture as opposed to a decade and a half ago?
MURIEL: Well, I think that we have come a long way in trying to represent the culture as more authentic. Some people in the community have been criticized for their representation of the culture and with the renaissance, Hawaiian music, Hawaiian language, more of our young children are getting involved in learning the language, I think that gives us the core of really who we are as a people. It is the indigenous culture and we can't lose it and I think more and more people are realizing that we can't do that.
MARVIN: We're continuing to raise the awareness, let's talk about the nomination process itself.
MURIEL: This is our nomination packet. They can call our coordinator 531-1800 or go to our website or your website, as I understand. The deadline is in two weeks , July 25th nominations to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
MARVIN: Who decides, who makes the final vote?
MURIEL: We have a Hawaiian cultural program advisory council. It helps us made of people who are steep in the culture, made of people who are steep in the business and they make the decisions and recommendations to the authority.
MARVIN: For some of the folks who aren't aware of some of the award winners, how about give us some examples of past winners and how they were able to make a difference.
MURIEL: The Pacific Insland Institute receives our Koa Award last year and they're instrumental in providing both visitors and residents with cultural experiences in Hawaii.