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Talented Daryl Fujiwara continues his family’s tradition of community service

By Staff | Apr 26, 2012

Daryl Fujiwara (right) is pictured with his grandfather, George. 

LAHAINA – Daryl Fujiwara is an enlightened 21st century chief, a networking wizard using social media as his magic wand.

Amazing, awesome and stunning are only words to describe his talents and reach.

His portfolio bulges with community contributions, well beyond his 28 years.

He’s the sole proprietor of Smythe Fujiwara Designs, a major Maui mover and a master coordinator of a number of A-list island events.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie nominated Fujiwara to the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission in March of this year.

He is the Maui manager of Festivals of Aloha and vice president of the Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club.

As the Maui coordinator for Molten Hawai’i Volleyball Club, he organizes the annual No Ka ‘Oi Volleyball tournament.

The Kahana Canoe Club Maui Nui (long distance) Canoe Race annually benefits from his communication talents.

He has supported Kula Kaiapuni O Maui Ma Nahi`ena`ena and Na Leo Kalele.

Grant writing and fundraising are on the list of his A-plus skills.

Raised and educated on the West Side, the Native Hawaiian went to King Kamehameha III Elementary School and Lahaina Intermediate. He is a graduate of the Napili Kai Foundation, Lahainaluna High School (Class of 2001) and Honolulu Community College (2005).

In the book of “Who You of West Maui,” his roots run deep.

Fujiwara is rightly proud of his heritage.

His parents are Dawn and Derrick Fujiwara of Lahaina.

“His father, my grandfather, is George Fujiwara. He is married to his third wife, May Fujiwara. That’s my grandma,” Daryl said.

“Dawn is Edwina Smythe’s daughter,” he continued.

His aunties are Crystal Smythe and (the late) Star Medeiros.

“My great-grandmother, Edwina’s mother, was Elaine Mullaney of Oahu,” he added.

Mullaney was a charter member of the Queen Emma Hawaiian Civic Club in Honolulu.

Daryl credits his family for his grassroots ethics.

“Learning all of these things about my great-grandmother, I realized this is my family’s tradition. This is their connectivity to the Hawaiian culture. They create venues for the community to gather and learn about our culture,” he said.

“I want to honor my family and tradition.”

Hailama Farden supported Governor Abercrombie’s appointment of Fujiwara as a commissioner of the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission in a letter to the Senate.

“Daryl has come from a long line of ‘planners.’ His mother Dawn Fujiwara and grandmother, Edwina Smythe, served Maui more than 20 years in a leadership capacity related to Kamehameha Day. Daryl’s great-grandmother, Elaine Pahiali’i Mullaney, was instrumental in helping to establish the Aloha Week festivities at its inception. Daryl exhibits the same work spirit as his mother, grandmother and great grandmother,” he wrote.

Matthew Erickson is the president of the Hawaiian Civic Club. He voiced a close-up view of his lifelong friendship with Fujiwara.

“His communication skills are excellent. Daryl knows where his roots lie, yet he’s adapted to the technology of today. With that, he’s able to pull from the experience of his predecessors to come to his various decisions,” he said.

“Daryl’s also taken social media by storm, networking with some of the island’s social media elite allowing for his messages and events to take a worldwide platform!”

Fujiwara acknowledged Art Fillazar, student activities coordinator at Lahainaluna, as fundamental to his education.

“He really helped to make us aware of the good skills that I think people need to know in order to become a good leader.” Daryl said.

Fillazar has watched the young student evolve into manhood.

“He is committed to service, a value he treasured in high school as well. Daryl was also there to lead or lend a hand in anything,” he said. “He was not afraid to be who he is and has continued to produce the value we have instilled in our students: ‘give back to the community.’

“I am proud and honored,” Fillazar continued, “to know Daryl and to witness his success.”

Yuki Lei Sugimura of Connec LLC has worked with Daryl organizing the Festivals of Aloha. She described Fujiwara’s “very special” leadership values.

“I love Daryl; he is an amazing person. With all the work I see and do in the community, we are grateful to have youth like Daryl to continue. We need passion and commitment. We need hard workers, like Daryl, to do the mission of keeping Maui No Ka ‘Oi,” Sugimura said.

His kumu hula, Pueo Pata of Halau Ka Malama Mahilani, best expressed the evolution of young leader’s spirit.

“In our halau, we focus on how we can affect our ahupua’a, moku and mokupuni in the most positive ways possible. Our practices stem from antiquity and have existed due to their value and efficiency,” Pata said.

“I know for a fact that these teachings have become a part of Daryl’s conscience and everyday lifestyle since he’s joined our ‘ohana of hula. To see our teachings implemented, and then manifested in our decisions and daily lives, is what I believe every kumu desires of his or her students. Daryl will always be Daryl, but I’ve seen his awareness shift and grow just since he’s been my student.

“He’s an amazing leader now. I can just imagine what he’ll be in the years to come,” Pata concluded.