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Community loses Kenneth Alan Hultquist II

By Staff | Jan 3, 2013

Kenny Hultquist is pictured under the Banyan Tree in November with his partner, Ellen Levinsky, and grandchildren Kieren and Makena Murphy.

LAHAINA – “Whenever I wanted to know anything about what was happening on Maui – its people, political issues, places – I would call my dad,” Arika Hultquist said.

“He was amazing,” the 33-year-old Lahainaluna High School graduate added.

Arika’s father was Kenneth Alan Hultquist II, a videographer, award-winning artist, journeyman carpenter, woodcarver, paper maker, prolific letter-to-the-editor writer, musician and songwriter.

The 61-year-old Lahaina resident passed away on Dec. 12 at Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Born Feb. 19, 1951 in Germany, Kenny was a transplant from California. He moved to the islands after Hurricane Iniki and lived on Kauai and in Haiku until he found his home in West Maui in the mid-1990s.

In 1996, Kenny joined the Maui Live Poets Society, reciting the many songs he wrote as poems.

It was there that he met another unique artist, Ellen Levinsky, and they spent the next 16 years living together in Lahaina.

As a group, the poets made a huge scroll at Kenny’s workshop. With contributions from many, it became the “longest peace poem” and was presented to the United Nations.

His art was shown in the juried Art Maui exhibit three times and was on display in Lahaina at the Village Gallery owned by Lynn Shue.

Kenny was a former active member of Lahaina Arts Society and sold his art in Banyan Tree Park for over 15 years.

Kenny later redirected his focus to videography, training at Akaku: Maui Community Television. He took video classes at the station in 2006.

According to Levinsky, “Kenny loved his Sony camera and would ride around town with it mounted on his bicycle, filming whatever and whoever was in sight.”

More than 50 of his videos have been shown on Akaku and Honolulu television stations.

Kenny was a fearless activist, testifying at many meetings, writing letters to the editor and filming county meetings for Maui Tomorrow to help preserve the future of Maui and educate the public.

Jo Anne Johnson-Winer, former County Councilwoman for West Maui, valued Hultquist for his position in the community.

“Kenny was not only a great friend, but he loved helping the community to get their message out through his videography on Akaku. Whether it was saving Honolua or taping commission meetings, he brought the issues to the attention of the people,” Johnson-Winer recalled.

“Recently, I had even asked,” she continued, “for his assistance in getting a message out that Boo Boo Zoo needed help; and I know if he had been well, he would have stepped in just like he always did.

“That’s why his passing is such a huge loss to the entire community. I can only hope he knew just how much we appreciated what he did,” the current Maui County director of transportation added.

Kenny enjoyed playing guitar and singing his songs at open microphone venues. “When we would go to (open microphone) nights,” Levinsky remembered, “the bands would call him up to sing his most popular song, ‘Concerned Citizen.’ “

Services will be held in early 2013. Predeceased by his son, Nils, and brother, Kirk, Kenny is survived by his parents, Harriet Hultquist and Kenneth Alan Hultquist; sisters Jane and Gail; his companion of 16 years, Ellen Levinsky; daughter Arika Hultquist; and grandchildren Makena and Kieren Murphy.

Cards may be sent to the family via Hultquist, P.O. Box 1121, Lahaina, HI 96767.