‘Ohana will carry on Bert Kukahiko’s legacy
Elbert Kahele Kukahiko is a person who manifests all that is good about life here on the West Side. First and foremost a family man, Bert also represented the down-to-earth care and pride of nurturing the ‘aina in his 30-year employment as the grounds supervisor at Napili Kai Beach Club, and furthermore engendered his spirit of aloha and malama pono in promoting surfing – the Hawaiian sport of kings – with a free surf contest for kids at his home away from home at S-Turns.
Bert passed away on Sept. 13, the day after his 64th birthday, but his legacy of love of family, care for the land and the insight to promote the relationship between the local kids and the ocean will be carried on by his ‘ohana and the community of Maui.
Knowing he was approaching his last sunset in this life on this Earth, Kukahiko requested he be taken home to his Hawaiian Homes residence fronting the Wahikuli subdivision to bask for the last time in the loving glow of his wife, his children and his grandchildren, along with God’s golden light across the Lahaina panorama.
In those 30 years at the picturesque Napili Kai Beach Club, nestled in the shadow of the Kapalua Resort in the signature curve of the lower highway, Bert led a grounds maintenance staff that created a wonderland of landscape beauty for thousands of guests and local residents. The tight-woven temple grass, the bright varieties of crotons, the graceful flow of various ferns and the soothing whisper of the trade winds through coconut palms created a tranquil environment that only settled the soul to bring peace and serenity to all who enjoyed the property.
The Kukahikos lived in Napili before moving to Hawaiian Homes, and Bert would spend many, many hours sitting at a picnic table under the shade of trees at S-Turns park. He would enjoy a cold one or two while scanning the aqua blue across the channel to Molokai. He and his buddies there formed an unofficial organization called the Hui ‘O Pohaku Park or S-Turns Surf Club.
It was this group that led the effort that created the free keiki surf contest that flourishes to this day as a cultural community event that promotes fun for the kids, but also the appreciation of the ocean within our children.
These are the memories and the standard of aloha life of Bert Kukahiko that we will carry forth in our lives. We are truly grateful for the opportunity we have had to enjoy this Maui life, and, more important, to feel optimistic about the future generations that will be influenced by his legacy.
Our sincere condolences go to his wife, Susan Kukahiko; son Robert John “Bubba” (Annie Gerber) Kukahiko; daughters Twyla (Shaun Saribay) Kukahiko and Tiara (Keala Kaehuaea) Kukahiko; granddaughters Kye, Marley, Kaimana and Riley; and grandson Kalai.
May God’s peace be with you always. “A sunset on Earth, a sunrise in Heaven.”
Services were held last Saturday, Oct. 11, at Waiola Church followed by a celebration of life and scattering of ashes at Wahikuli (Post Office) Beach. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 11301, Lahaina, HI 96761.