After joining as a member in 1973, she began her active service in 1978 as treasurer which, in this small organization, meant treasurer, manager, archivist, cabinet painter, rock counter and volunteer extraordinaire. Her main interest was the preservation of Hana's history and continuing the dedicated work of Babes Hanchett begun in 1971 when the center was founded.
When Maui County granted the Cultural Center stewardship of the Old Historic Courthouse in 1979, Coila and her motivated staff helped launch the first newsletter to better communicate with the Hana community and the rapidly increasing membership of the Center. Being the treasurer with big restoration plans in mind, membership dues increased from $3. to $5. per year and new fundraising projects were established. By 1982, donations for the newly planned Museum building were beginning to be received for the building fund. Through the remarkable generosity of the Cultural Center supporters, HALE WAI WAI O HANA became Hawai`i's newest museum on August 21, 1983.
In the need and desire to expand the educational value of visiting the Center, the land adjacent to the Museum was purchased in 1986 and the long process to build the KAU HALE O HANA was begun. In 1989 the Old Historic Courthouse was refurbished and a call went out to the membership for help to create a new archive annex to the Museum, with professional museum quality environmental controls.
Having achieved these successes, Coila announced her retirement in 1990 and then began to accomplish even more. She participated in new projects which included the Hongwanji restoration in 1991, the construction of the Museum Archive Annex in 1993, the archaeology of the Hamoa Complex in 1993, directed the computerization of membership and artifact records in 1994, directed the archaeology of the KAU HALE O HANA lots and began its construction in 1995.
Coila's community involvement is well known along the Hana Coast, earning her the love and esteem from all who know her. Yet the word of our Center's accomplishments and Coila's personal part in them have achieved state and national recognition. The Center was honored in 1994 by the American Association for State and Local History for the level of professionalism in its restoration of the courthouse and Hongwanji, and its archaeological, archive and collections projects of preserving Hana history. Just recently, the Hawai'i State Senate issued a certificate to the Center, congratulating and commending the "stable growth and financial management" as well as the "wide range of activities" including the Old Historical Courthouse restoration, the Hongwanji restoration, the building of the Museum and its Archive Annex. In 1986 Coila was one of only three Hawai`i residents to be recognized for outstanding personal accomplishments in the field of historic preservation by the Historic Hawai`i Foundation. Earlier this year at the nomination of Maria Orr, she was recognized by the American Association for State and Local History for outstanding personal accomplishments.
"Soon" says Coila, "I'm retiring as soon as the KAU HALE O HANA is dedicated next March and the Old Jails are restored! Then of course the old fence needs replacement and ..." Doesn't that just sound like a retired person in Hana?
1995 Newsletter Index