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While in Honolulu

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While in Honolulu

Posted 04th August 2013

Family Therapy

For those who don’t know Michael Hoyt, he is so energetic and open to learning that he makes me look like, as a friend of mine Paula Maud says, ‘a sludge bum’. Living in the US in the red wood forest near San Francisco, Michael was more familiar with what Hawaii has to offer and had organised for the two of us to visit Doris Duke’s house in Waikiki. Doris was the heir to a fortune equivalent of more than $2 billion in today’s money that her father James Duke had made selling cigarettes and electricity, which she received on her 12th birthday. During her honeymoon Doris fell in love with Hawaii and bought 5 acres in Honolulu which she developed, building an international modernist house which was fashionable at the time. What was unusual for the time was that Doris decorated the house and garden with Islamic art. Shangri la, the name she gave to the house, was eventually bequeathed to promote the education and understanding of Islamic art. Photos were not allowed inside the house, where most of the Islamic art was housed, but the garden, symbolic of heaven, gives a small insight into the Doris Duke’s legacy. 

As well as swims in the warm waters of Waikiki beach, overlooked by a ‘Gold coast like’ high rise, Michael and I visited the Honolulu museum of art and the Iolani palace, home to the Hawaiian royalty. Built in 1879 for King Kalakaua the palace reflected the king’s international perspective. King Kalakaua travelled the world and had a strong connection with British royalty and was the first royal to visit Washington. The palace reflected the king’s worldliness, having electricity, running water and flushing toilets before either Buckingham palace or the Whitehouse. King Kalakaua reintroduced traditional cultural activities such as the hula which had been banned for 60 years. I was lucky enough to be in Hawaii when the annual hula festival was scheduled and took a few amateurish tourist videos.

Hawaiian dance demonstration.
 

Following the King’s death his sister, Queen Lili uokalani, ruled until she was forced to abdicate in 1893 by American interests. The most emotional section of the Palace is the Queen’s bedroom where she was held prisoner by the American’s for ten months and where she created a quilt depicting her life and a history of Hawaii.

I am not qualified to give a history lesson on Hawaii other than to say that it is America’s most diverse state which has its origin in the need for labour when the Americans developed plantations and imported labour from Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines - the influence of which is clearly evident in the range of cultures and the wonderful cuisines available in Hawaii.

In addition to exploring the wide range of cuisine available in Honolulu, I thought that given I was sharing a room with Michael Hoyt, well known brief therapist, I would take the opportunity to ask him about the origins of a chapter he wrote which I think gives a very accessible account of brief therapy using a sporting analogy. 

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