Author Archive: Norm Bezane

Surfer Hostess Laura Blears: Sample of 60 tales in my new book


Laura Blears
Surfer to Hostess with the Mostest 

SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN in the world to win money in a surfing contest. She posed for Playboy surfing, leaving little to the imagination. Her illustrious father, Lord James Blears (his real name, not a title) advised her to “go for it.” 

She was a Smirnoff vodka girl, posing in a white swimsuit on a surfboard for a promotional poster sent to every bar in the islands. She went on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Challenge of the Sexes, as well as its Superstars version, competing with the likes of NFL football star Dick Butkus and others. 

She appeared on What’s My Line, a popular network show in the eighties, whose panel members had to guess the profession of guests. 

Nobody figured out she was a world-class surfer. She is Lahaina’s Laura Blears, formerly Laura Blears Chin and Laura Blears Cohn, who has been the “hostess with the mostest” at Kimo’s on Front Street for the last 12 of her 31 years there.

Full profile in the book. 

King Kamehameha the Great: Sample of 60 tales in my new book

POWERFULLY BUILT, SQUARE-JAWED WARRIOR King Kamehameha the Great completed the unification of the Hawaiian Islands. He was
a warrior, unifier, surfer, trader, and shaper of Maui. In this century a nuclear submarine was named for this Hawaiian and his statue is in a place of honor in the US Capitol at the National Statuary Hall.

Kamehameha did not cut down a cherry tree, nor did he wear wooden false teeth, yet he could be considered the George Washington of these islands.

If alive today, the great king would probably lash out at the comparison, since he was a great fan of Great Britain, a country he considered a protector of the islands. Kamehameha was born of ali‘i (kingly) Kamehameha. His name means the one who is set apart. He was destined for glory as the son of two high chiefs from the day of his birth. Some believe the future king was born in 1758 at about the time of Halley’s Comet and that he was the powerful king mentioned in prophecies.

The fledgling king already had mana (life force) derived from two royal parents that each had considerable mana in their own right. Mana was acquired by inheritance or heroics in battle. Battles were often fought to acquire more mana. According to tradition, Kamehameha got more even more mana when he acquired the hair of the slain Captain Cook, explorer of much of the Paci Rim. Hawaiians believed Cook also had a lot of mana.

The remains of the man who named these Sandwich Islands were divided up after his death on the beach near Kona. Kamehameha, an admirer of Cook, had visited his ships, even though he had nothing to do with the explorer’s demise. Historical facts complete the story.

Kamehameha fought his first battle on Maui at 17 in an unsuccessful effort by a Hawaiian chief to conquer the island. He returned again and again to Maui’s Iao Valley to Lahaina’s shoreline, to the rough volcanic landscape of the island of Hawaii, and to the newly discovered harbor in Honolulu he decided was the ideal place to foster trade. Both epic and trivial, these journeys transformed Hawaii.

In 1783, the man who was to become great launched his campaign to unify these islands. Kamehameha had fought his first battle on Maui at 17 in an unsuccessful efort by a Hawaiian ali‘i (king) to conquer the island. Later, after moving a 5,000-pound stone called Naha, which legend said could be moved only by a man of destiny, the powerfully built warrior with the fierce face set forth on his life’s work of conquest.
Wars were declared by cutting down a coconut tree in another’s territory. Battles were fought according to rituals, traditions, and rules. Weapons of choice were the elau (short spear), pololu ihe (long spear), palau (cudgel), leiomano (club with sharks’ teeth), and later guns. War and weapons would be put aside with the unification of the islands.

A clear picture of what Kamehameha did, and how he did it, emerges by looking at his travels.

1778, Hana: Meets Captain Cook and discovers unique sticks that fire bullets. He has the foresight to see their potential in battle.

1783, Island of Hawaii: Starts campaign to unify islands by unsuccessfully attacking Hilo.

1785, Hilo: Hawaii A new attack.

1788, Kauai: Trades land he controls for guns, including a swivel cannon. Captures sailor John Young, kidnaps Isaac Davis, and then names them military advisors.

1790, Maui: Fights near Huelo and uses cannon for the first time in the Iao Valley. Blood and bodies clog the stream, giving it the name “Kepaniwai” (Damming of the Waters). Leaves before conquering Maui.

1791, Island of Hawaii: Builds Pu‘ukohola Heiau temple to win support of the gods for his unification effort. Uses swivel gun and cannon to win the battle and conquer the island.

1792–94, Period of peace.

1793, Befriends Captain George Vancouver, who was also acquainted with beautiful, Hana-born Ka‘ahumanu, a surfing partner who became the king’s first and favorite wife. Vancouver gives Kamehameha cattle, sheep, and goats. Ka‘ahumanu along the way deserted Kamehameha, after he flirted with Ka‘ahumanu’s sister. Vancouver is instrumental in bringing the two back together.

1794, Announces that Hawaiian people are to subject the laws of Great Britain and under its protection. Great Britain never agreed, but Vancouver gifts Kamehameha with a sailing ship with a Union Jack sail.

1795,Maui and Oahu: Destroys Lahaina and then conquers Maui, Lana‘i, and Moloka‘i in February. Sails to Oahu and wins Battle of Nu‘uunu on the windward side of Waikiki to control Oahu. Leader of Kauai eludes capture.

1796, Kauai: Invades Kauai for the second time.

1797, Takes a second wife in Keopuolani, who bears him a son, Liholiho, who succeeds Kamehameha as king. Ka‘ahumanu, though childless, would later rule as regent for the young Liholiho and become Hawaii’s rst “fem- inist,” ending the kapu (forbidden) system that banned kane and wahine (men and women) from eating together.

1802, Maui: Fleet lands in Maui to prepare to invade Kauai again. A storm overwhelms warriors and ends ex- pedition.

1803: Honolulu: Sends eet to new harbor and head- quarters there. Kamehameha believes the Oahu harbor
Polynesians, Kings and Queens: A Treacherous Tale
is better for loading ships (Lahaina harbor was too shal- low to permit docking of sailing ships). Becomes a trader, taking over the lucrative sandalwood trade and sending wood to China in exchange for worldly goods.

1810, Completes uni cation by acquiring Kauai by agreement with the ali‘i Kaumuali‘i without a fight.

1812–19, Kohala, Island of Hawaii: Returns to birth island. Engages in his favorite pastimes of sur ng, swim- ming, shing, and growing taro. Dies in 1819.

2019, Front Street, Lahaina: Kamehameha images grace annual parade. Each Kamehameha Day, horseback riders on the former King’s Highway pass within yards of where Kamehameha the Great once surfed, lived, and enjoyed the King’s Taro Patch.

Kamehameha, in a sense, was a man before his time. He recognized immediately the merits of western technology (guns, for example, which he rarely used).

He lived in three geographic areas like modern-day corporate types, learned a foreign language (English), and created what would become one of the world’s most pro- gressive monarchies. Add everything up, and no wonder he is called great.

Discover Maui’s people

Stories of 60 remarkable people from my columns in Lahaina News. See sample essay below.

A great read to discover more about Maui

Who was Hawaii’a first feminist? How many locals have you truly gotten to know? Who united these islands? Have you wondered how hula is learned and perfected? Enjoy 60 short tales from my award-winning columns in Lahaina News that offer a unique look appealing to new, frequent visitors or residents ideal for a read on beach or plane.

How did Trilogy excursions, Old Lahaina Luau begin and how did an experience in Germany result in opening of Lahaina’s most successful art gallery? What is it like to live on Maui?

How do you accurately pronounce aloha and what is it true meaning? Who are Maui’s colorful characters and why did one play ukulele without strings?

Here’s the surprising book people love to read with interesting tales of Maui’s remarkable people and our island’s fascinating history. Buy at

Enjoy tales of remarkable people


The book

Magical Maui. Ocean..Beaches. Azure Sky. Sunsets. Activities. Yet Maui is more. My book which you can purchase here, Voices of Aloha on Magical Maui from award-winning writer Norm Bezane, tells the life stories of remarkable people of aloha past and present. Here you will read of the passion, the true meaning of aloha and the lives of some 60 truly fascinating people from the best of 200 of columns in Lahaina News. Buy at

Get the book visitors, residents love

Here’s the book people love to read about Maui’s remarkable people, our fascinating history and the real meaning of aloha.
MAUI TIME WEEKLY  calls the author’s writing “intriguing and illuminating” and the book “an interesting primer on notable people on Maui. Anyone who has been on the island 24 hours will find this an easy, handy reference.

Buy at


Voices features 400,000 Mai Tai Man

One fan calls him just about the coolest bartender on Maui. Thousands of visitors know him only as Dale—the blue-shirted, congenial, low-key, quick-to-laugh purveyor of drinks at the Tiki Bar at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel.

Dale Simonsen has  been serving up drinks at the the Kaanapali Beach Hotel for an amazing 40 years. Dale at the Tiki bar makes 40 mai tais a day?
That’s 200 mai tais a week, 10,000 maui tais a year.  For 40 years that adds up to an astounding 400,000 mai tais during a career…and still counting.)

To be a good a good bartender? you have to show up all the time and early (laughs). You have to be a people person….You have to be a psychiatrist, but I don’t give any opinions. It’s like Switzerland out here. You have to be neutral. (Except).

Surfer hostess with mostest profiled

She was the first woman in the world to win money in a surfing contest. She posed for a Playboy leaving little to the imagination. Her illustrious father, Lord James Blears advised her to “go for it.” She is Lahaina’s Laura Blears now the “hostess with the mostest” at Kimo’s on Front Street for more than 15 years. (Excerpt)


Get a book refreshing to read (a good change of pace).

Here’s book people love to read about Maui’s remarkable people, our fascinating history and the real meaning of aloha.MAUI TIME WEEKLY  calls the author’s writing “intriguing and illuminating” and the book “an interesting primer on notable people on Maui. Anyone who has been on the island 24 hours will find this an easy, handy reference.


Kea aloha loves greatest place on earth

Arriving on Maui via Hawaiian Air just three months after birth, Kea Aloha loves living in the greatest place on earth. He’s a dog. I have been praised in a book for not eating the author’s manuscript for breakfast.”

“My first stop in the morning is the Kaanapali Beach Hotel  valet stand where I say hello my friends  He is known as ‘Mr. White,’ for his namesake Mike White, general manager of the hotel. The ocean used to scare me to death, even the sound of it before I could see it.  Now it merely frightens me. “I like going on a ride to Ulupalakua Ranch I have even marched in a Whale Day parade… (Excerpt)


Read my whole story in the


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