(BIVN) – There was an empty chair at the table where the Mauna Kea Management Board gathered on Friday.
Barry Tanaguchi – the President and CEO of KTA Super Stores who served on numerous community boards and business organizations – passed away last week due to medical complications.
At Friday’s meeting in Hilo, the Mauna Kea Management Board passed a resolution conferring to Taniguchi the honorary title of Emeritus Mauna Kea Management Board Director. The board also observed a moment of silence in his honor.
Earlier this week, the Office of Maunakea Management issued this statement:
The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), University of Hawaii at Hilo, is deeply saddened by the passing of Barry Taniguchi. As has been pointed out by all who knew him, Barry was an exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime individual who was willing to take on even the most difficult of tasks if the welfare of our community was at stake.
Such was the case when Barry agreed to serve on the Maunakea Management Board (MKMB), a community-based entity charged with guiding OMKM and UH Hilo Chancellor on the stewardship of Maunakea as established by the 2000 Master Plan. As a member of the original seven-member board, Barry joined other community leaders who represented the interests of Hawaiian culture, astronomy, education, the environment, land management, commercial operations, and the community at large. As the community representative, Barry was instrumental in articulating and implementing the board’s mission to seek a balanced resolution to the various interests impacting the mountain.
Starting from square one, Barry and the MKMB—in close consultation with Kahu Ku Mauna, the native Hawaiian advisory council established by the Master Plan—worked to develop a respectful working relationship between all parties capable of rendering fair and reasoned decisions.
Throughout this process, Barry was always the consummate board member—focused and always well-prepared. He literally spent hundreds of hours studying the many complex issues that demanded the attention of the Board, the Office, and the University.
After serving 12 years, Barry returned to MKMB in 2018. He did so out of concern that the controversy over the construction of the TMT was often ill-informed and was undermining the years of hard work that was invested by many groups and individuals in the community-based decision-making process.
The loss of Barry Taniguchi will be felt by people throughout the state, and we at OMKM are no exception. We can only console ourselves with the knowledge that Barry’s many contributions will serve as his lasting legacy as they continue to affect the many causes he was involved in, including Maunakea, now and into the future.