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New book shares fond memories of growing up on a Big Island sugar plantation

Courtesy "Family Stories from the Plantation and Beyond"

Sugar cane plantations are a significant part of Hawaiʻi’s history and life on them is often portrayed as disadvantaged or troubled. But Hawaiʻi Island native Pieper Toyama had a different experience.

He grew up in Paʻauilo in the 1950s and '60s on land owned by the Hamakua Mill Company. He shares fond stories of that time in his new book, "Family Stories from the Plantation and Beyond."

The retired educator spent decades teaching at Big Island schools. He served as headmaster at Parker School in the 90s when The Conversation’s Russell Subiono was a student. Toyama was most recently at Pacific Buddhist Academy on Oʻahu.

The two sat down at Hawaiʻi Public Radio to talk about how the pandemic and social media provided an unexpected opportunity to become an author.

Toyama will be signing books at the Pacific Buddhist Academy’s Artist Showcase on Thursday, April 6 from 4-7 p.m.

This interview aired on The Conversation on March 16, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation and host of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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