Council bill would name building after Aunty Dottie

  • Merrie Monarch Festival President Luana Kawelu, right, poses with her mother, Dorothy "Aunty Dottie" Thompson," the festival co-founder and president who died in 2010, in this undated file photo.

A building at the Ho‘olulu Complex in Hilo would be named after Dorothy Thompson, also known as Aunty Dottie, under a bill expected to be heard by a Hawaii County Council committee next month.

The Merrie Monarch Festival leases the building, which would be renamed the Aunty Dottie Thompson Hale, in honor of the festival’s late executive director. The building, which currently doesn’t have a name, is located next to Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Lu‘au Hale.

Hilo County Council member Sue Lee Loy is introducing the measure. Her office said in a press release that the bill is expected to be taken up by the council’s Public Works and Parks and Recreation Committee at its Feb. 6 meeting in Hilo.

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Public testimony will be accepted. A time has not been set.

Thompson, who oversaw transformation of the Merrie Monarch into a world-class hula competition, served as its executive director from 1968 until her death in 2010. She was also a Department of Parks and Recreation employee for more than 30 years.

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The festival is run by her daughter, Luana Kawelu.

The press release says internal discussions about naming a county facility after Thompson began in December 2016. If approved, the ordinance would take effect May 16, on her birthday.