The Friends of the Natatorium, which maintains this site, advocates for the preservation and restoration of the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial. We seek the return of this spectacular facility to active recreational use by the families of Oahu and by visitors to Hawai’i.
The 100-meter ocean pool was opened in 1927 as a tribute to more than 10,000 servicemen from Hawai’i who served in World War I, including the 101 who died in that war. It was Territorial Hawaii’s official monument to their service and sacrifice, designed as a “living memorial” and as a symbol of the way of life they fought to defend. The Friends believes that, in allowing the Natatorium to deteriorate and eventually to close, the state of Hawai’i and city and county of Honolulu shamefully broke faith with and dishonored those World War I soldiers and sailors.
Neglect of the Natatorium also broke faith with the generations of Hawai’i families who brought children to learn to swim in its waters, with the heroes of Hawai’i who competed there in national and international aquatic competitions, and with all who love the history and cultural legacy that make Hawai’i unique among the 50 states.
The Friends of the Natatorium was incorporated in 1986 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since then, its volunteer directors and supporters have worked tirelessly to educate government officials and the general public about the Natatorium’s epic past and potential future. Every year since 1989, the group has sponsored a Memorial Day Weekend observance in the park outside the Natatorium to honor America’s war dead and veterans and to keep faith with those in whose memory the Natatorium was built.
To learn more about what you can do to help us Remember, Respect and Renew the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial, visit our “What else can I do?” page. To donate to our effort, go to our contributions page. You can contact us here.
The present board of directors, carrying on the Friends’ quarter-century of ardent advocacy, includes Peter Apo, president; Donna L. Ching, vice president; Jim Anderson, treasurer; Yvonne Geesey, secretary; and directors Frank Weight, Bruce Smith, Jill Byus Radke, Mo Radke and Simon Tetlow.
We owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to avid supporters and past members of the board of directors of the Friends of the Natatorium. Far too many of them have dedicated decades of tireless advocacy and died without seeing the Natatorium restored to its intended use. Supporters and past directors include:
– Joan Sheeran Apo, former executive director of the Friends of the Natatorium
– *Fred W. Ballard, longtime activist on veterans’ issues
– *Nancy Bannick, philanthropist and historic preservationist
– *Maleka Brown, former lifeguard and matron of the Natatorium
– Eric Crispin
– Patty Doo
– F. Donald Duckworth, PhD, former president of the Bishop Museum
– John Henry Felix, former Honolulu city councilman
– William P. Kozlovsky, lieutenant commander, U.S. Coast Guard, retired
– Lydia Lake
– *Roger Lee
– Spencer Leinewebber
– Michelle Matson
– *Mary Jane McMurdo, former state senator
– Eric Minuth
– *Katherine “Kay” Napoleon, widow of Walter Napoleon, last superintendent of the Natatorium
– John Nielsen
– Lin Pang
– Ed Pskowski
– Victor Rittenband
– *Alice Shelly
– C. Bruce Smith, admiral, U.S. Navy, retired
– Walter Tagawa, major general, U.S. Army, retired
– André S. Tatibouet, Aston Hotels founder
– Earl Pamai Tenn
– Alan Voronaeff, former Kapiolani Park Preservation Society president
– Ron Yasui