HHF at 40 Years: The 80s

April 13, 2020

New Beginnings!

As the 80s kicked off, so did a daring Honolulu-based planning firm started by Mark Hastert & Larry Helber, which became the planning division of architects Wimberly, Whisenand, Allison, Tong & Goo.


Helber Hastert Van Horn & Kimura, Planners (1985)
Helber, Hastert & Kimura, Planners (1987)


Nancy Nishikawa, Former HHF Planner (’84)
I was indeed the first employee to join the Fab 4 😊 Back in the day, the office was located in Waikiki in what was the Bank of Hawaii Building on Kalakaua Avenue (sorry I don’t remember the street address). Views from inside the building were (and probably still are) spectacular with windows framed by concrete arches.  I still recall the feeling of disconnect when I’d put down serious planning work to go out to lunch and find myself mingling with people in beachwear and smelling of coconut oil.  Not the typical corporate work environment, but never dull. 
HHVH&K was in the same building as WATG whose offices were separate and had an exotic artsy vibe.  Especially magical was a loft space occupied by WATG’s talented modelmaker.  He’d be surrounded by tiny palms and cabanas and water features.  Best of all, he didn’t seem to mind people wandering in to check out what he was up to.  I think all of us at HHVH&K would escape to his little world now and then.
Navy planning work began soon after I joined the company.  On one of the early overseas trips, we went “high tech” and brought two transportable computers.  They were big and heavy—maybe 30 pounds—and I still don’t know how we managed to bring them onboard as carry-ons because those steel boxes certainly didn’t fit under the seat.  I don’t remember taking transportables again; we took the magic markers.
Leslie Kurisaki, Associate (’86)
“When I started at HHVH&K in summer 1986, there were 4 partners (Helber, Hastert, Van Horn and Kimura) and I think only 4 planners–Nancy, Tom, Kevin, and Linda (who left shortly after). Vicki was the receptionist and Lori was our graphic artist.
Project Memory: A couple months after I started work, I was thrown into the fire and sent to Yokosuka Japan for 4 weeks with Glenn and Nancy. The project was the Yokosuka Naval Complex Master Plan. It was extra stressful for me since I was still adjusting to moving back to Hawaii (after living in CA for last 9 yrs), was not familiar with military work, and was totally clueless about all the Navy acronyms and jargon.
The “master plan”  we prepared was hand drawn by Glenn (with assistance from Lori who came for the last 2 weeks) on a huge base map that covered the entire wall. Nancy and I lugged around multiple three-ring binders of reference material (no laptops). The best memories from the trip had to be the food at Yokosuka. No matter how busy, we always made time to eat dinner at the local restaurants. An unforgettable memory at one tiny restaurant was when I walked into the restroom and encountered a Japanese man doing his business at a urinal. The restrooms were unisex—which I totally didn’t expect. Although I was startled, the man at the urinal didn’t flinch as I hurried past him to the stall, trying to avert my eyes.” 😊
Tom Fee, President (’85)
Seems like yesterday.  I think the picture was taken in Mark’s office – he gave me a corner of his credenza to park my state-of-the-art Compaq Portable computer on (small green screen – in a box the size of a sewing machine case).  The partners all had voice recorders that Vickie would type from using headphones and her IBM Selectric – with a correction key!!!  We were pretty closely aligned with WATG at the time – lots of socializing and shared projects – and as Nancy noted – really a creative vibe with endless Waikiki lunch options.  We moved to our current Downtown location in 1986 so the one or two years in Waikiki really left an impression on me.
Kevin Young, Former HHF Planner (’86)
I joined HHF or at the time, HHVH&K  sometime in 1986 as a physical planner working directly with Larry Helber. I had been saving all of my vacation and money to make a trip to Australia. When I quit my previous job, I thought, darn, there goes my goal of getting to Australia! Then I walked in to my interview with Larry and he asks me, “Are you single, can you travel…primarily to Australia?”  I was like, “Where do I sign?” He hired me and month and half later we were off to Australia!  Over the next 3-4 years, I got to see most of Australia!
At the time, most of our work was on resort master plans for developers who would buy a piece of land, have us do a resort master plan and then flip the land for a profit based on our master plan.
It was a very fun time with all these huge resorts located in Hawai‘i, Malaysia, Australia and around Southeast Asia. I loved working with Larry and have always said, he was my boss, my partner, my friend, my mentor and my hero!

Memorable Work

  • Honolulu Waterfront Master Plan, O‘ahu,
  • Whitmore Village Master Plan, Wahiawā, O‘ahu
  • Kahuku Town Master Plan, Kahuku, O‘ahu
  • Waialua District Master Plan, Waialua, O‘ahu
  • Kapolei Village Master Plan, ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
  • West Loch Estates Master Plan, ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
  • Mililani-Mauka Residential Community Master Plan and EIS, O‘ahu
  • Central O‘ahu/North Shore Regional Plan, O‘ahu
  • Malakole Industrial Subdivision Site Plan, ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
  • Pearl Harbor Naval Complex Capital Improvement Plan, O‘ahu
  • ‘O‘oma Resort Master Plan, North Kona, Hawai‘i Island
  • Awake‘e Resort Master Plan, North Kona, Hawai‘i Island
  • Kohanaiki Resort Community Master Plan, North Kona, Hawai‘ Island
  • Kapolei Area Long Range Master Plan, ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
  • Desaru International Resort, Johor, Malaysia
  • Hawai‘i Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park Master Plan, North Kona, Hawai‘i Island
  • Puakō Mauka Master Plan, North Kona, Hawai‘i Island
  • Kapolei City EA, EIS, LUC, DP & Zoning Applications, ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
  • Kona Industrial Subdivision EA & EIS, North Kona, Hawai‘i Island
  • Amfac Entertainment Attraction EIS and DP Application, ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
  • Mililani-Mauka EIS, LUC and DP Amendment, Central O‘ahu
  • Malakole Industrial Subdivision EA, DP, Zoning and SMP Applications,
  • ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
  • Pioneer Inn EA and SMP Application, Lahaina, Maui
  • ‘O‘oma Resort EA & GP Amendment Application, North Kona, Hawai‘i
  • Awake‘e Resort EA & GP Amendment Application, Kona, Hawai‘i Island
  • Kaka‘ako Community Development District Plan, Draft SEIS,
  • O‘ahu
  • Kohanaiki Resort Community EA & GP Amendment, EIS, LUC, Zoning
  • and SMP, North Kona, Hawai‘i Island
  • Kapolei Area Long Range Master Plan Report, ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
  • Resort Due Diligence Investigation, South Kohala, Hawai‘i Island
  • Comprehensive Public Access Plan, Kohanaiki Resort, North Kona,
  • Hawai‘i Island
  • Kaka‘ako Makai Area Phasing/Relocation Strategy, O‘ahu
  • Waialua Plantation Plan, Waialua, O‘ahu
  • Waialua Golf Course Market Study, Waialua, O‘ahu
  • Resort Site Assessment Study, Mo‘orea, French Polynesia
  • Johnson Atoll Base Beautification Plan
  • Retirement Community Market Study, Mililani, O‘ahu
  • Royal Reef Resort, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
  • Hawaiian Palace and Hawaiian Riviera Resorts, Hawai‘i Island

HOT in the 80s

Around Downtown

  • Beards
  • Big Hair
  • Mu‘umu‘u Fridays
  • Pantyhose EVERYDAY
  • Inside-Out Reyn’s Spooner’s Shirts

How We Worked

  • Drafting Boards
  • Rapidograph Markers
  • MS-DOS
  • Wang Computers
  • 5″ Floppy Disks
  • Planimeters!
  • Kroy Machines (pre-AutoCAD)
  • Carousel Slide Projectors
  • Ammonia Blueprint Machines

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