Blue Zones Project — North Hawaii accomplishments shared

  • Blue Zones Project staff members Sue Dela Cruz and Dena Smith lead North Hawaii volunteers, individuals and groups on numerous efforts to help improve their well-being. (COURTESY PHOTO/BZNH)

NORTH HAWAII — Since the official kick-off event in October 2015, Blue Zones Project — North Hawaii staff and volunteers have worked tireless hours educating thousands of residents on ways to live longer, better.

Efforts have included walking and potluck moais, purpose workshops and events at local churches, schools and businesses.


Earlier this month, statistics were released highlighting accomplishments in North Hawaii to date, including individual pledges secured; organizations, schools, restaurants, grocery stores and worksites registered; as well as those who have completed all requirements to be Blue Zones approved organizations as of Dec. 1.

More than 2,200 North Hawaii residents have signed Blue Zones Project personal pledges to improve their lifestyles. Nearly 500 have joined a moai to socialize and support healthy behavior and 793 have attended workshops to determine their life purposes.

Six faith-based organizations in the region have registered to participate in the Blue Zones Project, and Kohala Seventh-Day Adventist Church, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Abundant Life Ministries and Waikoloa Community Church have become Blue Zones approved.

Five North Hawaii grocery stores have registered, making it easier for residents to shop healthier. KTA Super Stores Waimea, KTA Waikoloa and Foodland Waimea are now Blue Zones approved.

Thirteen restaurants have registered. Of these, Sea Dandelion, Big Island Brewhaus, Kohala Coffee Mill, Under the Bodhi Tree, Sushi Rock and Trio, Kohala Village HUB and Redwater Cafe are now Blue Zones approved.

Eleven schools are registered to participate in the Blue Zones Project, with Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kohala Elementary and Parker School approved.

Eighteen worksites are registered to begin helping their employees be healthy at work. Going a step further, Hawaii First Federal Credit Union North, KTA Super Stores Waimea, KTA Super Stores Waikoloa, Tutu and Me North Hawaii and Hilton Grand Vacations are Blue Zones approved.

In addition, eight policy workshops and three walking audits have been held in North Hawaii to identify community priorities in tobacco, food and built environment on Hawaii Island.

Two Blue Zones Project employees have gone the extra mile to reach their goals securing approved organizations: Sue Dela Cruz, North Hawaii’s engagement lead, and Organization Lead Dena Smith Ellis.

“We congratulate them on their achievements,” Tina Stuart said, one of the original Blue Zones Project Leadership Committee members. “The North Hawaii community has so benefited from their skills and talents. Their view on community outreach has been very well received and should be the model of excellence that the whole Blue Zones Hawaii Project follows.”


Although Dela Cruz and Smith’s contracts with Blue Zones Project end later this month, volunteer efforts will continue to be guided by East and West Hawaii Project staff.

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