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O‘AHU – Mayor Rick Blangiardi and the Honolulu City Council are proud to announce the City and County of Honolulu is the recipient of two
2021 Voice of the People Awards (VOPA) for “Transformation in Parks & Recreation” and “Transformation in Health & Wellness!”

In the applications for the City and County of Honolulu, prepared by the Office of the City Auditor (OCA), the City was lauded for its interagency outreach efforts for under-served communities such as the houseless and kūpuna. Examples of these efforts during the survey timeframe include the
completion of renovations to the Hale Mauliola Navigation Center, the installation of community gardens in City-subsidized housing, and the City’s pandemic communication efforts through and the COVID call center. Since its launch in March 2020, the website was visited nearly nine million times with the call center recording 100,000 public interactions. Both of these resources were vital in addressing community concerns about the dynamic health and COVID mitigation policies throughout the pandemic.

For improvements in parks and recreation, numerous accomplishments were highlighted, including: the improvement & expansion of park facilities through the
Kākou for Parks Program (such as pickleball courts), increasing access to Parks & Rec programs with online enrollment through the Parks and Recreation Online System (PROS), digital classes offered during the pandemic including our Kupuna in the Park and Nā Pāka ma ka Halevideos, and special events conducted virtually such as the Talk Story Festival, Virtual Wa‘a Fest, and Nā Hula Festival.

“We very much appreciate and are grateful to have the efforts of our City ‘ohana recognized, especially on a national level,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “Even more encouraging, the source of these awards was based on input from a survey of our constituents. Mahalo to the people of O‘ahu for staying engaged in our City efforts, and for contributing their time and input to help us better understand and improve our communities.”

“Real change can’t happen without many different hands coming together and any award or recognition should be shared with our community members who have tirelessly worked to help those who need it the most,” said Honolulu Emergency Services Director Dr. Jim Ireland.  

“OCA was honored to submit these applications on behalf of our partner city and county departments,” said City Auditor Arushi Kumar. “While our work usually examines government programs needing some improvement, it is equally important for us to recognize areas where we are already succeeding and excelling in providing vital community services. It is truly a privilege to work closely with all involved departments and staff.”

The City and County of Honolulu was one of ten municipalities across the nation to receive a 2021 VOPA, and one of only three of those jurisdictions to win multiple awards.

VOPA are the only national awards given in local government based on the opinion of community residents. They are presented jointly by National Research Center at Polco and the International City & County Management Association. Both organizations commented that the 2021 awards were very competitive, with only those jurisdictions which received the most improved ratings in the
National Community Survey, and illustrated actions taken to benefit their communities, selected as winners or finalists. The 2021 VOPA were based on results from the
2020 National Community Survey
, which compared results across 600 communities.  

Once nominated, jurisdictions were given the opportunity to submit an application describing actions they took in response to their survey data. A panel of judges selected winners based on how well the cities showcased those thoughtful efforts. Mahalo to the people of O‘ahu for contributing their support, signified by these awards.

If you need an auxiliary aid/service, other accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please contact the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email

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