Designer of Hawaii’s rainbow driver’s license shares life advice

"To get anything done, the three D's must be present: Determination, Dedication and Discipline."

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Raised by her parents, Hubert and Frances Alice Kaonohilani Park in Waikiki-Kapahulu, Fran Palama started surfing at 10 years old while attending St. Augustine School on Paoakalani Avenue. She later graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1967. Two years later, she completed her Associate Police Science Degree and was hired by the Honolulu Police Department as a License Examiner.

As a wife, mother of four, working and attending night classes, she graduated in 1974 with her Criminal Justice Degree from Chaminade University and later became the licensing supervisor and designed the Rainbow Hawaii Driver’s License.

The department was involved with many community organizations and she volunteered to assist with the youth groups.

“At the department, volunteering was a way of life,” she says.

From camping at Mokuleia with wayward youths to community clean ups and helping special needs children, she would look forward to meeting everyone.

“Little did I know that these many countless hours and involvement was preparing me for volunteering and engagement throughout the communities in Hawaii and across the Pacific to becoming a Board of Trustee on various non-profit organizations,” Palama explains. “It felt extremely rewarding to give back unconditionally to many much-needed services in the communities.”

After retirement, she had a higher calling to restore sacred sites and hale pule. Palama returned to school at 50 years old and later graduated with her PhD in Indigenous Architecture from the School of Architecture at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

As part of the Practicum, she and her classmates James Niimoto, and Wylan Marquez designed the new Ka Papa Lo’i O Kanewai Cultural Resource Center that was built on the campus. During that time, she also started her own company, Maunakai & Associates, named after her first five grandsons.

Palama’s company offered students from high school to college on various disciplines to be part of the Student-Internship program. It offered endless possibilities from full-time employment to sharpening skill sets to actively engage with volunteering in communities.

“By helping to improve and transform communities, we also are helping families to achieve independence, strengthened relationships and have a better quality of life,” she adds.

Palama has this to share with future generations:

“Be patient and have perseverance in all that we do — and get it done,” she says. “But to get anything done, the three D’s must be present: Determination, Dedication and Discipline‚Ķ and the challenging of them all is ‘Discipline.'”