1-minute interview with Susan Kunz
I have to admit, I took personal pleasure putting together this week’s interview. Susan Noanoa Kunz and I have worked together going on six years now – sometimes we were literally desk neighbors! It’s always been fun. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered that we are cousin’s (albeit extremely distant cousins)! She certainly feels like family.
Many of the people in Laie know her well. Born in Salt Lake City, and raised in Samoa, she moved here with her parents and 13 brothers and sisters when her father, Bill Cravens, became General Manager of the Center in 1975. She graduated from both high school and college here. She married here. She had her 8 children here.
Susan’s first job was the summer after her family moved here. She was the weekend switchboard operator working every Saturday for 9 hours at $2.10 an hour. She then worked on property for outside vendors a couple of times. She joined the Marketing Department in 2014. Her current position is Marketing Manager – Hawaii.
Susan, it’s been close to 3 months since the Center has closed. How are you filling your days?
Not a lot has changed work-wise as work hours are the same. I just don’t have the 5-minute commute anymore. And getting ready for work takes about 10 minutes from rolling out of bed to sitting down at my desk. It’s been more peaceful after work and weekends since we don’t have as many scheduled activities. I’ve been working on the grass in my backyard and almost have all the bare parts covered with green now.
What do you do to keep your spirits up?
I make sure I read my scriptures every morning, do something positive every day, go to the beach more often, started baking again, read, pull weeds, tease my kids, and keep in touch with family regularly through text, calls and zoom.
Can you tell us about another time in your life where you may have utilized your Polynesian culture and practices to guide you through challenges?
Couldn’t think of one specific instance but here are a couple of thoughts. When my great-grandfather, Pinemua Soliai, became the high chief of our village he refused to do anything that was not in sync with the gospel. So, he would not participate in or support traditions that were not gospel-centered. His example has definitely helped me live by faith. The politeness and manners I learned, living with kindness and love, and the concept of accountability were all taught by my parents and reinforced, growing up in Samoa and here in Laie, by my grandparents, aunts and uncles and the actions of my culture around me. My life has been enriched by the many touches of my Polynesian heritage.
What are you looking most forward to doing once the Polynesian Cultural Center reopens?
Seeing people again – guests as well as co-workers. The Center will be forever changed by this experience but I firmly believe that it will be for the better and I’m so excited to see what the future holds!