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Journalism instructor Noyes wins Po'okela

by Allen Artiss, staff writer


Most communication majors at HPU are familiar with HPU’s most Po‘okela award winner, Martha Noyes. An adjunct at HPU for the past seven years, each semester Noyes teaches COM 3400, professional writing, and journalism classes such as feature writing and news writing. A writer and artist, Noyes has won many awards. Her achievements include a Pa‘i and a Kahili award for two feature stories she wrote for the Spirit of Aloha. She won a Kahili for a TV documentary series she wrote and produced. She also wrote the script for the documentary, Then There

Martha Noyes
Were None, which won her a Cine Golden Eagle award. And she won the Lauren Tarr Gill poetry award, for the Best Poem of 2001. Noyes expressed surprise at receiving this recent Po‘okela, for Excellence in General Hawaiian Culture, for her illustration of Beatrice H. Krauss' book, Plants in Hawaiian Medicine, published by Bess Press. The Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards is sponsored by the Hawaii Book Academy, composed of more than 500 librarians, publishers, retailers, and others supporters of the publishing arts. Each year the HBA honors authors, publishers, designers, and illustrators for their work in several categories.

Noyes’ expertise in Hawaiian history and culture result from residence in the islands virtually all her life with the exception of eight years she spent working in Hollywood. Noyes said she has always had interest in indigenous cultures and a rather unusual way of looking at things.

She attributes these interests to her unusual upbringing. She remembers when her father, a famous physician, took her to stay at the house of the governor of Arkansas, and chose to pitch a tent in the forest of the enormous estate rather than stay in the governor’s mansion. Noyes spent much of her childhood in Europe, where her father was often a visiting professor at universities. Fluent in several languages, Noyes graduated from Punahou in ’67, and went to Hollywood, where she worked whatever gig came her way, including playing a decomposing bride in a horror film and a hooker on the TV series Mike Hammer. She recalls struggling, going to happy hour at bars to scrounge for free food, saying “a big dinner was extra popcorn.”

Noyes also played a bit part in Punchline, starring Tom Hanks and was a production assistant for Who Framed Roger Rabbit? As she worked her way through the movie business, she sold two screenplays to Paramount Pictures, one about a pimp she had met once while living in Honolulu.

Noyes also went to several colleges for seven years, and instead of going for a major, she took whatever classes she was interested in. Noyes said, “I was raised in a non-linear fashion, which I think is natural, so I don’t ever do things in a linear way.”

For a short while, Noyes was a Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion girl and dated the infamous Billy Bob Thornton. She lived for an entire summer on a Navajo reservation, which she says further enlarged her ability to see things in different ways.

Noyes returned to Hawai‘i a newlywed, and completed undergraduate work at HPU, majoring in Communication Arts. She got her Masters at the University of Hawai‘i Manoa in Communications in 1978.

Noyes has already had what anyone would agree to be an incredible life, with more achievements than most people could hope to accomplish, but she says there is still more to come, and that the pinnacle of her life is on its way. She added,

“The best part better be coming; it’s the only thing that keeps me going.”


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