Maui Business

Maui Girl Wins People’s Choice in Dream Car Art Contest

April 27, 2017, 3:04 PM HST
* Updated April 30, 8:28 AM
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Hiʻilei and her family this past Saturday on Oʻahu at the Toyota Hawaiʻi in Mapunapuna.

Toyota Hawaiʻi announced the winners of the 6th Annual Toyota Hawaiʻi Dream Car Art Contest, where students conjured up their versions of the cars of the future.

For the eight to 11 year old category, 9-year-old Hiʻilei Kaina of Hāna Elementary School on Maui won the People’s Choice for her drawing, “Lava Tube.”

She was the lone Maui winner among the list of finalists.

Talent, creativity and compassion stole the spotlight as the winners of the contest were announced over the weekend.

This year’s first place winners are:

  • Aja Middleton (Oʻahu, age 7) Her “Adult Play Car” offers the opportunity for some fun! As Middleton explains, “Adults who are stressed at work come to this car to play and have fun like a kid. After leaving the car, adults are able to help the world, because they are happier and more creative.” Aja attends Punahou School.
  • Raphael Stark (Oʻahu, age 10) His “Toyota Regeneration Car” regenerates limbs and organs. Stark shares that the car “does this by using the DNA of animals with regenerative abilities like salamanders, spiders, and starfish. The car can go to anyone, anywhere.” Raphael is homeschooled.
  • For the eight to 11 year old category, 9-year-old Hiʻilei Kaina of Hāna Elementary School on Maui won the People’s Choice for her drawing, “Lava Tube.”


    Sophie Stark (Oʻahu, age 12) Her “Toyota Seeds of Memory Car” addresses the plight of the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or any form of dementia. She says it enables them to “remember significant events in their life. The cars grow out of the ground, and when fully sprouted, the dream cars fly up and find an elderly person who needs a seed of memory in their life.” Sophie is homeschooled.


This year’s winners were selected by a panel of judges, which included: renowned artists Kamea Hader and Mark Chai, Assistant Dean Song K. Choi, Ph.D from the UH College of engineering and TV celebrity judges, Justin Cruz, Brenton Awa, and Lacy Deniz.

New this year was a partnership with the College of Engineering at the University of Hawaiʻi that resulted in 3D printed models of the winning designs, recognizing this new partnership and its commitment to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), Toyota Hawaiʻi donated $5,000 to the college.

“We are very impressed with all the entries that came in. The solutions these kids are offering are truly inspiring as they address problems that impact our own community and the world. This year’s winners have incredibly sophisticated ideas and coupled those ideas with outstanding drawings,” said Rick Ching, president of Toyota Hawaiʻi. “It’s very exciting to see these ideas ‘come to life’ through the 3D print of the winning designs with our new partnership with the College of Engineering.”


Toyota Hawaiʻi’s top three and grand-prize winners in each age category won iPad mini 4s. First and second runners-up for each age category received $100. The top three entries from each age group also were entered in the international competition where winners can win an all-expenses paid trip to Japan.

The runners-up in each age category as well as the winners for the People’s Choice Vote are:

Under Eight Years-Old:
3rd Place: Phoebe Hiroshima (Iolani School, age 7) “Caring on Home Wheels.”
2nd Place: Elan Dela Cruz (Ma‘ema‘e Elementary, age 6) “Interpreta.”
People’s Choice (143 votes): Chase Nakamura-Young (Punahou School, age 7) “The Hovering Floaty Mobile.”

Eight to 11 Years-Old:
3rd Place: Chrissy Hori (Sacred Hearts Academy, age 9) “Cellucar.”
2nd Place: Kailer Ogata (Saint Patrick School, age 10) “Let’s Drive for World Peace.”
People’s Choice (106 votes): Hi‘ilei Kaina (Hāna Elementary School, age 9) “Lava Tube.”

12 to 15 Years-Old:
3rd Place: Camille Quindica (Kapolei Middle School, age 12) “Toyota Tans-Mod.”
2nd Place: Laie Akana (Kapolei Middle School, age 12) “Toyota Guardian.”
People’s Choice (500 votes): Megan Ibara (Kaiser High School, age 14) “Music by the Sea.”

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