Private Kaimuki music venue needs help of patrons

Place Kaimuki
Text Gary Chun
Art Jimmy Edens
Thread music

If you're a longtime music fan living in Honolulu, you've probably visited Ward's Rafters, in upper Kaimuki, at least once. The private family home has operated as a community venue for small weekend concerts of all kinds through its unique historical context and support from loyal patrons that have numbered in the many thousands over the decades.

Established by the late spirit of Jackie Ward and sustained by her son Larry, the house was showing its age last year, and Larry reached out to the venue's fans via a private email list to help defray needed repair costs. The campaign was a success.

Now, another cost has come up. In an email sent out Wednesday afternoon, Ward is asking for help in a more crucial matter.

According to him, "my brother who became part owner of our home after Jackie’s passing two and a half years ago is threatening a partition suit if I don’t buy him out. A partition suit would force me to sell our home. He has not lived in our house since the early '70s and has not been involved with any aspect of the care, maintenance, renovations, many additions or other expenses of living on our property, so he is willing to settle for $400,000. This is considerably less than the 49 percent of the market value of our home he is entitled to.

"I have till the end of spring or about another month to make this happen," Ward writes. "My wife and I can qualify for a $300,000 mortgage which means we would need to raise the remaining $100,000 in order to assume full control over our home and keep Ward’s Rafters going."

So time is of the essence to raise that kind of money over the next 30 days, and Ward realizes that he'll have to expand his plea beyond the immediate Rafters ohana.

And we're doing our part to help. If you've enjoyed your weekend visits to the home, please consider donating via PayPal at or make out a check to Laurence Ward and send it via snail mail to 3810 Maunaloa Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816. His phone number is (808) 732-7717.

It's a good way to say mahalo to the Wards for their unerring support for the local music and arts community.


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