Big Island welcomes New Year’s Day babies Kālenakū and Keoni
Before going out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks, pregnant Kristine Norita was at her home in Kea‘au sterilizing the breast pump, bottles and readying other newborn items in preparation for her fifth child who was due on Jan. 13.
But her son had other plans. She started feeling contractions that were growing closer and closer. Kristine Norita told her husband Gus at 11 p.m. that it was time. She watched the fireworks from her car as Gus drove to Hilo Medical Center.
When they got to the hospital, it took only three hours and four pushes for Kristine Norita to deliver Keoni Gilbert Marpuri Norita at 2:48 a.m., weighing 7 pounds and measuring 20 inches in length.
Keoni was the second New Year’s Day baby born on the Big Island. The first appears to be Kālenakū Līliaanuhea. She was born at Queen’s North Hawai‘i Community Hospital in Waimea at 2:06 a.m. to mother Tory Jones and father, Kahi Kaiwa. It also appears she was the first baby born in in the Aloha State in 2023.
According to the hospital spokesperson Lynn Scully, Kālenakū was the first baby born among other Queen’s hospitals statewide.
Kona Community Hospital didn’t release any information regarding the births of New Year’s Day babies.
The second baby born in the state appears to be from Maui Memorial Medical Center. Saumalu Mata’afa and Marissa Petsas of Kihei welcomed their son, Lio Vasa Petsas Mata’afa, who was born at 2:25 a.m. on Sunday at the hospital, weighing in at 8 pounds, 10.3 ounces and 20 inches in length.
On Kaua’i, the first baby arrived at 2:45 a.m. at Wilcox Medical Center. Taufa Hoamofaleono Pua Melia Koli was born weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces and is 20 inches long.
Taufa is the third child of Hawaiki Oliver and Isileli Vaka Koli, of Wainiha.
At Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center in Honolulu, ‘Ihilani Keama was the first to arrive in 2023 at 3:04 a.m. She was born to Caitlyn Chee and Maikalani Keama of Kaneohe.
Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children on O’ahu reported 19 babies born on New Year’s Day, but did not release information regarding the earliest birth.