Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan
Goal 5: Kanaka Maoli Culture and Island Values
Our Kanaka Maoli and island cultures and values are thriving and perpetuated
No aloha, no sustainability.
Hawai‘i residents statewide expressed their respect and aloha for the traditions and values of the Kanaka Maoli and diverse island cultures that make our state unique. One of the strongest themes that emerged from Hawai‘i 2050 was that residents, whether they were born here or not, were attracted to and remain in Hawai‘i because of our island values and lifestyle.
Diversity in practice
Although we are the most ethnically diverse state in the nation, Hawai‘i’s diversity isn’t best appreciated or described through data. It’s most easily understood at the beach parks, where multi-ethnic foods are eaten by tens of thousands of people every weekend, and people of all colors and backgrounds come together to enjoy each other and our natural environment. These celebrations occur for reasons large and small – baby luaus, marriages, football games and surf contests. They show us what Hawai‘i is all about – diversity in practice, not in theory, and the joy that comes with a disorganized and unselfconscious mixing of cultures, culinary traditions and people.
Why are we able to behave this way with each other when so many other ethnically diverse places experience more strife, hardship and animosity? Hawaiian culture is where it all starts. This island way of life originates with Hawai‘i’s indigenous people – the Kanaka Maoli.
The renaissance of Kanaka Maoli culture
Over the last several generations, Kanaka Maoli culture has undergone a remarkable renaissance. Many of us can remember when only a few Kanaka Maoli cultural practitioners were left, and the Kanaka Maoli language and cultural practices seemed on the brink of vanishing. Within the lifetimes of many people today, research and practice in Kanaka Maoli culture, arts and history have flourished. The performances of music and hula have increased dramatically in Hawai’i and throughout the world. We must ensure that our Kanaka Maoli and island values and cultures are preserved and perpetuated. Such traditions and value systems bind and enrich us all, providing a values-based guide for behavior.
Building on diversity for the future
Likewise Hawai‘i’s ethnic diversity and resulting multi-culturalism have contributed significantly to making our state unique. Our many and diverse ethnic groups include but are not limited to African American, Caucasian, Chinese, Filipino, Hispanic, Japanese, Jewish, Kanaka Maoli, Korean, Laotian, Portuguese, Samoan, Tahitian and Vietnamese; all contribute to the vitality of our community. These cultures and traditions make for a colorful and diverse lifestyle.
To preserve our island values, we need to recognize the primacy of the Kanaka Maoli while cultivating the active participation of people of all ethnicities in their practices. Community and ethnic organizations must be supported to ensure that our traditions continue to live and thrive through dance, festivals, education and art.
print this page | download this section (PDF)download full plan (PDF)