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3 things you need to know about hawaii

By Kai Simmonds

If you're planning to come to Hawaii, or even any other tropical island (the same may apply) PLEASE READ THIS... #hawaiitravel #hawaiilife #hilife #hawaii #oahulife #alohaalways #aloha #waikikitravel

we grew here, you flew here

I was born and raised on the island of Oahu, I am not a Native Hawaiian- my mother is Filipino and my father is a mix of European descent and 12 years ago I left Hawaii. Over the past 10 years, I have seen Hawaii transform into what it is today- and it is nothing like the Hawaii I grew up in, and I don't mean that in a good way.

If you are visiting Hawaii, you may probably hear the word "Haole."

A Haole is something us locals would call a white person, or a tourist. Haole means "foreigner," but when you break down the word further it means Ha- Breath, Ole- Without or a person without breath (life). That is the how foreigners are described as people without breath, without life- ouch! Harsh right?

Well imagine someone coming over to your home and locking up your beloved queen and holding her hostage until she is forced to give up her home/land. Well thats a 5 second history of Hawaii right there- so you can understand how there is still a lot of pain and anger from the Native Hawaiians toward the haoles. Check out this youtube for the FULL picture.

When you come here, you are a haole, you are a foreigner, a visitor- this island does not belong to you ( read more here). The ocean, nature, and the culture is not just made up tropical Disneyland for your amusement.

When you come here, or anywhere take a minute to learn about the local culture, the history, the people- do not come here with a sense of entitlement just because you paid for an overpriced hotel room in Waikiki.

You are a foreigner, Hawaii may be a part of the United States but this is not your land.

Respect the locals

Before coming to Hawaii, you may have seen locals depicted in movies and tv series as friendly, little brown people welcoming you with a smile and a lei- yeah NO. That's just in the movies.

If you're staying in Waikiki, the locals working there are part of the hospitality industry, they understand and are paid to be friendly, welcoming because it is their job. Waikiki is full of hotels, overpriced restaurants, tourists and we know this- this little Hawaiian fantasy was created for your enjoyment and for our economical benefit.

But when you leave Waikiki, do not expect the same treatment. The rest of Hawaii is home to locals and Native Hawaiians and we have a certain code of conduct here- called Aloha and Malama. Aloha means love and in Hawaiian Alo- to be/with and Ha- breath, to be with the breath/life and Malama means to Respect and Take Care of.

We live Aloha, and we malama ( take care) of one another, not just the people but the earth, the land. So when you're coming into our homes show some Aloha and Malama- respect the local traditions, don't trash the land, don't harm the animals, and don't assume that everyone wants to you to be around. Respect us and you most like experience the Aloha Spirit- or the Magic of Hawaii.

sit down, be humble

If you're still reading at this point, and feel a little triggered or uncomfortable by the strong tone and message- then let me assure there is a happy ending to this post.

As I mentioned above, Hawaii is a magical place but as someone born and raised here both myself and others have left or leave due to the rising cost of living and influx of wealthy investors pricing the locals and Native Hawaiians out of their homes.

So if you are visiting or planning to move here -be mindful of this, if you are respectful, considerate and most importantly humble- you won't have a problem.

While you're here in Hawaii, please do interact with us locals, please do ask us questions and get curious - but not about the best place to find a mai tai, but rather get curious about Hawaii's culture, its's history, it's people.

Take an hour to do some research on Hawaiian history, donate to a local organization, buy local, support the local business and sit down and listen. Check out the Malama Program for more information and activities.

Listen to our stories, listen to our history, and listen to our people.

And when you're done, share the news, spread the knowledge- as we say in Hawaii, Live Aloha.

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