The term "Hawaiian" is only properly applied to those of Hawaiian blood.  Anyone who lives on The Aloha Islands is called an "islander" or "resident."  Those who have lived on Hawaii for a long time, whatever ancestry or place of birth, are known as kamaaina.  Newcomers to Hawaii are known as malihiniHaole means foreigner, or non-Hawaiian.  Today it is mostly used to refer to Caucasians of American or European descent.

About 71% of the state's population live on Oahu, with most of the population concentrated in or near Honolulu - the state capital.  Honolulu is quite cosmopolitan. However, you can find seclusion and privacy on most other parts of Oahu; including the great, uncrowded beaches on the windward side of the island.

The other islands (known as the neighbor islands) don't have the same densely populated area and - except for resort and tourist areas - are quite rural.  This is particularly true of the Big Island.

United States Census Bureau 2006 statistics:  Population - 1,285,498; Women - 50.0%; Disability status - 13.2%; Sixty-five years and over - 13.9%; Language other than English spoken at home - 23.5%; Foreign-born - 16.3%; Median age - 37.2; High school grads - 89.0%; College grads - 29.7%; Per capita income - $27,251.; Home ownership rate (2000 Census) - 56.5%; Median household income - $61,160.; Median home value - $529,700.; Median rental fees - $1,116.; Average family size - 3.45; Persons per square mile (2000 Census) 188.6; Asians (Japanese, Filipino, Chinese and Korean) - 39.9%; Caucasians - 26.3%; Hawaiians - 8.7%; Hispanic - 7.8%; African-Americans - 2.2%; Somoans - 1.0%; American Indian and Alaska Native - 0.3%; Bi-racial - 21.5%.

The influx of peoples and cultures is one of the reasons Hawaii today is such a melting pot of ethnicity.  The Hawaiian population mirrors the ethnic diversity of the state.  Foods, festivals, architecture and languages reflect the many cultures that co-exist on the islands.  Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Tahiti, Tonga, New Zealand, Samoa, the United States and several European countries have contributed to the rich mix of cultures on Hawaii.

The ethnic mix, and the acceptance of each other, has led to many mixed marriages.  In fact, about 55% of the state's 27,000 or so yearly marriages are interracial.

Hawaii marriage license and Hawaii marriage certificate information - here.

Today, the Hawaiian people are re-embracing their native culture.  There has been a resurgence of ethnic and racial pride among native Hawaiians, biracial-Hawaiians and others.  The tourist-oriented dances and songs are being replaced or supplemented with authentic ancient hula and chant.  Many yearly festivals celebrate these ancient ceremonies and ways.  More importantly the spirit of Hookipa, which means hospitality, has always been at the core of Hawaiian values.

The hula dance is very popular on the Islands of Aloha and is spreading popularity around the world.  Hula Kahiko, the indigenous style of hula, originated in the Marquesas Islands.  During the 1820s, the American Protestant Missionaries - while converting Hawaiians to Christianity - suppressed the Hula Kahiko.  This ritual, festive and rythmic dance - that involves the hands, arms and lower body - survived in secrecy.  During the 1870s, King David Kalakaua (Hawaii's last king) began the revival of the Hula Kahiko by encouraging public performances.

You will see a lot of people on the islands wearing flowers, either in their hair or around their neck. Both men and women often tuck a blossom behind their ear.  Polynesian custom says if the flower is behind the left ear - the person is taken; behind the right ear - they are available.

The lyrics for the state song, “Hawai‘i Pono‘i,” was written by King David Kalakaua. Hawaii's state flower is the yellow hibiscus, the state bird is the Nene goose (a relative of the Canadian goose) and the state tree is the kukui, or candlenut tree.

The macadamia nut tree came to Hawaii from Australia in the late 1800s.  It was imported as an ornamental tree; not for its nuts.  In the early 1920s, its potential as a snack was realized.

Hawaiian history, language and cultural resource: english.php



Information was gathered from the following sources for the Hawaii Culture page:  US Census Bureau, The National Archives, Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureau, Polynesian Cultural Center,, and Wikipedia.