Hawai`i: A Unique And Special Place
Updated: Jul 12, 2020
By Karen Chang-Barr
Many people come to Hawai`i every year, as a vacation destination. It’s been in publications and movies worldwide and its iconic features are recognizable by many who’ve watched movies like Blue Hawai`i or television series that include Hawai`i 5-O and Magnum P.I.
In fact, over the years, many returning visitors migrate to Hawai`i to lounge in timeshare condos or stay at the same hotel. However, Hawai`i is more than a tourist destination, it’s an experience of a land with a rich history, scenic landscapes and a cultural cornucopia.
Hawai`i`s Native people, Kanaka Maoli, migrated to the Hawaiian Islands and populated it, lived under a caste system and established a culture that integrated the natural elements and oral history.
With the arrival of the white foreigners, haole, Hawaiian society began to change, bringing in Western cultural practices, including capitalism. This capitalism resulted in a large portion of land in Hawai`i being utilized to grow and export sugar cane and pineapple, and, more importantly, changed the ethnic makeup of Hawai`i.
Workers from China, Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico and Korea came first, followed by the Filipinos. At first, these new immigrants stayed within their own cultural communities, but eventually, integration happened, and Pidgin English emerged as the language all of the immigrants could use to communicate and relate to one another.
World War II catapulted Hawai`i into the international limelight, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, brought many military personnel to live and work to protect America’s interests. Once the War was over, Hawai`i became a destination known for palm trees, beautiful scenery and fueled Hawai`i’s tourism and entertainment industry.
Additionally, many intermarried and blended, not only their own cultures, but integrated Hawaiian culture into their cultural norms. Over the years, tourism and other business interests have created overpopulation and over-development, but there are still many special places in the Hawaiian Island chain that have stories to tell and scenery like none other.
From its unique flora and fauna, to gastronomical finds, Hawai`i has both remnants of its past and elements of its current cultural mix. Yet, its people are what make it special and they share it through their history, businesses, celebrations and oral histories. Over the years, visitors from all over the world flock to its shores to bask in the sun, visit its landmarks and have micro-experiences with its culture.
Hawai`i is a tropical paradise, a romanticized place, a collection of islands that offer unique geological features and histories of the first peoples and adopted communities that create a unique place to visit, beyond it’s tourist label. Visiting it, getting to know it, seeing its beauty in the land and its people—you’ll know you’ve experienced someplace truly exceptional.
As part of the team that was born and raised in Hawai`i, I have a deep connection to my home state and love sharing the aloha in WA, home in Hawai`i and wherever I go.