State of Hawaii Information

Nickname: The Aloha State – on vehicle license plates

Date of statehood: 8/21/59
State fish: Reef triggerfish
State flower: Hawaiian hibiscus
State bird: Hawaiian goose (nene)
State mammals (terrestrial and marine): Hawaiian monk seal; Hawaiian humpback whale
State tree: Candlenut (Kukui)
State song: Hawai’i Pono’i
State dance: Hula
Highest point in state: Mauna Kea Volcano, 13,796 feet (4,205 meters)
Biggest city and county: Honolulu on Oahu Island
Population of all Hawaiian Islands 2012 – 1,392,000 residents. Note, there are tens of thousands of visitors on the islands on any one day.

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Not meant to be comprehensive, this is a list of questions and answers relating to living in Hawaii.

Where is Hawaii?

Hawaii is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean west of California, south of Alaska, east of Southeast Asia, and North Northeast of New Zealand. It is the most isolated populous landmass in the world.

Where is Honolulu?

Honolulu is a city that encompasses all of the Hawaiian islands. It is the largest capital city in the world in terms of land area. The part that most people call Honolulu is on the southeastern section of the island of Oahu.

What is Waikiki?

In Hawaiian, the word means “spouting water”. Waikiki is a place on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian islands chain. It was originally a place for Hawaiian royalty to have homes.

Where is Waikiki?

Waikiki is considered the tourist – beach area of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. It is the 2 mile x .5 mile area between Diamond Head Volcano and the Ala Wai Canal – toward the Pacific Ocean. It’s basically the highly populated beach area of Oahu.

How to live in Hawaii?

This is one of the most popular questions we started getting six years ago when we started this Hawaii website. We got the question so much we wrote books on the topic. The latest book is, “Moving to Hawaii 2012 – Is Living in Paradise for You?”. It can be found at Amazon for $4.99, or here at in ebook reader formats: Nook, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, PDF – after March 2012. See the book link on upper right side of this page.

When is the best time to visit Hawaii?

Between January and May, and between September and November. We would avoid June, July, August and December because those months the rates for everything are higher and there are more tourists to compete with for things to see and do.

What is the “coconut wireless”?

Word of mouth. Some say the gossip flies around Hawaii very fast. Judge for yourself!

What clothes should I bring to Hawaii?

It is always warm, occasionally a night or morning is cool enough because of the wind usually to require a long sleeved shirt or pants to stay comfortable. Plan on dressing for warm (80’s) weather daily.

What islands should I visit before deciding to move to Hawaii?

If you know you need a big city, good shopping, nightlife, or it will be tough for you to get a job visit only Oahu before you plan your move to Hawaii.

If you are not tied to Oahu for a job, for nightlife, shopping and the rest of it you should probably have a look at Maui and Big Island too.

If you are prepared for seclusion and a very low-key lifestyle and are happy at home most nights go see Kauai too.

Molokai and Lanai few people move here, but for those that want the ultimate in seclusion – these islands can provide it.

Which islands have active volcanoes and flowing lava?

Just Big Island, Hawaii. Visit the “Volcano National Park” and hopefully you will see the lava flow during the time you are there. Tip it is not constant. There are better and worse times to see it.

What is the approximate rate for accommodation?

The whole range is present. There are hostels for $25 per day. Budget hotel rooms for about $75 per day. Some hotels go up to $1,000 per day, and 3-4 bedroom condominiums on the beach that run in the tens of thousands of dollars per day.

How long is the flight to Hawaii?

From east coast USA 10 hours (Newark has a nonstop flight). From west coast USA 5-6 hours. From Japan 6 hours. From Thailand 7 hours.

How likely is it to be attacked by a shark in Hawaii?

Here is our giant info page on Sharks in Hawaii – The Good, Bad, and Ugly which you should read if you have any more questions after you read the short blurb below.

Answering a question with a question – How much do you surf, and how much do you dive, or spear fish?

People enjoying these ocean activities have a higher probability of a shark bite. Most people that just swim in Hawaii’s waters have an astronomically low chance of ever seeing, or being bitten by, a shark. I do know a guy that was bitten on the forearm by a barracuda in the murky water in Maui surf as he was putting on his fins to snorkel in about 3 feet of water. That is one person in 6+ years of living in the islands. It doesn’t happen often.

The last time anyone in Hawaii was killed by a shark was when a surfer was killed in 2004 in Maui, right off Kahana where I lived and sometimes surfed. Locals reckon it was a Tiger Shark one of the larger and more aggressive sharks to roam Hawaii’s waters. Recently there was a great white shark spotted by two local guys on a boat – Shark Video.

How to minimize the risk of shark attack?

According to the State of Hawaii Shark Task Force, you can do the following:

  • Do not swim alone
  • Swim in guarded areas
  • Avoid swimming at dusk
  • Do not swim with bleeding wounds
  • Avoid murky water
  • Do not wear bright jewelry or high contrasting colors
  • Refrain from excessive splashing
  • Do not swim if sharks are known to be present
  • Be alert if turtles and fish are fleeing the area
  • Remove speared fish from the water

How many people drown in Hawaii each year?

About 60.

What language is spoken in Hawaii?

Since Hawaii is a U.S. state, English is the official language. However, Hawaiian is spoken by many locals as well. Hawaiian is taught in schools and universities.

Can I visit the island of Niihau?

Not without an invitation from one of the locals living there or, the Robinson family. Some snorkel tours leave Kauai and take snorkelers to waters around Niihau, but not to step foot on its shore.

What is considered proper tipping in Hawaii?

Restaurant staff 15-20%. Taxi drivers 10-15%. Hotel maids – $5/day, or $10-20 if your room is over $300 per night.

Should I learn to speak pidgin’?

Up to you. If you want to understand what the locals are saying sometimes you might pay attention and try to figure it out. There are some websites online that have Hawaiian pidgin dictionaries and sound clips.

The language is based on English but it’s a slangified English that you probably won’t understand unless you really try for a while. There is a lot of variety to it. If a local is using it with you he or she either thinks you are local or have lived in Hawaii a long time, or is being rude to you so you can’t understand. Usually it’s the first one.

Here is a dictionary of pidgin sayings:

Pidgin English – Hawaii

Here are some audio clips of Hawaiians speaking pidgin from National Public Radio:

NPR Story

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Can I visit the island of Niihau?

Not without an invitation from one of the locals living there or, the Robinson family. Some snorkel tours leave Kauai and take snorkelers to waters around Niihau, but nobody is allowed to step foot on its shore.

What is “Da Kine”?

This is a phrase in pidgin that is used often. Some people it seems like, can use it in every sentence! It can mean anything, but it is used when someone cannot think of the proper name for something or when they are being lazy to think of the proper word, or when they are being funny.

Someone can say “Lucy, where’s da kine for my shirt?” Meaning “iron”. Or just about any situation it can be a person, place, situation, and experience, really, just about anything. It’s up to the person being spoken to, to figure it out!

Is Aloha Attire required for all social events?

No. For some events they may request aloha attire. Many people wear it daily for work or play. It’s a laid back style that doesn’t require much thought. The shirts are light and keep you cool in Hawaii’s sometimes stifling hot weather, and, of course there are many styles to choose from.

Usually you just cannot go wrong by wearing the aloha style no matter what the event.