The locals in Hawaii are very proud of their islands, beaches and culture. There are several native Hawaiian activist groups leading movements to preserve traditional Hawaiian culture, food and practices. There is tension between the Caucasian and native Hawaiian races in the islands. It can seem intimidating to approach locals because of this, however there are a few ways to get along with locals in Hawaii.
1. Don’t get too close to the turtles or the monk seals.
Sea turtles, monk seals, and many other types of wildlife are protected by the state because they are endangered. Hence, you’re required to stay 50 yards away from them when they’re resting ashore. However, when this happens, a lot of people love to get really close to them because it’s a great photo opportunity. I’ve seen this happen on numerous occasions, with monk seals, too. For example at a popular Waikiki beach, there’s a particular monk seal that naps on the beach frequently. Lifeguards have grown accustom to her and now put temporary barriers around her when she arrives on the beach to prevent tourists from bothering her. However, this isn’t always the case at beaches. So, if a turtle comes up on the beach, don’t run to take pictures with it, that’s probably the easiest way to piss off a local.
2. Clean up after yourself on beaches or hikes.
Native Hawaiian communities take pride in the beauty of Hawaii and work to preserve it. As a new member to Hawaii, you should also take pride in the beauty of our beaches and pay your dues by cleaning up. For example, if you bring snacks to the beach, take the trash with you. Sometimes there are trash cans there, but most of the time they are at full capacity. So, if you see a trash can that’s very full, don’t stuff your trash in it. That’s not a good idea. Take your trash home with you and dispose of it there.
3. Donate some of your time to volunteering for local preservation groups.
Like I mentioned earlier, taking care of the beaches in Hawaii are valuable to locals. It wouldn’t hurt to get involved of some of the local groups that organize beach clean-ups. For example, the group 808cleanups.org helps put together events for the public to participate in. Showing your care for the Aina (land,) shows that you care about Hawaiian values.
4. Don’t honk at people in traffic.
Locals absolutely hate it when people honk. For example, mainland drivers honk more frequently for less significant reasons compared to Hawaii’s drivers that rarely honk. It’s abnormal to honk at someone here unless your life is utterly in danger. If someone is about to hit you, you can honk, but if someone cuts into your lane, don’t honk! The person that merges into your lane will most likely throw up a shaka or a thank you sign to appreciate you letting them in!
5. Don’t act like you know everything about the overthrow.
The Hawaiian overthrow was one of the most terrible, illegal acts that occurred in the Hawaiian islands. The U.S. was so embarrassed from it that President Bill clinton issued a formal apology to the Hawaiian monarch in 1893 for the overthrow. There is still controversy and tension surrounding the issue today. However, don’t act like you are absolutely knowledgeable of the overthrow. Locals hate that. It’s good to know the basic facts of what occurred but an individual whose “high maka-maka” (arrogant,) about this issue can be shunned by locals.