Humility is highly valued in the Hawaii’s island culture. Locals appreciate one another’s accomplishments but never flaunt their own. It’s really part of the native Hawaiian culture that embraces a deep appreciation for simple things like water, the mountains and healthy crops. So with this, why flaunt anything else? What’s a surfing trophy matter if you’ve got clean water and healthy crops? This mentality filters throughout the islands.

Hawaii's island culture

People are soft-spoken here in Hawaii’s island culture

One of the ways you see this is that people are very soft-spoken. It’s not common for a local to interject their opinions into a conversation or facilitate disruption when there’s a chance at peace. Queen Liliu’okalani is an example of prioritizing peace over disruption when she surrendered to the overthrow. She would rather surrender than facilitate the blood shed of her people on her land. It was a difficult time for the Hawaiian monarchy, and it was only to worsen in the years to come.


It’s been 125 years since the illegal overthrow and the United States has since apologized for its actions. Remnants of this anger are still vibrant throughout the islands. It’s one of the main topics that local Hawaiians speak up about angrily, even though they’re a soft-spoken group of people.

Hawaii's island culture

 Hawaii’s island culture has humility in fashion trends

You’ll also see humility in fashion trends and everyday wear in the islands. For example, shiny sparkly jewelry and clothes are uncommon. When people go to family events or public performances, it’s aloha shirt and jeans for men and a nice aloha dress for women. Locals aren’t into the “glam” that’s associated with common trends in other places. People wear soft colors and often times women wear flowers in the ear, I know I do! Keep in mind, this is only for when people are at events, graduations, family gatherings. You should see us on an everyday basis! It’s slippers, tank tops and shorts for when we go shopping or run errands.

Hawaii’s island culture version of  “glam”

The only “glam” you’ll recognize is in the gold Hawaiian bangles that women wear. They’re often family heirlooms, not worn as a piece of jewelry necessarily but more of a memento. They’re often inscribed with a family name and passed down through generations.

Hawaii’s island culture of humility in competitions

You’ll also see humility in hula competitions or canoe paddling races. For example, the winning individuals or groups are typically given a haku lei at the awards ceremony. A haku lei is made of flowers and leaves. To most, this may seem small and insufficient, but not for locals in Hawaii. There won’t be confetti falling from the ceiling or glitter blowing across the stage. It’s a simple celebration – even though hula and paddling are some of the most highly revered and practiced sports in the islands.

Hawaii’s island culture of humility: What locals put on their Instagram

Another example of humility is that if you look at any local’s Instagram, you’ll see pictures of the beach, the mountains and the beauty of Hawai’i. The only thing locals are really interested in flaunting is the beauty of Hawai’i – anything else really isn’t worth it. You won’t see ostentatious pictures of decadent homes and fashion. It’s just not something we’d rather show off. It’s part of the humble culture of locals in the islands.