Hawaii is a U.S. state in the Western United States, in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only state comprised entirely of islands, and the only state in the tropics.
EVERY ISLAND HAS A STORY. IF YOU LISTEN, IT WILL SPEAK TO YOU.
Beneath the breathtaking natural wonder and exotic beauty unique to each of the Hawaiian Islands, there are vital roots. These are the stories of the people who tend to them. Who cultivate ancient ways of living in harmony with the environment and embrace local and Hawaiian culture with equal parts aloha and responsibility. For the next generation. And for Hawaii to stay rooted.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Interpretive Ranger At first, the southern edge of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park appears otherworldly. Wind-whipped black rock stretches from the cliffs to the deep blue waters of the Puna coast, a vast expanse of lava, frozen mid-flow into long smooth ropes called pahoehoe and sharp, jagged sections called aa.
As native Hawaiian Keoni Kaholoaa hikes down the lava flow from Holei Pali, camera in hand, the brittle lava crunches under his boots, shattering like fragile glass. It’s surprisingly delicate. At a glance, the landscape seems barren. But there’s life everywhere.
As he photographs the plants he finds, Keoni thinks about the Park’s visitor center and how lush it is there. Just like it is across the entire windward side of the island of Hawaii. These green islands were born of fiery lava, and the teeming plant and wildlife they now support all started in this way.
It’s a perspective not lost on the Interpretive Ranger, who shares with visitors tales of his ancestor, Pele, the creator deity associated with the volcano, on whose land they walk.
What is an Interpretive Ranger?
My duties here include sharing the culture with the visitors, to lead them on hikes and talk about the native wildlife. But my main purpose as an interpretive ranger is to leave a sense of belonging with visitors so that they can take that home with them.
How do you do that?
Letting visitors know that, hey, you know, these things are real. Pele is a force. We need both respect and humility to live in and around Pele.
The respect has to be there because as humans, as Hawaiians, as Kanaka Maoli, we are visitors just like anybody else. You know, this is not our land. The land belongs to Pele and the land belongs to the different elements.
You need the land so that the native plants can grow and flourish. And the native birds and insects and wildlife. I am connected to the land. Our responsibility is to protect the land, is to care for the land, is to cherish what we have, the water, the elements. It’s all connected.
And that mentality should be true no matter where you’re from. If you think about it, any tribal people of old, they were really connected to the land and the surroundings. And as humans progress, you know, we’re getting further and further away from that. And so, any opportunity that I or anyone else can share that, I think, is important. And working for the Park is a great way to do that.
What is the best time of year to go to Hawaii?
The best time to visit Hawaii is between March and September. This is when the islands see the highest temperatures and the lowest amount of rain. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the beach or the water.
Why is Hawaii so dangerous?
Since Hawaii is located in the middle of a vast ocean and the ocean bottom drops off quickly, the waves and currents can be very big and powerful. Certain beaches are hazardous year-round while others are dangerous at certain times of the year.
Is it good to live in Hawaii?
Living in Hawaii will probably make your life a lot more fun. … If you want your days to be less dreary and have better weather, and be able to enjoy the outdoors all year round, then move to Hawaii. I actually do surf and golf almost every week. start your Move to Paradise!
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Hawaiian Customs and Traditions
Native Hawaiians navigated to the Hawaiian Islands, where they lived and flourished for centuries, carrying on the cultural traditions they brought with them and innovating new ones. With the influx of a diverse group of people to the islands, including the missionaries who converted many Hawaiians to Christianity and immigrant laborers who worked the sugar cane plantations, some Native Hawaiian traditions were widely adopted and evolved in the same pattern of assimilation, adaptation and innovation that affected the culture of newcomers, creating a shared culture of diverse influences commonly referred to simply as “local.” However, many Native Hawaiian customs have been protected and perpetuated and are still practiced today.
At the time in Hawaii’s history when the sugar industry grew and plantations multiplied, immigrant laborers were brought largely from China, Portugal, Japan, Korea, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands. This diverse group of people living together in close-knit communities created a melting pot of cultures, which produced a unique blend of customs that have roots from many areas of the globe that are collectively referred to as “local.”
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