Close Menu

Culture & Product Development

Cultural and Product Development is your connection to authentically representing Hawai‘i. Beneath the breathtaking beauty of these islands, at the core of the destination’s appeal, are the values, culture and language of the indigenous people. Access our members-only cultural services to make sure your organization is aligned with Hawai‘i’s truly unique point of differentiation.

Visit our Culture & Product Development page for more information.

 

Maemae ToolkitMa‘ema‘e

The Ma‘ema‘e toolkit will provide you with the essential information you need to accurately and authentically promote the Hawaiian Islands. From geographical and cultural information, to descriptions of Hawaii traditions and customs, this is your guide for basic knowledge about Hawai‘i.

The toolkit, and additional Hawaiian language tools, can be downloaded from the Hawaii Tourism Authority website.

 

Culture Training Videos

 

Culture 101

Culture 101

We are proud to present an overview of the Hawaiian culture, exploring various topics such as Hawaiian values, customs, traditions and protocols. The emphasis of this lesson is to better appreciate and understand the uniqueness of indigenous culture of the Hawaiian Islands.

Olelo Hawaii

Ōlelo Hawai‘i

Join us for a short lesson on Ōlelo Hawai‘i, the language of the indigenous culture of the Hawaiian Islands. We’ll cover the history and external influences on the language, as well as pronunciation and basic guidelines for the office. This bite-sized tutorial will give you a better understanding of the Hawaiian language and ways to incorporate it in your daily life.

Warrior LogoWarrior Marker Program

Under the direction of HVCB Director of Culture and Product Development, Kainoa Daines, the HVCB Warrior Marker Program has been refreshed. There are a total of 149 markers across the state. Each marker is a point of historical, cultural or scenic interest. The warrior marker program will be incorporated into the new GoHawaii destination app, providing a guided experience for visitors to learn more about the Hawaiian Islands.

Visit our Warrior Marker page here.

 

Cultural Connection

  • How the State's Motto Came to Be

    You may have read the words, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘āina i ka pono,” on the Hawai‘i state seal, the back of the 2008 minted US Hawai‘i quarter, or in any number of places around the islands. You may have heard the words uttered at an assembly in school or sung in Israel Kamakawiwoole’s famous “Hawaii ’78.”
     
    Hawaii sealThe Hawaii state motto is one of the few US state mottos not in English or Latin. It’s a Hawaiian phrase uttered by a Hawaiian King back in the 1840s when Hawai‘i was an independent monarchy.
     
    On July 31, 1843, King Kamehameha III proclaimed the words, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘āina i ka pono” to an assembled crowd at a park in Honolulu where the Union Jack was lowered and ka hae Hawai‘i (the Hawaiian flag) was raised once again. Hawaiian sovereignty was restored by Queen Victoria’s emissary, Rear Admiral Richard Thomas. The Admiral had been sent to investigate the folly of Lord George Paulet, an English sea captain who unlawfully claimed the kingdom of Hawaii as an occupied colony of Great Britain.
     
    The King appreciated the assistance of Admiral Thomas and announced the famous phrase, which for so long has been translated to, “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness,” but Hawaiian language scholars have begun to rethink that translation. Ea means not only “life,” but “breath” and, more importantly, “sovereignty.” Profound to think the one word, ea, could define the King’s intentions so eloquently and reconnect Hawaiians to the living, breathing, sovereign land of their kupuna.
     
    It was adopted as the motto of the Hawaiian Kingdom from that point on and the motto of the State of Hawai‘i in 1959.
     
    The site of this proclamation was named in the Admiral’s honor. Today Thomas Square is the oldest city park in Hawaii and one of four sites in the Hawaiian Islands where the Hawaiian flag can fly alone without the United States flag because of its Hawaiian national significance.

  • E malama i ka olelo, i kuleana e kipa mai ai

    Remember the invitation, for it gives you the privilege of coming here. A person feels welcome when accepting an invitation and friendly promises. – Olelo Noeau 349

     

    We, Hawaii’s visitor industry are the ones extending that invitation to visitors to come to our shores, to feel welcome and taken care of – malama.

     

    Malama means, “to take care of, tend, attend, care for, preserve, protect, beware, save, maintain; to keep or observe, as a taboo; to serve, honor, care, preservation, support, fidelity, loyalty; custodian, caretaker, keeper.” www.wehewehe.org

     

    During these turbulent times, we have so many things we can be grateful for and need to malama; ourselves, our loved ones, colleagues, and this destination we have the privilege of promoting and calling our home.

     

    Homework: Take a quiet moment and think about how you can malama Hawaii both personally and professionally?

     

    Send your response to membership@hvcb.org for possible inclusion in an upcoming HVCB publication.

  • March 26th is the day Hawaii celebrates the life and memory of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole.

    Prince KuhioWe celebrate and honor the birthday of Hawaii’s second delegate to Congress, affectionately known as “Prince Cupid” because of his cherubic façade. Prince Kuhio was born in Koloa, Kauai in 1871. He was the youngest of three sons of Kauai High Chief David Kahalepouli Piikoi and Princess Kinoiki Kekaulike, younger sister of Queen Kapiolani. He served as the Territory of Hawaii’s delegate to Congress from 1903 to 1921. In 1918, he established the first Hawaiian Civic Club to stimulate civic efforts and education within the Hawaiian community and to promote Hawaiian culture. Today there are over 60 Hawaiian Civic Clubs nationwide.

     

    Because King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani had no children of their own, Jonah Kuhio, Edward Keliiahonui, and David Kawananakoa were legally adopted and given the rank of Prince. Thus, he was in line to the throne before the monarchy was overthrown in 1893.

     

    In addition to the Hawaiian Civic Club movement, he resurrected the Royal Order of Kamehameha I after the noble organization went underground after the overthrow, and reinvigorated King Kamehameha Day festivities.

     

    A few of his major accomplishments include a $27 million federal appropriation for the dredging and construction of Pearl Harbor and the establishing of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

     

    A graduate of Oahu College (now called Punahou School), Kuhio is best remembered for his success in Congress passing the 1920 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, providing homesteads for Native Hawaiians. He believed strongly in his Uncle David’s philosophy, “Hooulu Lahui – Increase the Nation.” He planned to return Hawaiians to the land, encouraging them to be self-sufficient farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders on leased parcels of reserved land, just as their ancestors had done. The act was officially signed into law by President Harding on July 9, 1921 – this year marking its 100th anniversary.

     

    Kuhio was also known as Ke Alii Makaainana or “The Citizen Prince,” because of his love for his people. He died of heart disease on January 7, 1922, at the age of 50, and is laid to rest today at Maunaala, the Royal Mausoleum in Nuuanu Valley on Oahu.

     

    Let’s remember that Kuhio is more than a highway on Kauai, an avenue running through Waikiki, or a mall in Hilo. He was a leader, a thinker, a doer, a Prince, a man with great foresight, and a proud son of Hawaii!

  • “May Day is Lei Day” was first celebrated in 1928.

    Every day is “lei day” in Hawaii nei, but the idea of “May Day is Lei Day,” as suggested by Honolulu Star-Bulletin columnist Grace Tower Warren and poet Don Blanding was first celebrated in 1928.

     

    Lei, whether made of flowers, shells, or any variety of resources, are made and given with love – the ultimate personification of aloha.

     

    However, as we approach May Day 2021 amid coronavirus and the hope of vaccines, here are a few helpful suggestions to safely celebrate a most revered Hawaiian tradition.

    1. Use what you have.
      • Supporting local lei vendors is always welcome, but if you’re unable to get to the lei stand this year, use what you have around your home or within your neighborhood. You should obviously ask permission or know what you can and cannot pick, but making your own lei always feels good.
         
    2. Share with your loved ones.
      • Still isolating? Make a lei for your ohana at home or wear your own homemade creation proudly. Again, there’s just as much satisfaction in wearing a lei as there is in making one.
         
    3. Be okay without the embrace.
      • While we are still maintaining a safe distance from one another, it’s okay to hand someone a lei or gently lay it down for them to pick up. Customarily we would give a lei with a hug and a honi (kiss), but during this time of caution, your gesture of aloha will still be received.

     

    So while we may not be assembling at our local parks or strutting our lei-adorned selves around town this May 1st, we can certainly keep the spirit of the day alive and well.

     

    E lei no au i ko aloha – I will wear your love as a beautiful adornment. Olelo Noeau 333