Aurora Shelving
Aurora Shelving
Aurora Shelving




State of Hawaii
( Moku'aina o Hawai'i )
Flag of Hawaii State seal of Hawaii
Flag of Hawaii Seal of Hawaii
Nickname(s) : The Aloha State
Motto(s) : Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono
Map of the United States with Hawaii highlighted
Official language(s) English , Hawaiian
Capital Honolulu
Largest city Honolulu
Area Ranked 43 rd
 - Total 10,931 sq mi
(28,311 km²)
 - Width n/a miles (n/a km)
 - Length 1,522 miles (2,450 km)
 - % water 41.2
 - Latitude 18°55'N to 29°N
 - Longitude 154°40'W to 162°W
Population Ranked 42 nd
 - Total ( 2000 ) 1,211,537
 - Density 110.7/sq mi 
42.75/km² (13 th )
 - Highest point Mauna Kea
13,796 ft  (4,205 m)
 - Mean 3,035 ft  (925 m)
 - Lowest point 0 ft  (0 m)
Admission to Union August 21 , 1959 (50 th )
Governor Linda Lingle (R)
U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye (D)
Daniel Akaka (D)
Time zone Hawaii : UTC -10
(no daylight saving time)
Abbreviations HI US-HI
Web site
The Aloha State
State animal Humpback Whale
State beverage None
State bird Nene ( Nene ) (Branta sandvicensis)
State fish Rectangular Triggerfish
State flower Yellow Hibiscus
State fossil None
State insect None
State gem Black Coral
State motto Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono ("The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness")
State reptile None
State song Hawaii Ponoi ( Hawai'i Pono'i ) ("Hawaii's own [people]")
State tree Kukui (Aleurites Moluccana)

Hawaii ( Hawai'i ) became the 50th state of the United States on August 21 , 1959 . It is situated in the North Pacific Ocean , 2,300 miles (3,700 km) from the mainland , at 21°18'41?N, 157°47'47?W . During roughly 1778-1898, Hawaii was also known as the Sandwich Islands .

In dialects of American English, "Hawaii" is pronounced at least three different ways: [h?.'wai.yi] , [h?.'wai.i] , and [h?.'wai.?i] ( IPA ). In the Hawaiian language , there is also some variation possible, but the most general pronunciation is [h?.'w?i.?i] . People sometimes use [v] instead of [w] , because [v] and [w] are in free variation in Hawaiian. Both sounds are equally correct.

Hawaii was first inhabited in roughly 1000 A.D., by foreign Polynesians who came from islands in the South Pacific, most likely the Marquesas . By colonizing Hawaii, these originally foreign settlers in effect became Hawaiian people . For about 800 years, these people were sometimes at peace and sometimes at war with each other, while they expanded their colonial territory throughout the eight main islands. During this time, the Hawaiian people also developed a complex caste society governed by an extensive system of religious and social taboos called the kapu system . When British explorer James Cook chanced upon the Hawaiian archipelago in 1778, a Hawaiian warrior known as Kamehameha was beginning a gradual ascent to power. Before his death in 1819, Kamehameha had succeeded in conquering (through military force, or in the case of Kauai and Niihau , by other political means) all of the major Hawaiian islands.

The kingdom established by Kamehameha lasted until 1893, when the last Hawaiian monarch, Liliuokalani , was overthrown and replaced by a Provisional Government , and later a Republic . During the kingdom and republic era, Hawaii's economy transitioned from that of an isolated state into that of a state integrated into the world's free market, producing and exporting more than two hundred thousand tons of sugar annually. [1] In 1898, Hawaii was annexed to the United States of America and attained statehood in 1959.


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Main article: Hawaiian Islands

Location, topography, and geology

Hawaii is the southernmost state of the United States, and would be the westernmost, if not for Alaska. It is one of the only two states (Alaska being the other) that are outside the contiguous United States , and do not share a border with another U.S. state. Hawaii is the only state that: (1) lies completely in the tropics ; (2) is without territory on the mainland of any continent; (3) is completely surrounded by water; and (4) continues to grow in area because of active extrusive lava flows, most notably from Kilauea ( Kilauea ). Except for Easter Island, Hawaii is the furthest from any other body of land in the world.

The Hawaiian Archipelago comprises nineteen islands and atolls extending across a distance of 1,500 miles (2,400 km). Of these, eight high islands are considered the "main islands" and are located at the southeastern end of the archipelago. These islands are, in order from the northwest to southeast, Niihau ( Ni'ihau ), Kauai ( Kaua'i ), Oahu ( O'ahu ), Molokai ( Moloka'i ), Lanai ( Lana'i ), Kahoolawe ( Kaho'olawe ), Maui ( Maui ), and Hawaii ( Hawai'i ). The latter is by far the largest, and is very often called the "Big Island" or "Big Isle". The use of that alternative name is often motivated by a desire to avoid ambiguity with "Hawaii" meaning the entire state (all of the islands), as opposed to only that one island.

Map of Hawaii - PDFEnlargeMap of Hawaii - PDF

All of the Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanoes arising from the sea floor through a vent described in geological theory as a hotspot . The theory maintains that as the tectonic plate beneath much of the Pacific Ocean moves in a northwesterly direction, the hot spot remains stationary, slowly creating new volcanoes. This explains why only volcanoes on the southern half of the Big Island are presently active.

The last volcanic eruption outside the Big Island happened at Haleakala ( Haleakala ) on Maui in the late 18th century (though recent research suggests that Haleakala's most recent eruptive activity could be hundreds of years older [2] ). The newest volcano to form is Loihi Seamount ( Lo'ihi ), deep below the waters off the southern coast of the Big Island.

The volcanic activity and subsequent erosion created impressive geological features. The Big Island is notable as the world's fifth highest island . If the height of the island is measured from its base, deep in the ocean, to its snow-clad peak on Mauna Kea, it can be considered one of the tallest mountains in the world.

Because of the islands' volcanic formation, native life before human activity is said to have arrived by the "3 W's": wind, waves, and wings. The isolation of the Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the wide range of environments to be found on high islands located in and near the tropics, has resulted in a vast array of endemic flora and fauna . Hawaii has more endangered species per square mile than anywhere else.









A NASA satellite photograph of the Hawaiian Islands taken from space.EnlargeA NASA satellite photograph of the Hawaiian Islands taken from space.

Areas under the control and protection of the National Park Service include:


Main article: Hawaiian Islands A sunset in HawaiiEnlargeA sunset in Hawaii

The climate of Hawaii is atypical for a tropical area, and is regarded as more subtropical than the latitude would suggest, because of the moderating effect of the surrounding ocean. Temperatures and humidity tend to be less extreme, with summer high temperatures seldom reaching above the upper 80s (°F) and winter temperatures (at low elevation) seldom dipping below the mid-60s. Snow, although not usually associated with tropics, falls at high elevations on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island in some winter months. Snow only rarely falls on Maui's Haleakala. Mount Waialeale ( Wai'ale'ale ), on the island of Kauai, is notable for rainfall, having the second highest average annual rainfall on Earth: about 460 inches (38 ft. 4 in., or 11.7 m).

Local climates vary considerably on each island, grossly divisible into windward ( Ko'olau ) and leeward ( Kona ) areas based upon location relative to the higher mountains. Windward sides face the Northeast Trades and receive much more rainfall; leeward sides are drier, with less rain and less cloud cover. This fact is utilized by the tourist industry, which concentrates resorts on sunny leeward coasts.

Important cities and towns

The movement of the Hawaiian royal family from the island of Hawaii to Maui, and subsequently to Oahu, explains why certain population centers exist where they do today. The largest city, Honolulu , was the one chosen by King Kamehameha III as the capital of his kingdom because of the natural harbor there, the present-day Honolulu Harbor .

The largest city is the capital, Honolulu , located along the southeast coast of the island of Oahu. Other populous cities include Hilo , Kaneohe ( Kane'ohe ), Kailua , Pearl City , Kahului , Kailua-Kona , Kihei ( Kihei ), and Lihue ( Lihu'e ).


Main article: History of Hawaii

Hawaiian antiquity

Main articles: Ancient Hawaii , Hawaiian mythology , Polynesian mythology

Anthropologists believe that Polynesians from the Marquesas and Society Islands first populated the Hawaiian Islands at some time after AD 300 - 500 , although recent evidence has pointed to an initial settlement of as late as AD 800 - 1000 . It is not resolved whether there was only one extended or two isolated periods of settlement. The latter view of an initial Marquesan settlement, followed by isolation and Tahitian settlers in approximately AD  1300 who conquered and eliminated the original inhabitants of the islands, is hinted at in folk tales , like the stories of Hawaiiloa ( Hawai'iloa ), Paao ( Pa'ao ), and menehunes. There is a theory that: (1) there was only one extended period during which groups of immigrants repeatedly arrived; and (2) contact with their former homelands was not lost until the early 2nd millennium AD . This theory has become more accepted among some scientists, as direct evidence for a massive conquest and a sudden replacement of cultural practices has not been found in the archaeological record.

Voyaging between Hawaii and the South Pacific apparently ceased with no explanation several centuries before the arrival of the Europeans (although at that time, there seems to have been a general decline in overseas trade and voyaging across Polynesia; see Henderson Island ). Local chiefs, called alii ( ali'i ), ruled their settlements and fought to extend their sway and defend their communities from predatory rivals. Warfare was endemic. The general trend was toward chiefdoms of increasing size, even encompassing whole islands.

Vague reports by various European explorers suggest that Hawaii was visited by foreigners well before the 1778 arrival of British explorer Captain James Cook . Historians credited Cook with the discovery after he was the first to plot and publish the geographical coordinates of the Hawaiian Islands. Cook named his discovery the Sandwich Islands in honor of one of his sponsors, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich , and reported the native name as Owyhee . His visit is confirmed by Hawaiian legends that called for a fair-skinned man - the god Lono - to return to the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiians initially believed Cook to be this legendary visitor. It is possible that Portuguese or Spanish ships could have previously visited the islands, leading to the tale that Lono had promised to return to the islands.

Hawaiian kingdom

Main article: Kingdom of Hawaii

After a series of battles that ended in 1795 and peaceful cession of the island of Kauai in 1810 , the Hawaiian Islands were united for the first time under a single ruler who would become known as King Kamehameha the Great . He established the House of Kamehameha , a dynasty that ruled over the kingdom until 1872 .

The death of the bachelor King Kamehameha V -who did not name an heir -resulted in the popular election of King Lunalilo over Kalakaua. After Lunalilo's death, in a hotly contested and allegedly fraudulent election by the legislature in 1874 between Kalakaua and Emma (which led to riots and the landing of foreign troops to keep the peace), governance was passed on to the House of Kalakaua .

In 1887 , citing maladministration, a group of American and European businessmen already involved in Hawaiian government forced King Kalakaua to sign the derisively nicknamed " Bayonet Constitution " which not only stripped the king of administrative authority but eliminated voting rights for Asians and set minimum income and property requirements for American, European and native Hawaiian voters, essentially limiting the electorate to wealthy elite Americans, Europeans and native Hawaiians. King Kalakaua reigned until his death in 1891 .

His sister, Liliuokalani , succeeded him to the throne and ruled until her overthrow in 1893 .

Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii

The Blount Report of July 17, 1893 alleged that the Committee of Safety conspired with U.S. ambassador John L. Stevens to land the United States Marine Corps , to forcibly remove Queen Liliuokalani from power, and declare a Provisional Government of Hawaii consisting of members from the Committee of Safety. The Morgan Report of February 26, 1894, commissioned by President Cleveland, investigated further and concluded that the insurgency was locally based, motivated by a history of corruption of the monarchy, and that American troops only served to protect American property and citizens and had no role in the end of the Hawaiian Monarchy. [1]

Regardless, the monarchy ended in January 1893, and the Provisional Government was recognized by all nations with diplomatic ties to the Kingdom of Hawaii as the legitimate government of the islands within 48 hours of the overthrow. After an unsuccessful attempt at armed rebellion in 1895, the Queen officially abdicated in 1896. [2]

After William McKinley succeeded Cleveland in the U.S. presidency, he signed the Newlands Resolution on July 7, 1898, making Hawaii a territory of the United States.

During the kingdom era and subsequent republican regime, Iolani Palace - the only official royal residence in the United States today - served as the capitol building.


Kamehameha II

Kamehameha III

Kamehameha IV

Kamehameha V




Hawaiian territory

Main article: Territory of Hawaii

When William McKinley won the presidential election in November of 1896, the question of Hawaii's annexation to the U.S. was again opened. The previous president, Grover Cleveland , was a friend of Queen Liliuokalani. He had remained opposed to annexation until the end of his term, but McKinley was open to persuasion by U.S. expansionists and by annexationists from Hawaii. He agreed to meet with a committee of annexationists from Hawaii, Lorrin Thurston , Francis Hatch and William Kinney. After negotiations, in June of 1897, McKinley agreed to a treaty of annexation with these representatives of the Republic of Hawaii. [3] The president then submitted the treaty to the U.S. Senate for approval.

Despite some opposition in the islands, the Newlands Resolution was passed by the House June 15 , 1898 , by a vote of 209 to 91, and by the Senate on July 6 , 1898 , by a vote of 42 to 21, formally annexing Hawaii as a U.S. territory. Although its legality was questioned by some at the time because it was a resolution, not a treaty, both houses of Congress carried the measure with two-thirds majorities, whereas a treaty would have only required two-thirds of the Senate vote (Article II, Sec. 2, U.S. Constitution).

In 1900 , it was granted self-governance and retained Iolani Palace as the territorial capitol building. Though several attempts were made to achieve statehood, Hawaii remained a territory for sixty years. Plantation owners, such as the Big Five , found territorial status convenient, enabling them to continue importing cheap foreign labor; such immigration was prohibited in various other states of the Union.

The power of the plantation owners was finally broken by activist descendants of original immigrant laborers. Because they were born in a U.S. territory, they were legal U.S. citizens. Expecting to gain full voting rights, they actively campaigned for statehood for the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaiian statehood

All representative districts voted at least 93% in favor of Admission acts. Ballot(inset) and referendum results for the Admission Act of 1959.EnlargeAll representative districts voted at least 93% in favor of Admission acts. Ballot(inset) and referendum results for the Admission Act of 1959.

In March 1959 , both houses of Congress passed the Admission Act and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. (The act excluded Palmyra Atoll , part of the Kingdom and Territory of Hawaii, from the new state.) On June 27 of that year, a plebiscite was held asking residents of Hawaii to vote on accepting the statehood bill. Hawaii voted 17 to 1 to accept. On August 21, church bells throughout Honolulu were rung upon the proclamation that Hawaii was the 50th state of the Union.

After statehood, Hawaii quickly became a modern state with a construction boom and rapidly growing economy. The Hawaii Republican Party , which was strongly supported by the plantation owners, was voted out of office. In its place, the Democratic Party of Hawaii dominated state politics for forty years.

In recent decades, the state government has implemented programs to promote Hawaiian culture. The Hawaii State Constitutional Convention of 1978 incorporated as state constitutional law specific programs such as the creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to promote the indigenous Hawaiian language and culture.

Controversy has erupted within the last decade over the extent of the Hawaiian cultural programs creating a new political dialogue within the state. Pitting the strong emotions of both integrationists and separatists, high rhetoric has been employed by both groups including the use of propaganda materials of dubious provenance. A much criticized example includes the Hui Aloha Aina ( Hui Aloha 'Aina ) and Hui Kalaiaina ( Hui Kalai'aina ) petitions allegedly rediscovered in 1998. According to their proponents, the petitions are contemporaneous to the annexation of Hawaii with one petition purportedly containing 22,000 signatures in opposition to the annexation while a second petition purportedly contains 17,000 signatures in favor of reinstating the monarchy. The validity of the petitions has been criticized by Lorrin Thurston in an analysis which indicates significant fraud.


Historical populations Census
year Population 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000

As of 2005 , Hawaii has an estimated population of 1,275,194, which is an increase of 13,070, or 1.0%, from the prior year and an increase of 63,657, or 5.3%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 48,111 people (that is 96,028 births minus 47,917 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 16,956 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 30,068 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 13,112 people.

Hawaii has a de facto population of over 1.3 million due to military presence and tourists. Oahu , which is aptly nicknamed "The Gathering Place", is the most populous island (and the one with the highest population density), with a resident population of just under one million.


Ethnically, Hawaii is the only state that has a majority group that is non-white (and one of only four in which non- Hispanic whites do not form a majority) and has the largest percentage of Asian Americans .

Hawaii was the first majority-minority state in the United States since the early 20th century. According to the 2000 Census, 6.6% of Hawaii's population identified themselves as Native Hawaiian , 24.3% were White American , including Portuguese and 41.6% were Asian American , including 0.1% Asian Indian , 4.7% Chinese , 14.1% Filipino , 16.7% Japanese , 1.9% Korean and 0.6% Vietnamese . 1.3% were other Pacific Islander American , which includes Samoan American , Tongan , Tahitian , Maori and Micronesian , and 21.4% described themselves as mixed (two or more races/ethnic groups). 1.8% were Black or African American and 0.3% were Native American and Alaska Native .

Hawaii Population Density MapEnlargeHawaii Population Density Map

The third group of foreigners to arrive upon Hawaii's shores, after the Polynesians and Europeans, were the Chinese . Chinese employees serving on Western trading ships disembarked and settled starting in 1789. In 1820 the first American missionaries arrived in Hawaii to preach Christianity and teach the Hawaiians what the missionaries considered "civilized" ways. A large proportion of Hawaii's population has become a people of Asian ancestry (especially Chinese, Japanese and Filipino), many of whom are descendants from those waves of early foreign immigrants brought to the islands in the nineteenth century, beginning in the 1850's, to work on the sugar plantations. The first 153 Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii on June 19 , 1868. They were not "legally" approved by the Japanese government established after the Meiji Restoration because the contract was between a broker and the by then terminated Tokugawa shogunate . The first Japanese government-approved immigrants arrived in Hawaii on February 9 , 1885 after Kalakaua's petition to Emperor Meiji when Kalakaua visited Japan in  1881 .



Main article: Hawaiian language

The State of Hawaii has two official languages recognized in its constitution adopted at the 1978 constitutional convention : English and Hawaiian . Article XV, Section 4, specifies that "Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law " [italic added]. Hawaiian Creole English is the first language of many born-and-raised residents, and is a second language for many other residents. After English, the 2nd and 3rd most spoken individual languages are Tagalog and Japanese , respectively. As of 2000 , 73.4% of Hawaii residents age 5 and older speak only English at home, and 7.9% speak Pacific Island languages. Tagalog speakers make up 5.4%, followed by Japanese at 5.0%, and Chinese at 2.6%.

Origin of Hawaiian

Hawaiian is a member of the Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family. It began to develop around 1000 A.D., when foreign Marquesans or Tahitians of that era colonized Hawaii. Those originally foreign Polynesians remained in the islands, thereby becoming the Hawaiian people. Consequently, their originally foreign language developed into the Hawaiian language.

Before the arrival of Captain James Cook , the Hawaiian language was never written. The present written form of Hawaiian was developed mainly by American Protestant missionaries during 1820-1826. They assigned letters from the Latin alphabet that corresponded to the Hawaiian sounds.

Hawaiian distinguishes between long and short vowels. In writing, vowel length can be indicated with a macron ( kahako ). Hawaiian also uses the glottal stop as a consonant. In writing, it can be indicated with the apostrophe, or with the opening single quote ( 'okina ).

Revival of Hawaiian

As a result of the constitutional provision, interest in the Hawaiian language was revived in the late 20th century. Public and independent schools throughout the state began teaching Hawaiian language standards as part of the regular curricula, beginning with preschool. With the help of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs , also created by the 1978 constitutional convention, specially designated Hawaiian language immersion schools were established where students would be taught in all subjects using Hawaiian. Also, the University of Hawaii System developed the only Hawaiian language graduate studies program in the world. Municipal codes were altered in favor of Hawaiian place and street names for new civic developments.

Note on Hawaiian language and ? okina usage

In Hawaiian-language newspapers published from 1834-1948, the spelling "Hawaii" was used. However, in texts written mainly for Hawaiian-language pedagogy, especially since 1950, the modern Hawaiian-language spelling used is Hawai'i , with an apostrophe or other similar character, such as an opening single quote, written between the final two vowels. The character represents a consonant, the glottal stop, in the Hawaiian language. Although not used and not needed by native speakers of Hawaiian for over 100 years, its use is appropriate in modern written Hawaiian. Therefore, when actual Hawaiian-language forms are cited in this article, they will appear in italic, and will mark the glottal stop, and/or vowel length, if they are a part of the particular word. These citations will be given within parentheses, immediately following the English-language spellings of the particular words, but only at the initial use of the words in the article. English-language spellings of Hawaiian words do not use the modern Hawaiian marks for the glottal stop or vowel length. In that respect, English spellings of Hawaiian words are in harmony with the traditional native spellings. In summary: "Hawaii" is the authentic, traditional spelling of native writers of Hawaiian; "Hawai'i" is the modern, post-1950 Hawaiian-language spelling; "Hawaii" is the English-language spelling.


Many born-and-raised residents speak Hawaiian Creole English (HCE), often called "pidgin". During the 19th century, there was a great increase in immigration from foreign countries, and a pidgin English developed. By the early 20th century, a creole English developed. A creole language is created when pidgin speakers have children who acquire the pidgin as their own native language.

One trait of the HCE is that it retains some vocabulary from Hawaiian. HCE speakers can use some Hawaiian words without those words being considered archaic. Most placenames are retained from Hawaiian, as are some names for plants or animals. For example, tuna fish are often called "ahi" ( 'ahi ). Also, some Hawaiian words are loanwords in the mainstream American English lexicon. HCE speakers have modified the meanings of certain English words. For example, the terms "auntie" and "uncle" can be used to refer to any adult who is a friend, or a friend to the family. Throughout the surfing boom in Hawaii, HCE has influenced surfing slang. Some HCE expressions, such as brah and da kine , have found their way to other places.

HCE has its own grammar. Certain words can be dropped if their meaning is understood. For example, instead of saying "It is hot today, isn't it?", an HCE speaker is likely to say simply "Hot, yeah?"


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A somewhat divisive political issue that has arisen since The Constitution of the State of Hawaii added Hawaiian as a second official state language is the exact spelling of the state's name. As prescribed in the Admission of Hawaii Act that granted Hawaiian statehood, the federal government recognizes "Hawaii" to be the official state name. However, many state and municipal entities and officials have recognized "Hawai'i" to be the correct state name [ citation needed ] .

Official government publications, as well as department and office titles, use the traditional Hawaiian spelling, that is, with no symbols for glottal stops or vowel length. In contrast, some private entities, including a local newspaper, are using such symbols.

The title of the state constitution is "The Constitution of the State of Hawaii". In Article XV therein, Section 1 uses "The State of Hawaii", Section 2 "the island of Oahu", Section 3 "The Hawaiian flag", and Section 5 specifies the state motto as "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono". Note that English spellings, not Hawaiian spellings, are used in all of those cases. No okinas nor kahakos are used.

The nuances in the Hawaiian language debate are often not obvious or well-appreciated outside Hawaii. The issue has often been a source of friction in situations where correct naming conventions are mandated, as people frequently disagree over which spelling is correct or incorrect, and where it is correctly or incorrectly applied.

See also: Hawaiian language#Orthography (writing system)


Main article: Hawaii State Department of Education

Hawaii is currently the only state in the union with a unified school system statewide. It is also the oldest public education system west of the Mississippi River. Policy decisions are made by the fourteen-member state Board of Education, with thirteen members elected for four-year terms and one non-voting student member. The Board of Education sets statewide educational policy and hires the state superintendent of schools, who oversees the operations of the state Department of Education. The Department of Education is also divided into seven districts, four on Oahu and one for each of the other counties.

The structure of the state Department of Education has been a subject of discussion and controversy in recent years. The main rationale for the current centralized model is equity in school funding and distribution of resources: leveling out inequalities that would exist between highly populated Oahu and the more rural Neighbor Islands, and between lower-income and more affluent areas of the state. This system of school funding differs from many localities in the United States where schools are funded from local property taxes.

Policy initiatives have been made in recent years toward decentralization. Current Governor Linda Lingle is a proponent of replacing the current statewide board with seven elected district boards. The Democrat-controlled state legislature opposed her proposal, instead favoring expansion of decision-making power to the schools and giving schools more discretion over budgeting. Political debate of structural reform is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Schools and academies

As stated above, the Hawaii State Department of Education operates all of the public schools in the State of Hawaii.

Hawaii has the distinction of educating more students in independent institutions of secondary education than any other state in the United States. It also has four of the largest independent schools : Mid-Pacific Institute , Iolani School , Kamehameha Schools , and Punahou School . The second Buddhist high school in the United States, and first Buddhist high school in Hawaii, Pacific Buddhist Academy, was founded in 2003. (The first Buddhist high school in the United States was Developing Virtue Secondary School founded in 1981 in Ukiah, California.)

Other popular independent schools include Hawaii Baptist Academy , Hawaii Preparatory Academy , Maryknoll School , St. Andrew's Priory , and Saint Louis School .

Both independent and charter schools can select their students, while the regular public schools must take all students in their district. For a comprehensive list of independent schools, see the list of independent schools in Hawaii . For a comprehensive list of public schools, see the list of public schools in Hawaii .

Colleges and universities

Graduates of institutions of secondary learning in Hawaii often either enter directly into the work force or attend colleges and universities. While many choose to attend colleges and universities on the mainland or elsewhere, most choose to attend one of many institutions of higher learning in Hawaii.

The largest of these institutions is the University of Hawaii System . It consists of: (1) the flagship research university at Manoa ( Manoa ); (2) two comprehensive campuses Hilo and West Oahu ; and (3) seven Community Colleges. Students choosing private education attend Brigham Young University Hawaii , Chaminade University of Honolulu , Hawaii Pacific University , or University of the Nations .

The Saint Stephen Diocesan Center is a seminary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu . For a comprehensive list of colleges and universities, see the list of colleges and universities in Hawaii .


Public schools in Hawaii have to deal with large populations of children of non-native English speaking immigrants and a culture that is different in many ways from the mainland U.S., from whence most of the course materials come, and where most of the standards for schools are set.

The public elementary, middle, and high school scores in Hawaii tend to be below average on national tests as mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act . Some of this can be attributed to the Hawaii State Board of Education requiring all eligible students to take these tests and reporting all student test scores unlike, for example, Texas and Michigan. Results reported in August 2005 indicate that two-thirds of Hawaii's schools failed to reach federal minimum performance standards in math and reading (of 282 schools across the state, 185 failed [3] ).

On the other hand, results of the ACT college placement tests show that Hawaii class of 2005 seniors scored slightly above the national average (21.9 compared with 20.9) (Honolulu Advertiser, Aug. 17, 2005, p. B1). It should be noted that fewer students take the ACT examination than take the more widely accepted SAT examination. On the SAT, Hawaii's college bound seniors tend to score below the national average in all categories except math.

Hawaii, like all other states in the United States, is struggling to provide educational services in its public schools with shrinking budgets. [ citation needed ]


The history of Hawaii can be traced through a succession of dominating industries : sandalwood , whaling , sugarcane , pineapple , military , tourism , and education . Since statehood was achieved in 1959 , tourism has been the largest industry in Hawaii, contributing 24.3% of the Gross State Product (GSP) in 1997. New efforts are underway to diversify the economy. The total gross output for the state in 2003 was US$47 billion; per capita income for Hawaii residents was US$30,441.

Industrial exports from Hawaii include food processing and apparel. These industries play a small role in the Hawaii economy, however, due to the considerable shipping distance to markets on the west coast of the United States and ports of Japan . The main agricultural exports are nursery stock and flowers , coffee , macadamia nuts , pineapple , livestock , and sugar cane . Agricultural sales for 2002 , according to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, were US$370.9 million from diversified agriculture, US$100.6 million from pineapple, and US$64.3 million from sugarcane.

Hawaii is known for its relatively high per capita state tax burden. In the years 2002 and 2003 , Hawaii residents had the highest state tax per capita at US$2,757 and US$2,838, respectively. This rate can be explained partly by the fact that services such as education, health care and social services are all rendered at the state level - as opposed to the municipal level as all other states.

Millions of tourists contribute to the collection figure by paying the general excise tax and hotel room tax; thus not all the taxes collected come directly from residents. Business leaders, however, have often considered the state's tax burden as being too high, contributing to both higher prices and the perception of an unfriendly business climate [4] . See the list of businesses in Hawaii for more information on commerce in the state.

Until recently, Hawaii was the only state in the U.S. that attempted to control gasoline prices through a Gas Cap Law . The law was enacted during a period when oil profits in Hawaii in relation to the Mainland U.S. were under scrutiny, and sought to tie local gasoline prices to those of the Mainland. The law took effect in September 2005 amid price fluctuations caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Hawaii state legislature suspended the law in April 2006.

Law and government

Presidential elections results Year Republican Democratic
2004 45.26% 194,191 54.01% 231,708
2000 37.46% 137,845 55.79% 205,286
1996 31.64% 113,943 56.93% 205,012
1992 36.70% 136,822 48.09% 179,310
1988 44.75%' 158,625 54.27% 192,364
1984 55.10% 185,050 43.82% 147,154
1980 42.90% 130,112 44.80% 135,879
1976 48.06% 140,003 50.59% 147,375
1972 62.48% 168,865 37.52% 101,409
1968 38.70% 91,425 59.83% 141,324
1964 21.24%' 44,022 78.76% 163,249
1960 49.97% 92,295 50.03% 92,410

The state government of Hawaii is modeled after the federal government with adaptations originating from the kingdom era of Hawaiian history. As codified in the Constitution of Hawaii , there are three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial.

The executive branch is led by the Governor of Hawaii and assisted by the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii , both elected on the same ticket. The governor, in residence at Washington Place , is the only public official elected for the state government in a statewide race; all other administrators and judges are appointed by the governor. The lieutenant governor is concurrently the Secretary of State of Hawaii. Both the governor and lieutenant governor administer their duties from the Hawaii State Capitol . The governor and lieutenant governor oversee the major agencies and departments of the executive of which there are twenty.

The legislative branch consists of the Hawaii State Legislature - the twenty-five members of the Hawaii State Senate led by the President of the Senate and the fifty-one members of the Hawaii State House of Representatives led by the Speaker of the House . They also govern from the Hawaii State Capitol. The judicial branch is led by the highest state court, the Hawaii State Supreme Court , which uses Aliiolani Hale ( Ali'iolani Hale ) as its chambers. Lower courts are organized as the Hawaii State Judiciary .

The state is represented in the Congress of the United States by a delegation of four members . They are the senior and junior United States Senators , the representative of the First Congressional District of Hawaii and the representative of the Second Congressional District of Hawaii . Many Hawaii residents have been appointed to administer other agencies and departments of the federal government by the President of the United States . All federal officers of Hawaii administer their duties locally from the Prince Kuhio Federal Building ( Kuhio ) near the Aloha Tower and Honolulu Harbor .

Hawaii is primarily dominated by the Democratic Party and has supported Democrats in 10 of the 12 presidential elections in which it has participated. In 2004, John Kerry won the state's 4 electoral votes by a margin of 9 percentage points with 54% of the vote. Every county in the state supported the Democratic candidate.

The Prince Kuhio Federal Building also houses agencies of the federal government such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation , Internal Revenue Service and the United States Secret Service . The building is the site of the federal courts and the offices of the United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii , principal law enforcement officer of the United States Department of Justice in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii .

Linda Lingle

James R. Aiona, Jr.
Lieutenant Governor

Daniel Inouye
U.S. Senator

Daniel Akaka
U.S. Senator

Neil Abercrombie
U.S. Representative

Edward Case
U.S. Representative

Harry Kim
Mayor of Hawaii

Mufi Hannemann
Mayor of Honolulu

Alan Arakawa
Mayor of Maui

Unique to Hawaii is the way it has organized its municipal governments. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaii except the City & County of Honolulu . All other municipal governments are administered at the county level . The county executives are the Mayor of Hawaii , Mayor of Honolulu , Mayor of Kauai and Mayor of Maui . All mayors in the state are elected in nonpartisan races.

The officers of the federal and state governments have been historically elected from the Democratic Party of Hawaii and the Hawaii Republican Party . Municipal charters in the state have declared all mayors to be elected in nonpartisan races.

See also : United States presidential election, 2004, in Hawaii

Miscellaneous topics


The state constitution and various other measures of the Hawaii State Legislature established official symbols meant to embody the distinctive culture and heritage of Hawaii. These include a state bird , state flower , state gem , state mammal , and state tree . The humuhumunukunukuapuaa ( humuhumunukunukuapua'a ), or reef triggerfish , was the state fish . In 1990, the authorizing legislation was found to have expired, but this fish was reinstated as the state fish on May 2 , 2006 .

Included are the two statues representing Hawaii in the United States Capitol ; those of King Kamehameha I and Father Damien .

The primary symbol is the state flag, Ka Hae Hawaii . It is influenced by the British Union Flag , and features eight horizontal stripes representing the eight major islands. The constitution declares the state motto to be "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono", a pronouncement of King Kamehameha III, meaning "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness". It was also the motto of the kingdom, republic, and territory. The state song is " Hawaii Ponoi " ( Hawai'i Pono'i ), with words written by Kalakaua and music composed by Henri Berger . " Hawaii Aloha " is the unofficial state song, often sung in official state events.

Hawaiian goose
State Bird

Reef triggerfish
State Fish

Hawaiian hibiscus
Mao hau hele
( ma'o hau hele )
State Flower

State Tree

Humpback whale
Kohola kuapio
( kohola kuapi'o )
State Mammal

Father Damien Statue
State Capitol



Two major competing Honolulu-based newspapers serve all of Hawaii. The Honolulu Advertiser is owned by Gannett Pacific Corporation while the Honolulu Star-Bulletin is owned by Black Press of British Columbia in Canada . Both are among the largest newspapers in the United States in terms of circulation. Other locally published newspapers are available to residents of the various islands.

The Hawaii business community is served by the Pacific Business News and Hawaii Business Magazine . The largest religious community in Hawaii is served by the Hawaii Catholic Herald . Honolulu Magazine is a popular magazine that offers local interest news and feature articles.

Apart from the mainstream press, the state also enjoys a vibrant ethnic publication presence with newspapers for the Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Native Hawaiian communities. In addition, there is an alternative weekly, the Honolulu Weekly .


All the major television networks are represented in Hawaii through KFVE ( WB network affiliate ), KGMB ( CBS network affiliate ), KHET ( PBS network affiliate ), KHNL ( NBC network affiliate ), KHON ( Fox network affiliate ), KIKU ( UPN network affiliate ) and KITV ( ABC network affiliate ), among others. From Honolulu, programming at these stations is rebroadcast to the various other islands via networks of satellite transmitters. Until the advent of satellite, most network programming was broadcast a week behind mainland scheduling.

The various production companies that work with the major networks have produced television series and other projects in Hawaii. Most notable were police dramas like Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-O . Currently, the hit TV show Lost is filmed in the Hawaiian Islands. A comprehensive list of such projects can be seen at the list of Hawaii television series .


Hawaii has a growing film industry administered by the state through the Hawaii Film Office . Several television shows, movies, and various other media projects were produced in the Hawaiian Islands, taking advantage of the natural scenic landscapes as backdrops. Notable films produced in Hawaii or inspired by Hawaii include Hawaii , Blue Hawaii , Donovan's Reef , From Here to Eternity , South Pacific , Raiders of the Lost Ark , Lost , Jurassic Park , Outbreak , Waterworld , Six Days Seven Nights , George of the Jungle , 50 First Dates , Pearl Harbor , Blue Crush , and Lilo and Stitch . The recently released film Snakes on a Plane takes place on a flight departing Hawaii for the U.S. mainland. Hawaii is home to a prominent film festival known as the Hawaii International Film Festival .


Main article: Culture of Hawaii

The aboriginal culture of Hawaii is Polynesian . Hawaii represents the northernmost extension of the vast Polynesian triangle of the south and central Pacific Ocean . While traditional Hawaiian culture remains only as vestiges influencing modern Hawaiian society, there are reenactments of ancient ceremonies and traditions throughout the islands. Some of these cultural influences are strong enough to have affected the culture of the United States at large, including the popularity (in greatly modified form) of luaus and hula .

Sister states

Hawaii has an active sister state program, which includes ties to:

Famous people from Hawaii

The list of famous people from Hawaii is a comprehensive, alphabetized list of persons who have achieved fame that presently or at one time claimed Hawaii as their home. Separate registers of members of the Hawaiian royal family and Hawaii politicians are also available.

Father Damien
Beatified towards sainthood by Pope John Paul II

Mother Marianne Cope
Beatified towards sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI

Hiram Fong
First Chinese American and Asian American elected United States Senator

George R. Ariyoshi
First Japanese American and Asian American elected governor in the United States

Eric Shinseki
First Japanese American and Asian American member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Duke Kahanamoku
Gold-medal winning Olympic athlete (swimming) who popularized surfing

See also


Na Pali Coast

Satellite Image


  1. ^ Andrade Jr., Ernest (1996). Unconquerable Rebel: Robert W. Wilcox and Hawaiian Politics, 1880-1903 . University Press of Colorado. ISBN 8-87081-417-6 .
  2. ^ Hawaiian Sovereignty:Do the facts matter? by Thurston Twigg-Smith
  3. ^ 1897 Hawaii Annexation Treaty


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