Hawaiian roots most likely trace back from Polynesia and beyond. The first settlers brought with them their beliefs in gods and demi-gods. Hawaiians were self-sufficient and productive people with all the components of a highly developed culture. There was a fairly rigid caste structure, though the Hawaiians also maintained a system of communal subsistence based on the natural resources of wedge-shaped land divisions known as ahupua‘a. 

Traditional Maui Culture

In a traditional Hawaiian context, nature and culture are one and the same, there is no division between the two. The wealth and limitations of the land and ocean resources gave birth to, and shaped the Hawaiian world view. The ‘äina (land), wai (water), kai (ocean), and lewa (sky) were the foundation of life and the source of the spiritual relationship between the people and their environment. Hawaiian mo‘olelo, or traditions express the attachment felt between the Hawaiian people and the earth around them. 

Hawaiians continue to honor and pass down their traditions to new generations. Confronting seemingly unwavering forces of globalization, modern cultural practitioners maintain tradition by acknowledging the past, present, and future.

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