March 19, 2012

24/17: Hawaii

Shelby Holliday spends the day with a teen in Hawaii.  

Shelby: When you think about Hawaii, you probably imagine a beautiful vacation spot. But what is it like to actually live on the tropical islands? In today’s 24/17 segment, we will show you 24-hours in the life of a 17-year-old Hawaiian! And we learn plenty about her state’s history, traditions, and culture along the way. Are you ready to visit paradise?

Makana Kane: Aloha! My name is Makana Kane. I live in Hawaii on the island of Oahu in Eva Beach. My day consists of surfing, eating, school, dancing and language. I love it!

Our school is really big. We’re actually on a hill, so we have buses that transport us from the top to the bottom of our campus.

What we’re going to do now is called a ole ko hala and that is an entering chat. So we, the students, will chant to our teacher basically saying we’re cold, we’re hungry, can you please shelter us. And he will reply, ‘yes, I have food, I have knowledge, I will teach you.’

People may think of hula as a girl on a stick on a postcard.

Shelby: But in real hula, Hawaiians use dance movements to tell the stories of Hawaiian culture and history.

And when you think about Hawaii, you might also think about flip-flops, right? Well, not at Makana’s school.

Makana: We can’t wear slippers. We can’t wear slippers or we’re going to get into a lot of trouble. And I forgot my shoes at home, so it looks like I’m walking around in my performing shoes. Lovely.

So, now I’m about to go into Hawaiian history class and it’s all in Hawaiian language.

Our name Kamehameha comes from the great King Kamehameha Nui.

Shelby: Back in 1810, King Kamehameha united the eight main islands of Hawaii. There is Hawaii, known as the big island, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Nihue and Kauai.

In 1893, the U.S. overthrew the monarchy and Queen Liluokalani. Hawaii became a republic, but it wasn’t until 1959 that Hawaii became the last state to join the U.S.

The royal past is still impacting Hawaii’s present. One of the last royal descendants of King Kamehameha was Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. She left her entire fortune to help educate children with Hawaiian ancestry.

Kamehameha schools like this one focus on keeping hawaiian culture alive.

Makana: I want to be an anthropologist and study on the evolution of native languages.

I was born and raised in Hawaii. At the age of six, I moved to Aotearoa, New Zealand. I learned how to speak Maori after my first language, Hawaiian.

Shelby: Maori is the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand.

Makana: My connections to Hawaiian language and to Maori culture and language builds me. It encourages me to keep going, and it’s my passion.

A haka is a Maori war chant. Back in the day when warriors were getting ready for war, they would do a haka. When the girls open their eyes really wide and when the boys stick out their tongue, that is showing their anger.

So, this is spam and we cook it and we put it on rice.

Shelby: Before it was known as junk email, spam was food. Some might call it mystery meat, but spam is actually processed chopped-up pork. It was popular during World War II when fresh meat was hard to get. Hawaiians per capita eat more spam than any other country in the world. It is even on the menu at Hawaii’s Burger Kings.

Makana: So, we’re going to go to work. I work at a surf shop in Waikiki. I love it. I get to see a bunch of tourists.

Shelby: About 7 million tourists visit Hawaii every year. And one of the main attractions is riding its gnarly waves — something Makana loves to do when she has got a day off.


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