Many of us learn about the beautiful culture of the Native Hawaiian people, but how many of us know how Hawai‘i came to be? It is said that the Native Hawaiian people migrated to Hawai‘i in two waves, the first happening around 400 CE, when Polynesians traveled from the Marquesas Islands and the second happening circa 1000 CE when Polynesians traveled from Tahiti. Over the span of 800 years, it is said that Polynesians explored over 16 million square miles of ocean and eventually settled on the islands that were habitable. The Hawaiians were no different – using their knowledge of the stars and the tides, Native Hawaiians voyaged by canoe and discovered what we know today as the Hawaiian Islands.
It’s said that the Tahitians Chiefs introduced religion and social structure to Hawai‘i – over time, the population of Hawaiians continued to grow and chiefs began to take on projects of infrastructure like taro terraces irrigation systems, religious temples known as heiau’s and fish ponds. According to historians, after 1300 the Hawaiian culture and society continued to grow, and transpacific migrations eventually ended. From there, distinctions between the Native Hawaiian culture and other Polynesian cultures also grew and the Native Hawaiians surpassed many of their Polynesian cousins in skill and proficiency.
Today, the Native Hawaiian culture is still remembered as being highly structured and sophisticated. Many of their early traditions and stories are shared as each generation passes – teaching us about the resilience and blossoming of ancient Hawai‘i and the Native Hawaiian culture.
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