Maui Surprises: Faces
Hawaii is one of the most racially diverse places in the world; no one group holds a majority. We are Hawaiian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Caucasian, Japanese, Pacific Islanders, Mexican, and other. According to the 2010 census, 23% of the residents of Hawaii claim multi-ethnic origins; no other U.S. state comes close to this percentage. This “mixed plate” of mingling traditions and cultures enriches our Hawaiian islands—and we get visitors from around the world too. Maui is a wonderful place to people watch.
Of the about 157,000 residents on our three-island (Maui, Molokai, and Lanai) Maui County, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders now comprise only 10.5% of the population (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/15/15009.html).
According to Sam L. No’eau Warner in “The Movement to Revitalize Hawaiian Language and Culture,” ” The Hawaiian people thrived for 1,000 years after migrating to Hawai’i in the eighth century (Beechert 1985). They had developed highly organized social systems, and upon contact with Europeans in 1778, the Hawaiian population was estimated to be 800,000 (Stannard 1989). . . . By 1878, only 47,5000 Hawaiians still remained (Schmitt 1968). . . .
Hawaiians were economically self-sufficient. They also had a highly developed religious system, which, together with their understanding of the natural environment, nurtured and protected the natural resources . . . Although unwritten, Hawaiian at that time was a sophisticated language with a long and rich tradition of oral literature. . . .
Initially, contact with Westerners resulted in the death of 80% [growing to 94%] of the Hawaiian population through introduced diseases (Stannard 1989).
The present ethnic mix of Maui is the result of migrant sugarcane and pineapple workers especially during the mid-to-late 1800s.” Even today, immigrants come to work in the fields and seek a better life for their children; now most are from other Pacific islands and from Mexico. Children of immigrants lead our Maui businesses and government, and Maui faces show the rich ethnic diversity of its people.
Then there is Little Beach. Go on a Sunday night for drummers and more.
Come enjoy the ethnic diversity you’ll find on Maui.
*All photos by me