As a travel consultant who specializes in sending many visitors each year to visit The Hawaiian Islands I try to provide them with as much information as possible. Throughout the booking process we discuss which islands to visit, which activities, which restaurants and so forth. I love sharing the information I have gathered over the years and many visits to each of the islands about all the fun stuff there is to do, but it is also my Kuleana (responsibility) to make sure that visitors know that when they see culturally sensitive sites marked with signs that say KAPU (keep out- forbidden) they need to respect these sites and stay out.
I was so upset on my most recent visit to the islands while visiting such a site a malihini (tourist or visitor) went running right by this sign as well as others that were posted and just kept on running. I wondered to myself how he made his reservations to visit the island on his own or through a travel agent, and how much time had been spent learning about all the beautiful things Hawaii
has to offer, but obviously very little time about the Hawaiian Culture.
From the very first time I visited the Hawaiian Islands, I felt they were very special and continue to try to learn more about the culture and history. It must break the heart of kama’aina (native born or islanders) when they witness someone disrespect their Hawaiian Heritage. To many visitors it may just look like a pile of rocks , mound of dirt or something very common, but when you learn to understand the connection between the Hawaiian people and the ‘aina (the land) it helps put everything into prospective. We grow up knowing that Hawaii is one of the United States, but to native Hawaiians there was a monarchy and most of these sites have a connection to the royal family somehow, a birth site, site of their residence or sacred resting place.
They also have a deep respect for their rainforest, waterfalls, rivers and the ocean as well as so many other treasures that are Hawaii so please be careful to observe their signs, place your ‘opala (trash or rubbish) only in designated places and help to maintain the beauty that is Hawaii for generations to come. We should always remember that we are malihini (tourists or visitors) and that those that came before us took care of it for us and it is our responsibility to do the same for those that visit after us.
Normally I so enjoy sharing fun enlightening things about my visits to the islands, but I just felt compelled to write about our responsibilities to always repect the Hawaiian People, after all we are visiting their homeland .
Mahalo Nui Loa ( Thank you very much)