Proper Etiquette in Hawaii

Many people have asked us…either visiting or moving to Hawaii, about the proper ETIQUETTE when visiting or living in Hawaii…there are clearly some things you can, should or should NOT do while you visit or live in Hawaii…Below we put a short list together so you come to Hawaii FULLY INFORMED…so if you DO get Cracks or Lick’ins…well…we warned you! lol



Learn the PROPER use of the Words ALOHA and MAHALO, but go above and beyond the basic words…Learn words like…KULEANA, AINA, MALAMA, KAPU, MAUKA & MAKAI etc.

If you are given a LEI….wear it with love and gratitude…being given a lei may it be for a welcome or a birthday etc is a BIG DEAL…Don’t disrespect the person who gave it to you and take it off in their presence.

Under all circumstances RESPECT Nature and the Wildlife in Hawaii. Do not disrespect their space.

When visiting an others home for the first time…ALWAYS bring a Gift. When visiting a home for a BBQ always bring a dish for potluck.

If you are invited to a child’s FIRST BIRTHDAY LUAU be prepared for it being a VERY BIG DEAL and find out the THEME of the the first Birthday so you can bring the proper gifts or food.

In Hawaii most service workers are tipped 20% if they do a great job…Lets respect this hard working class here in Hawaii as they get paid less than minimum wage.

You’re on ISLAND TIME…calk the fuck down.

DO NOT refer to people who live in Hawaii as NATIVES or HAWAIIANS…Educate yourself on the different cultures before you come to Hawaii…People Born and Raised in Hawaii are LOCALS, but they could be any race…very few are Native Hawaiian which are better known, and prefer to be called, Kanaka Maoli.

DO NOT attempt to speak PIDGIN if you did not grow up in Hawaii or haven’t already lived in Hawaii for many, many years. Locals and Hawaiians would take it as disrespectful and a form of mocking them.

DO NOT take offense to being called a HAOLE. 75% of the time it’s done with no disrespect and is just meant to mean you are not from Hawaii. Portuguese take offense to being called Haole because of the history they have in Hawaii so please don’t call them Haole.

LNT…LEAVE NO TRACE Policy. Always take out what you take in. Respect our hiking trails and our beaches and always make an effort to leave they place you ended up at in better condition than how you found it.

Always take off your shoes when you enter any home.

It’s SHOYO (Show-You) not SOY SAUCE…catch on to that one FAST because you’ll be using and asking for it a lot.

Know what you CAN and CAN NOT take from the islands. Volcanic Rock, Black Sand you can not take from the islands…Dead Shells (sand on beaches), White dead Bleached Coral you can take in small amounts from the islands…No live Coral can be taken from Hawaii and no Shellfish or Tropical Fish can be taken from Hawaii without a Commercial permit.

DON’T beep your Horn while when driving in Hawaii unless it’s to avoid an accident…It’s disrespectful to Honk your horn in Hawaii for any reason other than to avoid an accident.

Remember to never touch or walk on live Coral…it’s a living thing and can be killed if you walk or touch it…if you kill the Coral fish won’t visit that area anymore and if that happens bleaching can happen killing large sections of the reef system.

Be respectful of other cultures as well as historic and sacred sites.

Kupunas come first…Always respect the elderly here in Hawaii.

RESPECT KAPU…do not tresspass!

LISTEN to others when they have a story to tell you…it’s called “TALKING STORY” too often people are in a rush and think whatever they have going on is more important. Don’t bring your mainland thinking to Hawaii. Listen to them…they wouldn’t be telling you if they didn’t think it was important and you may not only learn something, but be given a great gift in story telling as that is all Hawaiians had in the ancient days.

21 thoughts on “Proper Etiquette in Hawaii

  1. I agree respect hawaii the Aina the people and their culture mahalo nui for doing this,love it its Iam hwaiian in heart its home to me,live in europe miss home keep me posted…. Pualani Maksoer Ella

  2. In 31 years living in Hawai’i, I understood you were not to take rocks from the the Mainland. This article encourages it.

    • We usually hold questions and answers for the following show, but this needed to be squashed fast…if I’m not mistaken, and perhaps you just miss wrote your statement , You said this Episode of our Podcast encourages people to take Volcanic Rock from the island to the mainland…Never in our lives have we or would we encourage such an act…not only have we been VERY CLEAR in many past episodes, but this episode especially that you DO NOT take Pele’s Volcanic Rocks from the islands under any circumstances as it is strictly KAPU!

      • There write up about the episode says “know what you can take from the island. Volcanic rock, black sand, coral etc”. I’m assuming that it should say, know what you can’t take from the island.

    • Dennis…it looks like there was a writing error on the Blog Podcast…We corrected the writeup…and if you actually listen to the podcast we talk about what you CAN and what you CAN’T take from the islands. Mahalo Dennis and Dannye for HELPING US catch this typing error.

  3. Another enjoyable show!

    You two lamented at the end of this week’s episode “How do we make money on this… How do we cash in?”… Well, what is the most frequent question you two probably get and pretty much touch on every week? *How do I move to Hawaii… or should I move to Hawaii?!?* It’s frequently mentioned as a topic emailed directly to either one of you where you personally try to assist them. Hell, it’s constantly got to be on your tour guest’s minds whenever you take them around the islands whether they actually ask you about it or not?

    You two need to publish the best book about moving there & make an accompanying video on that exact subject. But, what can really make your attempt different is that you’ll cut out all the BS and give folks the hard and oftentimes ugly truths that they really need to know before making any consequential commitments to that dream. You aren’t necessarily dissuading them but you’ll give them the heads up for all the crap that they have no idea is on the horizon. Compile all that valuable advice you’ve been handing out for free over some hundreds of hours of podcasts & emails and then you can simply refer folks from now on asking the very same repeat questions to download your ebook and/or watch your video. Hell, pack them together for $5.00 and it would definitely be worth the impulse buy for all of us even casually dreaming about making the move?

    “Lucky We Live Hawaii? The Definitive Modern Guide How To/Should You Move Here” You two have already given out so much free advice, interviewed so many guests and experienced so much personally on the subject that I’m not at all surprised that you mentioned this episode about how much it’s been covered in previous episodes to some degree. Instead of referring people to scan through every episode to glean just what they’re interested in, you can give them all that info in a handy comprehensive guide. Jesus, I’d be royally pissed if someone else was using your show to do it themselves before you could and profiting off your work instead of you two? e.g. How about a worksheet as a chapter to gauge the advisability of making the move? Things like educational level, marketable skills, savings, on-island connections, specialized talents, etc. can all mean the difference between success/failure there. No surprise that you’ve mentioned those things but how about a quantifiable way to determine your likelihood to succeed? Get your score and find out! Chapters like “Retirement Concerns”, “Milk Costs What?!?, “Medical Issues”, “…But What About The Kids?”, etc. have been essentially full podcast episodes. You’ve all but written the book already. You joked about the “honeymoon phase” of the newly relocated but what surprised even the well-prepared?

    Honestly, I think you two have already established yourselves as a valid resource on the subject? If there’s currently a longer running show of any format that regularly touches on the subject, then I’m completely unaware of it and I’ve definitely looked. There definitely isn’t a podcast around on it, much less one that’s been as repeatedly focused on the subject other than yours. It’s easy to toss someone a visitor’s guide and show them every amazing thing that will make them anxious to move there but it’s much, much more useful to temper that desire with facts and resources to consider not moving there. We don’t even see the traffic, much less hear much about it, except when you two complain about it! Does Hawaii 5-0 or any popular media ever show the trash cleanups, traffic of ANY kind, questionable housing conditions or the huge flying cockroaches? Hell, no… You two have interviewed the success stories, struggled to make it yourselves, know the failures, even been the boomerang residents. Nobody else is showing that stuff, much less mentioning it that often. Tell everybody all about it, SHOW the skeptical/clueless people that the negatives do exist and what just isn’t going to work there. Hell, if all it does is get people to stop booming out “Alooooooohaaaaa!!!” then you’ve done the world a service.

    Jeez, you two could even establish your own line of books/videos on the same subject applied to other desirable locations like Seattle, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, NYC, etc. Someone else similarly informed about those locales can write up one and piggyback off your success. You just need to setup the framework, much like we see with travel guides only more focused on long term stays rather than the odd vacation. Be like a Fodor’s guide for those interested in living there not just visiting. The tourist generally doesn’t need to know the more affordable locations to live in Hawaii, the traffic conditions, accessibility to medical care, etc. there or elsewhere if they’re just visiting for a week or two but those looking at moving there do!

    • Dale…seriously some great ideas…We’ll discuss our options and perhaps a book/video idea, We have thought about it and as for myself I already have an E-BOOK called “A POOR MAN’S JOURNEY from BOSTON to HAWAII”, but I REFUSE to release it at this time, for god sake it’s a link on the first page of my website Sidebar, you just can’t click it…if I activated the link you would be able to read my story…no joke…but why haven’t I activated it yet?…Do we honestly want everything and chapters to be right there for them? Do we want it to be that easy, do we want to put that many more people on the path of moving to the island and overcrowding it even more? That’s the Negative to this idea…and it’s a hypocritical one we would have to seriously consider, but that’s why you can’t read my E-BOOK yet…but we will think long and hard about this…We may just have someone do a transcript of the top 100 episodes and put it in e-book form and sell it with fancy pictures and shit…lol.

  4. Hey, fuck y’all! I wasn’t going to bring it up but I did donate more than a couple twenties way back in the day when you first started and I don’t think I even got a shoutout for it. I also bought a WWH merch and pimped it out around Oahu! Despite all your bitching I’m still here!

    I’m sad escobar didn’t make his debut on this episode.

    The Texas warning really annoyed me.. I can’t believe anyone took that shit seriously but a lot of locals on reddit really thought racist cops were going to pull them over because they thought they were mexicans and try to deport them. They don’t even deport actual illegal immigrants!

  5. What’s up guys?
    Here we go. My name is Dannye, I live in Washington and am coming to Oahu at the end of next month. I was in the Air Force for a few years out here in WA, and ended up staying once I got out of the military​. Being here has given me a greater respect for the land and how fragile it all is. I have a buddy that I’m going to be moving in with that’s been out there for a little over 2 years now. So I am coming out there, mainly to live in Paradise for a year, but to start learning about sustainability as well. I just started listening 2 nights ago, and I’m hooked. Thanks for all of the information​ that you’re putting out there! Hopefully I’ll be just a slightly more educated haole fuck by the time I get there. I plan on volunteering as much as possible, so I’m sure I’ll run into Wayde sooner than later.

    • Howzit braddah and E-Komo Mai…for the more educated Haole fuck…lol…that means welcome to our islands! Yes…you should see us around the island…Please join our group on facebook “808 CLEANUPS” answer 3 easy questions and you become a member of the group and once you come to an event you become a volunteer! Please come join us when you get out there and help us protect Hawaii! Mahalo Dannye!

  6. Aloha from Kona!
    Great episode! Please send anyone moving here our way. We can set up a local podcast here in Kona by getting together and calling you guys.
    I appreciate everything you said and need to share that I’m sure Eileen has experienced the same thing as we have, our friends and family are asking us to post and share lots of pictures of our experience here. I might post photos from my favorite beach, but I won’t be posting the name or location of it. I get it. We love it here and can’t begin to explain how many ways the people and the island have welcomed us. One example, our friend insisted we go on a lava boat tour, then shared that she was still sore from the bumpy ride back. I was nervous but booked anyway. Long story short, original boat cancelled so we booked with Moku Nui, a smaller catamaran, with cushioned, swivel captain’s chairs for 6 passengers. Awesome 4:45am tour! We saw the full moon, sun rise, flowing lava, a family of dolphins, turtles and rainbows. What a welcome!!!
    We love you guys and appreciate all of the information you shared to prepare us for this. We can’t wait to get to Oahu to hang out with you and Eileen.
    Beth & Kevin

  7. Hey Guys,

    I enjoyed the show. It is always wonderful to the show pop up in the feed. Another informative episode. Congratulations on the bird Wayde. We are working on learning the customs and the language. I learned that Kim ua hapai means that my wife is pregnant . . again. I will send Wayde the picture of our announcement. We will have three children ages 3, 1 1/12, and 7 months. So we will need plenty of consumables goods.
    I have a request for a topic; What should you keep and what should you shed when you move to Hawaii. I’ve heard conflicting reports. One is that you shed everything by selling everything, taking the money, and buying everything there. This conflicts with what you’ve said about how much shipping costs or even if anyone will ship there. What types of things can you get shipped and at what cost. Does Amazon Prime work? Is it only things that are sold by Amazon? Inquiring minds want to know.

    A hui hou,

  8. I am sure locals are listening but also I bet a lot of people from elsewhere continue to listen while vacationing in Hawaii so downloads coming from Hawaii can be from these traveling peeps that want ideas and are inspired to listen all things Hawaii on their vacations as well. I personally have enjoyed your podcasts because I am planning my first visit and exited about all Hawaii. I will likely be down loading while I am there as well because I would be in the Hawaiian mood! I don’t think I can fit in a Jeep tour in my current trip but after all I’ve researched about Hawaii I will be sure to come back repededly. Will seek out your services.

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