Hi, I am not sure if you answer these types of questions, but if you do. Thank you in advance!
My fiance spent his teen years in Kihei and has always wanted to move back. He works in North Dakota in the oil fields, so he has a job that he can keep til he finds one on the island. He would fly in every month for 14 days. I have never been there, and I have some wonderful things about Maui and some not-so-wonderful things. I have two children, my son is 15 and quite white and has flaming red hair, and my daughter is 13 and is half Mexican and looks full. I have heard that the locals give “haole” kids a super hard time. Is this true there is racism in Maui? Is there anything we can do or learn about or avoid so this doesn’t happen? Also, do you have any suggestions on how to get a decent apartment or house to rent before we get there? I know there are a lot of scams out there. Do you know of any condos or hotels that rent by the week or month? I was wondering if there might be a good route to go so we could make sure that the rentals are legit. Any suggestions or insight you could give us would be wonderful! I really enjoy your page. Thanks! Amber
Those are all good questions. To be honest, we don’t have haole children of that age, so it’s hard for us to share the experience. From what we hear, it can be difficult, depending on what school they go to. The racism sucks, but as a haole adult, it isn’t a daily issue (more like a yearly, minor issue here and there.) The more you embrace the culture, history, and people, the more it will embrace you. That being said, there are always bad apples with bad histories.
Moving here is kind of a catch-22. It’s hard to find a job when you’re new to the island, and difficult to find a rental without a job on the island. Many look for the job first, either from the mainland or coming for a few weeks, and do some serious looking/interviewing for anything possible. Weekly/monthly rentals don’t really exist (legally) unless you’re paying vacation rates.
Moving to the island of Maui is not an easy thing to do. But, if you can make it work, it’ll change your life. Those that do make it often don’t last more than two years. Those that make it past the 2-year mark usually make it to the end. The good things about Maui outweigh the bad.
Please keep us updated on your progress. Thanks for sharing your story and questions. And thanks for liking our page! It takes a lot of work getting these photos each day, but it’s also a pleasure seeing everyone’s responses!
49 thoughts on “Moving to Maui & Racism”
All of this is good information if everyone can set aside their own view. From my aunt living on one island and my brother living on another. I have learned one thing in all my visits. Understanding and being able to be a kind empathetic human is all you need to get along any where. Im poor, white, and country lol yet i was treated great and i got to tell you most problems ive seen in hawaii happen not from race but from disrespect either to the culture the land or the locals. Give respect and you will be fine.
Well said, Jay! For every situation, especially in dealing with people, putting ego aside, truly listening, being humble, and giving more than you take will set you up for success. Ignorance is common, but not caring about your own ignorance is ugly.
I had a comment removed the other day. The truth to some is unacceptable. You can speak the truth in fairness and honesty…free of hate…but if that truth offends them, they will censor you, much like a dictator. Sad.
We get dozens of comments. We just approved 37 new ones, among which were your 2 comments. Before you accuse a website moderator of being a “dictator” for not getting to your comment within the week, take a deep breath. I’m guessing there’s a reason you and your friends were being beat up. Many on staff here are haole and have never been beaten up (decades living here.) I think it’s all a matter of how you treat people around you. So to your comments, I say ALOHA!
Why are U using the term “haole” so casually? It’s a racist term, like the “n” word, and should not be said
In Hawaiian, it means foreigner, a non-native Hawaiian/Polynesian. Said with the wrong tone and context, any word can be a bad word.
Actually, look it up. It literally means, “without breath” or “without soul”. It comes from the fact that native Hawaiian people greeted each other by embracing, during which they shared each other’s breath, or soul. White explorers coming to the islands did not do this, so they called them “haole”. They’re calling you soulless. It’s not a cute term for non Hawaiians.
You must have blown the whistle on anti-white racism.
I was in the 25th ID (L) from ’92-’95 on Oahu (Infantry 11B). We all make mistakes; one I made was not giving my seat to an elderly person that got on “Aloha the Bus”. It was out of ignorance and a lesson was learned. It’s clear that many Hawaiian parents pass their racism on to their children; it isn’t uncommon to hear little children tell you at a McDonalds (for example) “Get off our island Haole”. On a Friday or Saturday night hitting the clubs in Honolulu…you had to roll with 4-5 friends. The locals roll in numbers and they do not care if they catch you alone. To their credit I never saw them pull knives or guns…but there are lots of fights. I was the moral compass in my circle of friends, and I can safely say that the majority of the fights were initiated by the locals. An amazing thing to see as well…Honolulu PD would often show up immediately after the locals would start a fight…and if you have lived there, it’s no secret whose side the HPD will take. Heaven forbid if you walk into the wrong bar in Wahiawa…or take a stroll on the wrong beach. You will probably get your ass beat. There is 0 excuse for being evil to another person simply because of what happened to your ancestors. Many injustices over the past 2,000 years have been perpetrated upon my Irish, Ukrainian and Italian ancestors. I don’t go through life with a chip on my shoulder because of how my ancestors were treated. In my experiences with mainland Native Americans (hundreds of them), I have not once been treated with contempt simply because of my skin color. On a positive note; since there were so many locals that hated whites and blacks on Oahu, there was virtually no racism in the 25th ID because we depended on each other for protection.
Hi, I lived all over the big island for 20 years and saw both sides of the locals. I worked construction during the day and at subway sandwiches at night, so I got quite a mix of experiences. The locals on the construction site were pretty cool and always called me haole boy, but only a couple dudes ever called me “f@&king haole” which obviously was a different story. I’m generally the job site clown, so that helped a lot as I was the goofy one instead of having a chip on my shoulder with something to prove. At Subway, I worked with Filipino and Portuguese ladies and we always had a blast. I was a regular at the local fights and concerts, so even if the locals didn’t know me personally, they probably recognized me from somewhere as you see the same faces all the time. I dated a few local girls and was often literally the only white person at giant baby 1st birthday parties, but didn’t feel out of place at all. I was always driving a work truck and wearing clothes that were covered in paint, so it was pretty obvious I wasn’t a tourist and that probably helped. My one piece of advice I can give is this, if you make eye contact with anyone, no matter where it is or their race, always acknowledge them with a smile with eyebrows up and nod your head back real quick and then go about your business whether they smile back or not. Do that and you will make a lot of friends down there. All in all I was glad for the experience and felt accepted with the island’s aloha.
Thanks for sharing, Derek! Yes, I think it comes down to each person’s disposition. If a haole is rude, not pleasant, they’re a F@&king haole. Same on the local side. You can’t judge a culture by a few bad apples. Some locals are hurting and have hate as part of their symptoms. In my experience, it’s very rare and ALOHA is alive and well.
So I’ve had the opportunity to read some of these posts on this blog (Maui Hawaii). I’d like to share some of my thoughts and experiences during the time I visited Maui. First and foremost I would say to everyone please take the time to know the history of Hawaii and its people (this is very important!). Then maybe you will walk away with a different perspective of who they really are… proud Hawaiian people!!!
I am African American male who lives In California but visit Maui whenever I can. My experience with some of the native Hawaiians has always been very pleasant as well as informative (I constantly seek out the elders and ask lots of questions).
They are extremely very proud people with a rich culture. Each time I am able to visit I make it a point to say,”thank you!” for allowing me the opportunity to visit your home. The Hawaiian people I know are very warm and gentle people. They are much more deserving of my respect!!!!! I would say this to those who believe that local Hawaiians are racist.
When your very own land (Hawaiian people) has been forcibly taken away from you and your culture being destroyed, when you are forced into learning another language other than your own, when you are priced out of the housing market and left trying to figure out where you will live on your own land, when the land owned by your family for generations has been taken away(stolen) from you by the US government and its people, when you continuously disrespect their culture and land and somehow believe because you are a different race with a superiority complex that the Hawaiian people don’t bow down to you and now you want to call them racist!!!??? No Brah! you got it all wrong…..
So much talk about respecting Hawaii but when we drive along the roads there we see abandoned cars and appliances , I’m pretty sure they weren’t left there by tourists .
Agree, it’s a problem. It costs money and time to take these items to the dump. Cheap/Lazy people leave them on the side of the road. So crappy.
Visiting now in 2020, so sad…it took me two days before I saw a native that wasnt wearing a construction vest. $7 fish tacos, $20 quarter chicken meals and native boys begging for money to “buy something to eat”,$8 frosted flakes and Kombucha on tap on the markets??? You caucasians have the top socioeconomical spot in this world and everything else. Why can’t you go to a place and leave it be? Why must you make it your own? Why are you so butt hurt over recieving something you’ve done to others for 1000’sof years? Blacks and asians on the mainland bite their pride everyday bc of your superiority complex and continue our lives without writing a comllaint blog. Karma is a beach isn’ it? Keep looking for help, no one’s coming to save you.
Julian, whose the racist here?
Keep your ghetto @$$ on that that ghetto @$$ island than, dont come here looking for jobs
Julian isn’t wrong here. Julian is not a racist just stating the truth. Jackie and Jim are probably mad because they think they’re above everyone else and expects the world to treat them better and the fact that it does not exist in Hawaii hurts their little ego. Jackie and Jim are white and never faced racism like all the other race in the world. I’m glad Julian spoke the truth and they can’t handle it.
here’s a story that is probably the best indication of what life is really like on Maui.
heard recently about a couple that had been living on the Big Island for a decade or so. so these people weren’t “newcomers”, naive, etc. – no , they’re two people who know as much about living in Hawaii as anyone. ten years is enough time to figure anything out.
they loved their life on the Big Island – who wouldn’t, it’s everything people hear that Hawaii is…including being a place full of warm, friendly people. but they had a curiosity with Maui, they always heard so many cool things about it. well, after ten years on the Big Island they must have thought…lets give it a shot.
it’s not as if they were going to relocate to Mars after all, just another Hawaiian island – it wouldn’t be the sort of thing that wouldn’t be a huge problem to retract from. and so they “gave it a shot”. after what was likely a due level of research related to work and housing, they relocated to Maui.
according to the story, things for this couple did not go so well. remember, they had their Big Island experience to fall back on, to use as a realistic comparison.
well, without going into detail, or speculating on what actually transpired (which I could likely do with accuracy and at length), they apparently lasted less than a year before they folded up their tent and returned to the Big Island.
this much I’m certain of. the couple DID state that their primary motivation for giving up on Maui was in their words the “measurably higher number of hostile, unfriendly locals”.
two people, vastly familiar with the “genuine Aloha” of the Big Island – gave up on Maui by comparison (and in the famous words of Cosmo Kramer…”a story like that’s gotta be true”).
of course it is…just ask anyone that possesses a truly objective view of life on Maui (but be patient, that process might take a while). ♒
Background: I’m a 44, white, educated, east coast American guy with a suburban white (liberal) worldview. I get it.
I just returned from about 3 months on Maui (summer 2021 so now we have to throw the whole Covid thing into the mix). My first trip to Hawaii was in my early 20s so all I really noticed then were beaches, waterfalls, cliffs, volcanoes, and food/alcohol. I didn’t know much about Hawaii and didn’t really look too closely when I was there the first time. It was 4 islands in 10 days so you can imagine we barely scratched any surfaces. This time I visited nearly the entire island of Maui, and to a more in-depth degree than probably 90% of visitors. Did all Airbnb, no resorts. Spent time in west, south, central, and upcountry. Also visited east/Hana. (Also visited Hawaii, Lanai, and Kauai). I had an exceptionally great time overall, but I did catch glimpses of what’s behind the rainbows and sunshine.
Perspective: My guess is that any haole visitor from the mainland who hasn’t noticed Hawaiian “ambivalence” (I’m being nice with this word; perhaps “disdain” would be more accurate) is either perpetually drunk, perpetually stoned, or hasn’t left their Wailea resort. I felt it from my first day. Not terribly so, but I’m perceptive to these things and it was obvious to me. Happened pretty much anywhere (grocery store, L&L, majorly in Hana – but then again they’re in a tough situation because of overtourism – tourist spots, non-tourist spots, it varied. At first I actually wondered if some of these people were “slow” or had something wrong mentally. Most of the time it felt like this odd mix of apathy, tension, uncertainty, disdain, and annoyance all rolled up into a nice little crispy taco and served to you with a nice side order of macaroni salad and stink eye. Behaviors I noticed quite a bit: failure to make eye contact (possibly a cultural quirk? Perhaps a question for the anthropologists), refusal to speak (for instance not telling you your total at the register, just letting you observe it for yourself), very curt responses if any, zero warmth when it would not cost any effort to just be nice, outright ignoring you when you politely ask a question, etc… Very officious. At first we thought “have we done something wrong? Have we offended someone or broken some unwritten code for acceptable behavior?” No, others were treated the same. Not everywhere, not every day, but semi-regularly. I recognize these are pretty trivial occurrences in the grand scheme and would not go so far as to call this outright “racism” but it’s like a buffet table of microaggressions laid out before you and it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Once I realized that this behavior is intentional and could not be ascribed to intellectual challenge, I realized how passive aggressive it all is. Like another post said, it’s as if they’re frustrated and angry at haole presence but don’t really know how to express it appropriately or through a proper channel so it gets unleashed on the hapless tourists who stumble around and wonder whose toes they inadvertently stepped on. Of note: maybe some of this is because of Covid too but it did seem to me like most tourists really were trying to be on their best behavior, with a few exceptions as mentioned below.
To the posters who say “show respect and you will be shown respect in Hawaii”…hmmm, maybe sometimes, but being a haole and male to boot, I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath.
Another anecdote: our very first day in Hawaii, on the Big Island (Kona), the first thing I noticed were the local drivers. I said to my girlfriend “it seems like the locals (and you can tell a local car usually) are deliberately driving 10 mph below the speed limits just to make a point about tourists speeding. Ok, I’ll grant that too. Everyone should slow down, enjoy the island vibe, and be safe – particularly in residential areas. But after a while we started to get the feeling there was almost like this unwritten agreement amongst locals to be as un-Aloha as possible so that we’d all just leave. Again, maybe Covid related as well.
This *may* smack of paranoia and I could be wrong but I also got the impression that the locals (including white locals/kama’aina too) are basically watching every move we make, ready to pounce on us for any perceived mistake or violation, no matter how minor. She felt it too. There was almost a bureaucratic air to the interactions with locals (not all but more than some).
Signs are an effective way to get a message out to people but wow do Hawaiians love their signs. On paper, on napkins, on the wall, on surfboards, doesn’t matter. If they can squeeze in a sign telling you what TO DO, what NOT TO DO, where to do it, and why, they’ll squeeze it in. And then they’ll make another sign. AGAIN, probably Covid is a big factor with this but I think the level of micromanagement of the actions of others surpasses even San Francisco. It’s a stark contrast to the natural beauty surrounding you in what is otherwise a chill live/let live place.
Now…having said all that…
I recognize that (as white Americans) our ancestors basically took their country via a thinly veiled coup launched by white American profiteers. And yes, just a cursory study of 19th and 20th century Hawaiian history is pretty revolting. Our diseases decimated the native population, our materialistic greed, obsession with ownership, all that hard core win win white competitive mentality is a drag and I’ve been guilty of some of that myself earlier in my life. Then throw in the missionary history, leprosy…They have a valid grievance.
Also, there simply are just some bad tourists. Most are good I think – most. But some people do behave badly. Some do litter and show disrespect for the natural resources. I saw people brazenly ignoring signs and doing as they pleased. And for the record I do believe white privilege is real and I’m learning to accept it. I can accept that as white tourists we’re not going to be welcomed with open arms, especially with all that’s happening with Covid. But I felt the frostiness was a bit excessive. It got old after a while. But then again, I was so privileged to have this experience that it strikes as gauche to complain about it when you consider the hardships many native Hawaiians must face. In another post someone said something to the effect of ‘why do white people get so offended when not everybody LOVES them?’ He has a point. White people are so used to being in even the most subtle position of privilege that as soon as the playing field is equal it feels very wrong. Recognizing this, how can haoles not then at least *somewhat* understand the struggles of minorities in a white dominated world?
If you’ve read this far you may sense that I’m torn between understanding/empathy and annoyance/frustration.
Bottom line: at least as of summer 2021, Aloha is mostly gone in my opinion. Maybe that’s a good thing – let the virus die down a bit, let the reefs come back, let the fish populations surge. If you’re going to Maui for a couple weeks or months, it’s not a huge deal; maybe it’s more of a nuisance. If you’re considering relocating there from the mainland I would definitely make sure you check it out beforehand and be aware of the potential for pitfalls.
Thank you Julian finally someone that acknowledge the same experience I had when I went to visit Maui. It was so disappointing not seeing natives but nothing but white people everywhere. It’s like going to Japan and just seeing white people there. Maui is beautiful but I believe it should be mostly inhabited by the natives of the land. I do understand the anger. I hated just seeing natives when there was a luau performance.
I was sent an email regarding Administrative positions in the Medical Field. My oldest daughter is married and just moved to another state, my son is in college and my youngest daughter is about to enter college. Being a single mom, i was thinking this might be a new and exciting chapter in my life, so i was discussing this with a work colleague who lived on Oahu some years ago and worked as a Home Health nurse. She is possibly the nicest, kindest person in my life who would never disrespect anyone. She told me that unfortunately her experience was very sad due to how some of the natives she came in contact with(not all), felt about her being there and working. I would never want to take an opportunity away from someone, but i feel like if this company is looking for off islanders, they are having difficulty finding any applicants there on the island. Caring for others as well as caring and respecting the land and sea are one in the same. I thought it might be a great opportunity, and I would never disrespect the land or its people but i find myself a little fearful. Are things really as bad as some say, or if you are respectful, can you find friends and have a good experience?
Yes, of course you can find friends and have a good experience. Any place you move to will have bad apples. Surround yourself with people that care about you, and you’ll win (regardless of any haters.)
I moved to Hawaii from California. There is a palpable tension between Hawaiians and anyone they perceive as “haole” or white. Racial epithets are common place here. I’ve been yelled at to “go home.” My mixed race daughter (my wife is Japanese) is constantly ridiculed at school, which breaks my heart. California is light years ahead of Hawaii in terms of racial inclusion. I have lived in several countries and states; Hawaii is by far the worst in terms of racism. Hawaii brings to light that in 2019 racism is still very alive unfortunately.
I am African American it is racism in Maui…I been here 2 years..there is plenty of low end jobs..but it beats living in Pittsburgh or Phoenix..it’s non violent racism….but s great place to live..mist people are friendly..but a few of the Hawaii people will let you know you are not welcome here…I’m moving to Honolulu…I here it’s more friendly there… overall Maui is a great place to live with plenty jobs…good luck time for me to move on for now..I may come back later.. peace and blessings
I’m a haole chick and I love Hawaii so much. I’m nice to everyone. I have never had anyone be mean to me ever! If your a good person, your life will be good too. It doesn’t matter where you live. If you love yourself, the universe will too.
Oh man, @Hayley. While I appreciate the desire to be good-natured, you’re a white privileged young (I assume) woman. It seems so…naive, even cruel? to claim so unqualifiedly that if you love yourself, the universe will love you back. That may largely be true when you are not living under an oppressor (which you rarely are as a white person), but for the hundreds of millions who are, that kind of casual remark simply comes across as ignorant and careless…and I’m an old white guy.
I used to attend a New Thought church (cf. Science of Mind) – “change your mind, change your life”, etc. While those teachings ring true under certain conditions, they often show blatant disregard for people living under oppressive systems – usually an indication that people have not studied history and/or been involved in anti-racist organizing. Also, New Thought churches are almost always all white. There’s a reason for that.
I encourage you to read some foundational books on racism: Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow”, A. Higginbotham Jr.’s “In the Matter of Color”, Douglas Blackmon’s “Slavery By Another Name”, Netflix’s “Thirteenth” and even Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”. Then come back and re-read what you said on this site.
Embrace being the key word, not to be confused with appropriating. Understanding your white privilege, and the power and responsibility that comes with it. People often think just because you’re white and are born and raised Hawai’i that entitles you and classifies you as “local”. Not so, if people had the mindset of thinking Hawai’i is like a native american reservation then you can truly begin to understand island culture and the inherent racism that continues and perpetuated in the islands. The haoles that understand this, accept and acknowledge the violent history and colonization that is associated with white people, are more successful with locals than those that fight against it. Part of the issue further contributing to the hate is the economy as well. It is always a sellers market in Hawai’i so when you have a family who want to “live the island dream” it takes that opportunity away from a local one. The military artificially inflates the economy making it further harder for locals to find affordable housing. Locals are priced out of their own land, it’s an island with finite resources, a brutal colonizing history, so remote with a certain amount of land. I don’t understand how people can move to a place with the history it had, with a “reservationesque” mindset not expecting this kind of backlash. Would it be cool to go up to a native american person and try and teach them what their version of aloha is or means? No. Then why do people do it to Hawaiians?
I really enjoyed reading your explanation… and for many of the reasons you’ve mentioned, I could never move to Hawaii and feel relaxed or at peace.
On the contrary, my friend! As a Native American our experiences are not universal to yours. The atrocities that were committed on our people have not left us bitter and hateful. We have much bigger issues than being mad at white people.
Hawaiians take their trauma out on anyone they consider foreign. Always talking haole this and haole that… But steady aspiring to live the haole life. Eat haole food and have sex with haole women.
I have lived all over the world amongst indigenous people and I have never met a more ignorant and overtly racist people. Hawaiians employ bullying, verbal abuse, name calling, intimidation, and violence just to feel good about themselves. They teach their children to enjoy causing suffering to others. Most spend half their time trying to be the the lap dog for some big business or plantation owner, and the other half doing hurtful things to “foreigners” to boost their self esteem.
I am African American and this country was built on the backs of my ancestors forced labor. If Hawaiians accept all the benefits of being a US citizen how the heck you gonna try to exclude and discriminate against other US citizens.
Hawaiians need mental health care.
Know if you move here, the Aloha is for sale only. Hawaiian moral code does not require any integrity or morality when dealing with anyone considered a foreigner. They have been conditioned from birth to behave this way and the social structures and institution support this.
They claim that this is there land, and I dare say they are making a hell out of the Heavenly place that God has blessed them with. And the people will continue to suffer until they take responsibility for their emotions and find positive ways to process their trauma.
Hawaiians as a collective whole no longer embody Aloha.
There are exceptions to this rule, but truly humane and descent people are few and far in-between among Hawaiian people.
The only way to get along with these people is to allow them to abuse you. Basically they have become the school yard bully who comes from an abusive home and lacks the capacity to relate to others without being violent or hurtfy.
You are African American!!?? If you are then I would say this to you…. know your own history before speaking about racism in Hawaii, mental health, discrimination and acceptance..I can’t believe you are writing this crap about the Hawaiian people..WOW!!! Please read a book sometime …Dr. Haunani-Kay Trask!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Knowledge is Power!!!!!! Get Some!!
Teens everywhere around the world are testing their “power” on each other. IF you can educate your own children to expect this testing, make it a normal growth event, then they will likely find their way easier, being mostly analytical instead of being bombarded with negative reactions. I raised my kids (30 yrs) on maui, blonde hair and blue eyes, and they found their way pretty easily, mostly by making one solid friend, and slowly branching out from that stepping stone. Your son may have two strikes against him with autism, and I wonder if there is an opportunity for you to homeschool him? Or put him into a homeschool environment? You may want to contact a Maui psychiatrist to see if there are human resources on Maui that can give you very good advice concerning his options.
We own a condo in Kihei and reside in British Columbia. We do find ‘some’ of the native Hawaiians to be very disrespectful. It is very disappointing that in this modern age, we cannot accept one another for who we are.
We completely understand many visitors and guests are disrespectful….but we would encourage them all to realize….where would Hawaii be without tourism. That being said, we would like to see the beaches monitored for smoking, the taking of sand, shells, coral, standing on reefs, touching sea turtles etc. All of these actions indicate disrespect and we get very upset.
It would be good to see some of the native locals out defending this wonderful resource and those who do not like the rules and don’t want to return…don’t. There are always more guests willing to abide by the rules of the land than not. We will continue to do our part; we have no problem letting people know they are violating the laws of the Hawaiian land. Admittedly, we don’t care if they don’t like it or like being told, just because you are there on vacation, it is not an open book for taking whatever you want and destroying nature in the process.
Much of what you wrote is right on, but using the argument that Tourism is good for the people will get you a lot of resistance. Without tourism, the islands would be very different, and many locals would be happier. We feel that there’s a balance where everyone can be happy, but it takes more understanding.
I SO agree with you as a kanaka maoli.
With less mainland tourism, Hawaii would be less of target for Mainlanders to flock to and in turn, “Karen-up” our islands. As a whole we may end up with less cash in our bank accounts, which would actually free us up to be more Hawaiian than we’ve been for the last 30 yrs. We know how to be happy with what we have and I’d guess it wouldn’t take us long to get used to living without the extra cash- it’s not like we plan on sending all of our kids to Harvard – and the 70 inch screen is a haolecentric thing we can live without. I think about where we’d be without mainland tourism all the time, I guess you could say I fantasize about it. Just saying…
We lived on Maui for 2 years. When I left, I was so happy to leave. Now, 2 years later, I would give anything to go back and live there again. My husband is in the Air Force and was stationed there and we lived in Kihei. Our landlord’s house (the one we were renting) went in to foreclosure after we had lived in it for about 14 months (we had a 2 year lease). That being said, if you rent a house, do some sort of credit check on the person who owns the house you are renting to make sure their payments are up to date. Request to see a letter from their lender that they are up to date with their payments. If they won’t show you one, be wary of renting from them. As for racism, we were given some hyped up information about how haole’s are treated by kids in school. My son’s first 2-3 days were terrible because of what we had been told ahead of time (he went to Maui High). It turned out to not be as bad as we had been told. I would say that if you want more of a mix, live an an area where the kids would go to Baldwin High or upcountry. I know your kids aren’t that old, but I’m not that familiar with the boundaries. Also, you may want to consider putting your kids in private school, something like Saint Anthony’s. We had friends that had 2 kids going to school there and they paid less tuition than they do now for one child in full-time daycare in the Washington DC area. There are more haole kids there, and they might have scholarships depending on your income. For a long term rental, check out for rent by owner.com. You can pick the area of the island you want to live in. You may be able to find someone who is willing to rent to you on a longer term basis (several weeks at a time) at a reduced rental rate. Beware that winter season (mid December through mid May) is whale season and the most expensive time of the year to rent a vacation rental. You might get with a real estate agent to help you find a house. I agree that you will need a job to get a rental on island. If you have any more questions or want more info, email me privately.
I moved to Maui with a teenage daughter. She was blond haired and blue eyed and had a difficult time adjusting at first. It’s all about attitude. If you embrace the Hawaiian culture and way of life then the locals open their hearts to you. It won’t be easy at first but the best things in life never are! When we first moved there, I found a temporary rental through http://www.vrbo.com. It’s people who have vacation rentals to rent out. Then once I knew a bit more about the island, I looked for places close to my work..Good Luck!
Amber, the natives prefer to hire natives. Teacher jobs may be easier to come by…I know haoles who are teachers K-12. I would recommend contacting a church pastor and get connected that way.
I moved to Maui when I was 10 years old, and I will be honest it was rough. I am haole so it took a while for the other kids to accept me. In a sense your joining a club, you must endure an initiation in some sense. For a local, the community and your friends/ family come before all, and because of this, newcomers are criticized. The term Haole literally translates into “one who does not breath” your husband should know the story, this term is now generally used for white people in peticular. It may be hard but with your husband being a local it may be a good idea to take advantage of that and immerse your children in his local friends families immensly before they enter school. Your son, being 15 will be attending Maui high school where I went. They have the best and highest awarded music program in the state, I was a part of it and I never met a more accepting group. I will not lie, he will have a much rougher time because he is male and white skinned. But if he can manage to embrace the ridicule, which sounds strange, he can understand the local mentality and gain a hard earned acknowledgement by his peers. Local people dislike tourists in general, not simply because they are not local, but because tourists do not understand that they are part of someones home. Most locals will say theylove where they live more than anything, and tourist treat It like a play ground. Caring for the land and its people is a local motto, do not forget. Your daughter will have an easy time because she is not white and racism is not so apparent with local woman. Racism is common, no lies, but it is not forever and enduring it will provide more positivity than detriment in the long run. You will never have friends like a local friend. You will be accepted as family wherever you go, as long as your ready to join a family and act like family. The jist of it is, your not looking just move to Maui, it also includes embracing a completely different culture and lifestyle. If your children are not ready to essentially move to another country they must prepare. Being open minded and strong during their “initiation” will result in invaluable benifits. Your husband, being local is a huge trump card and with his guidence and knowledge of local culture you guys have an advantage compared to how I was exposed. Have faith that things will be rough before theyre better.
It’s not racism or anything like that. I’m half Hawaiian and half “haole”. It’s all based on respect. Hawaii is very different from anyplace in the world. It’s very laid back, and full of aloha. I was born and raised in Maui, but I was also raised in Houston. It’s all about attitude. If you plan on moving to Maui with a bad attitude then no doubt you will have a hard time. You don’t go to a strangers house and spit wherever you want. Hawaiians are connected to the island as if it was apart of them. If you present yourself as disrespectful then you will be disrespected. I am not happy at all to say this. I don’t want you to think that I am racist. I have a lot of family that aren’t Hawaiian. The term “haole” has no reference to being white or Caucasian. It simply means “no heir” or “not from this land”. If you know our history and had a little respect for our culture, then you would understand. If you can’t understand, then you obviously are and ignorant haole. Aloha
In asking about all this, I did not mean any disrespect at all. I am a mother and only want to make sure my kids will also enjoy the experience. And yes clearly I am ignorant, that’s why I am asking before I get there. My husband is blonde haired and blue eyed and was called “haole” and teased and beat up and ridiculed the first year he spent there. My son has a from of autism and I only wanted to find out what we can do to ease his transition to a new place, which is hard for him anyways. I have read a little bit about Hawaii online but haven’t found much. Maybe you could recommend a website or maybe a book for me so I can learn about your culture. Thank you, Amber
Don’t worry Amber, you and you family will be fine:) I can’t tell your a good person. You’ll find many great friends and you and your boys will have a family over there with them. My brother is autistic. I’ve realized that people embrace and live kids who are like that. I can’t tell you which website to go on or anything like that, but I’m positive you folks will be just fine:) aloha
P. S Maui high is not the school to go too. I’ve met a lot of punks that went there. I went to Baldwin. They have the best sports program in the island, great teachers. It’s very racially diversed. Great for autistic kids
Racism on maui is not just towards ‘haoles’ it’s also towards the locals.
It is very sad that people who were born and raised here should be uncomfortable in their own skin.
My wife and I have been to Maui a couple of times and we’ve only had good experiences with locals. We have down to earth attitudes and I think that type of personality tends to mesh well. If you lead with respect, then most people tend to reciprocate. That said, you’re always bound to run into someone that isn’t kind no matter where you go (island or mainland).
I have hapa kids about the same age as yours, with pure “haole” friends and in the school. In the school they go to I have not heard of “racism”. I see kids getting along well and there are mix in there – all sort of race. That said I agree with what Maui information Guide said, it happens in some areas but not a lot. I want to emphasize what it was said on the post: “The more you embrace the culture, history and people, the more it will embrace you. That being said, there are always bad apples with bad histories.”.