"the lovliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean" ...Mark Twain

[05/23/2014 by Jason Hector, Hawaii Real Estate Broker and Short Sale Specialist]
 
The State of Hawaii is comprised by eight major islands; Hawaii (aka The Big Island), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Ni’ihau and Kaho’olawe. Although The Big Island is the largest out of all the major islands, Oahu is home to the state’s largest city, Honolulu. The city of Honolulu hosts about 70 % of the state’s population in 2010.
 
The Hawaiian islands boasts its unique geographic features. Hawaii is known for tall mountains and volcanoes. Each island generally has a wet and a dry side. The leeward side (aka dry side) is usually on the south western side. The windward side (aka wet side) is situated on the north eastern side. Mauna Kea is Hawaii’s tallest volcano, located on The Big Island, is home to observatories and research facilities. Mauna Loa is the active volcano in the island.
 
Besides Hawaii’s stunning geographic scenery, the climate of the islands serves as a driving force for tourists to visit these beautiful islands. The tropical climate is an enjoyable feature of the island with limited humidity levels due to the near-constant trade winds. Throughout the whole year, the temperature ranges from the mid-60s to the high-80s. Even with this tropical paradise, amazingly, snow can be seen in Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in some winter months. Unlike the mainland, the islands only experience two seasons throughout the whole year; the dry season from May to October, and the wet season from October to April.

Hawaii boasts several of the top beaches in the world; from Wailea-Makena Beach and Waianapanapa Beach both on Maui to the excellent Big Island Beaches, Punalu’u Beach and one of my favorites, Hapuna Beach. Kauai boasts Hanalei Bay and Poipu Beach to the south and who can forget Oahu's Waikiki Beach, not my favorite on the island but probably the most fun place to visit. My favorites on Oahu are the North Shore Beaches and Sandy Beach. At the beaches, tourists are able to enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, kite surfing, windsurfing and surfing activities in these areas. Also, the Molokini crater is a popular diving spot among tourists. Besides the beaches, the island of Maui hosts tourists who enjoy hiking activities at the Haleakala National Park.

Although tourism plays an important role in the state’s economy, Hawaii is also known for their exports. Among its known exports are macadamia nuts, pineapples, coffee, sugarcane and livestock.
 
Aloha Spirit is one of the most prominent aspects of Hawaiian culture. This pertains to the friendly hospitality of Hawaiians. Aloha is commonly known as a greeting for “hello” or “goodbye”. However, a deeper meaning of the word is sharing with your neighbor. An example would be bringing a gift for the host is considered proper etiquette. Hence, potlucks are common among parties.

Native Hawaiian culture has been an important part of society and has been preserved throughout the years. Polynesian is the island’s aboriginal culture. Therefore, the Polynesian Cultural Center is designed to spread awareness of the various cultures from the Polynesian islands. Hawaiian culture have played a huge influence into American culture due to the popularity of the hula and luaus.

History of Real Estate in Hawaii

Hawaii’s roots began under a feudal system where kings controlled the land in the Kingdom of Hawaii. At that time, private ownership was a foreign concept among the islands. However, the high chiefs managed the land as commoners played the role of farmers. In 1848, the Great Mahele, paved way to the king’s distribution of lands to the chiefs and people. These lands were later known as the Government Lands, where fee simple titles were offered to the chiefs. 1850 became a monumental year for non-Hawaiians as they were allowed to own land. Under the Hawaii Admission Act in 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower approved Hawaii for statehood, becoming the 50th state of the United States.  To this day, there are Native Hawaiian's who protest US statehood understandingly making this a deep rooted issue for those of Native Hawaiian heritage.

Hawaii's Green Movement (Sustainability) 

With the isolation of Hawaii comes a high cost of living because much of what's consumed has to be shipped in.  This gives the people an incentive and why I believe there is such a strong sustainability or Green movement.  This incentive is coupled with a strong cultural respect for preserving resources and the environment shared by Native Hawaiian's.  With Hawaii energy costs being very high and an effort to preserve Hawaii’s surrounding water bodies, Hawaiians have taken the lead in using environmentally friendly renewable energy sources and biodegradable products.  
 
In 2008, Hawaii passed the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative with a goal of 70 % of energy sources to be from renewable sources by 2030.  This is a key leadership move and the reason why Hawaii is heavily invested in renewable energy with Wind Farms in Oahu and Maui, Solar Energy farms throughout the major islands and the Puna Geothermal Venture in The Big Island, are used to generate renewable energy.

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