“Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii 5-0″ Episode 3, Malama Ka Aina

Culture Crash

I love the fact that the writers try really hard to show Hawaii’s unique cultural aspects…but this time they may have gone too far…  Case in point: the opening of the episode begins at a high school football game, where the tribal warrior mascot leads the team in a menacing chant.

This chant is called a “haka”, a war chant that was used by the Maori warriors of New Zealand before engaging the enemy in battle and was adopted by local high schools and the University of Hawaii.  The mascot of the Kukui Kings is actually the mascot of UH, Vili the Warrior.  Viliami Fekolo is actually a very nice Tongan gentleman when he doesn’t have his war face on.  So a Tongan is leading a Hawaii team in a Maori chant.  To me that’s like ordering sushi at a Chinese restaurant owned by Koreans.  You get me?

One thing I *know* locals cringed at was with McGarrett’s mispronunciation of “ow-ah”makua [‘aumakua, a guardian spirit].  Again, I’m glad to see that the writers are striving hard to integrate Hawaiian culture into the series.

I stay at home and bolt the doors

With all the bullets flying around Honolulu, I’m afraid to leave my house.  I mean seriously, nowhere is safe…shopping in Waikiki, or even going to  a high school football game.  Hell, I can’t even feel safe in a illegal gambling den in a million dollar neighborhood without the fear of cops coming crashing through the door.  Is this the price of paradise?!?

“Ohana means family” -Lilo

The one thing we do learn is how tight family is in Hawaii.  The fact that Kono, Chin Ho and Sid were all related is no big surprise to locals, Hawaii is so small and some families are so big, it’s inevitable to run into your family members everywhere.  Chin Ho introduces himself as Uncle Chin to Danno’s daughter, Grace.  It’s a common practice to call older family friends Uncle and Aunty, rather than Ma’am, Sir, Mr, or Mrs.  This creates a sense of ohana [family] and helps to make Hawaii a tight community.

McGarrett mentions that when he was a kid, his door could be left unlocked and kids settled disagreements with fists, not guns. I don’t think our generation could really swear by that, but our parent’s generation could, and McGarrett is definitely right in saying that Hawaii is not the same as when we were kids.  And that is the tragedy of becoming a modern city.

And now, “Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0″ Episode 3, Malama Ka Aina:

1) When not the hub for international terrorism, Hawaii is a hub for interracial gang wars.  But they’re all kewl, until the Haole gangsters start moving in from the mainland.
2) If you’re looking for high stakes gambling look for any McMansion up at Hawaii Loa Ridge, but watch out because…
3) We have an out of control gun problem with shoot outs at high schools and in multimillion dollar neighborhoods everyday.
4) Better than Tivo, we have Sharks On Demand, but don’t worry, they’re totally safe.

Did you notice…

Undercover police officer Sid is played by Sid Liufau, a mixed martial artist, polynesian entertainer and current actor with a long list of television and movie appearances.

You can actually go on shark tours (tour 1, tour 2) on the north shore of Oahu where you can swim with sharks in a cage.  Voluntarily of course.

I couldn’t find a reference to “Ailani’s Pizza”, but Danno got it wrong…pineapple and ham can definitely share the same airspace.




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About officer808

Investigating Hawaii Five-0 from the inside.
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One Response to “Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii 5-0″ Episode 3, Malama Ka Aina

  1. BigBraddah says:

    Malama ka Aina (Take care, honor and preserve the Land) (although we say Malama Aina) – It’s also a common practice to call older NON family friends or strangers (who are friends we just have not met yet) uncle or aunty. Everyone is uncle or aunty here. The kama’aina. Not the transplants or F.O.b haoles. “Ohana means family” That is the mainland dissyland interpretation. ‘Ohana is so much more there in Hawaii. It is a sense of sharing, of caring for each other, one can be ‘ohan,a part of a group or family even if not related or even if just met. It’s an affinity island thang. “Eh cuz randall heah, he wen grad McKinley back when I did and I t’ink he was in my socicial studies class and was da braddah dat wen break dat guitar ovah da head o dat hippie, I remember da buggah back senny one! Randall goin hang widdus tonite!” or. “Eh erryone, dis heah is Steveo. He wen drop in on my wave today at Pipeline and we wen t’row blows right in da waddah! ‘aole plilikia! No geev heem heet. No huhu! he’s ok! Geev heem one Primo, whassammaddah you!” thus Randall is ‘ohana.

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