“Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0″ Episode 3, Malama Ka Aina, updated rerun edition

Steve McGarrett and Danno

James Bond, and a waiter. Photo: Neil Jacobs/CBS

Culture Crash

I love the fact that the writers try really hard to show Hawaii’s unique cultural aspects…but this time they really went the extra distance…  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 Kahuku High School and later 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 Hawaiian team in a Maori chant.  To me that’s like ordering Japanese sushi at a Chinese dim sum restaurant owned by Koreans.  Just sayin’. 😉

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 observe sharks from the comfort of a steel 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.

Pi’ikoi is a street in Honolulu, there is no Pi’ikoi High School.

“Malama ka aina” in Hawaiian means to respect or protect the land.

JH and MCB contributed to this.


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About officer808

Investigating Hawaii Five-0 from the inside.
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8 Responses to “Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0″ Episode 3, Malama Ka Aina, updated rerun edition

  1. “Japanese sushi at a Chinese dim sum restaurant owned by Koreans.”

    Happens all the time on the mainland. 🙂

  2. Hewithekiwi says:

    I just watched this episode tonight and was suprised and delighted to see a Maori Haka performed at the Football game. I am a New Zealand Maori and had to find out more. Interesting reading I must say. Our National Game is Rugby and our National Team (The All Blacks) perform this haka (and another version) when playing against other Nations. In fact a large proportion of our National Teams also perform this. If ever you see this performed outside of New Zealand look around the crowd and you will be able to spot the “Kiwi”. They will either be joining along or standing there with a tear in their eye remembering home!

  3. slp87 says:

    In all fairness about the mispronounced word, Hawaiian is hard for a lot of Americans to do right. And then you add in the fact that Alex O’Loughlin is Australian trying to sound American trying to sound Hawaiian, and it may be a little much to expect. Hawaiian has a lot of vowels, and what’s one of the biggest differences between American and Australian English? Yup, the vowels. That’s how I figured out Alex wasn’t American before I knew anything about him: he’s very good at faking the accent, but every now and then there’s a little bit of a twinge on a vowel or an R that’s just the tiniest bit off.

  4. Sandra says:

    Just to be picky..where the heck did Danny have his gun when he was at the football game?

    It wasn’t at his side and it didn’t look like he had stuck in his pants at the back? So where did he pull it out from? Is it possible he had an ankle gun? It did look smaller than usual compared to his normal gun.

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