Living in America’s Most Expensive State – Hawaii

May 25, 2024 936.1K Views 3.3K Comments

Hawaii is the most expensive state to live in. Because of the high costs, many locals are leaving for the mainland. Join me today as we learn from a fascinating Hawaiian local Elijah McShane about what it’s like to live in Hawaii: the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Elijah’s Contact Info:
► Website:
► Insta: @sonofoahu
► YouTube: @awakenedaloha
► Tiktok: @sonofoahu

Daniel’s Contact Info:
► Website:
► Insta: @manaai

► 🎞️ Video Edited By: Natalia Santenello


► Martin Paris – Time at Hand
► Makana – Will I Ever See You Again?
► Makana – Deep in an Ancient Hawaiian Forest

[mellow acoustic guitar]
[Peter] We’re gonna hit it all today,
-[Elijah] We’re gonna hit it all today.
-[Peter] You’re the local expert?
-I try to do my best.
-You are. I looked far, wide, and deep
and I came up with you.
-Let’s do it, baby. Let’s do it.
-Let’s do it.
[both laughing]
[Elijah] Woo.
This is ava, the herbal root
of Hawaii and all of Polynesia.
Either ava or kava to help
to ease everything in the nervous system.
-There’s kava in there?
-It’s pure concentration of kava.
It’s good, it’s not gonna
hit you how you’re expecting.
-Elijah, you’re gonna take that cam.
-Take the camera… Hey.
-The pure mona to get going with this.
-Look at this, half a mil.
-This stuff’s legal, right?
I’m not getting in trouble on YouTube?
-Completely legal. No, no, half a mL.
All the way down.
-Dude, my kava experience was a disaster.
-I promise this is gonna be good for you.
-That’s what the last guy said.
Where’s it going?
Right, there, so all the way down.
-All right, that’s what I’m gonna do.
-You can do that if you want.
-I’m going junior.
-Oh, [Hawaiian].
And Hawaiian made
and manufactured, you know?
-Brings me closer to the islands?
-All right, let’s do this.
-[both laughing]
-Let’s go.
[bright Hawaiian music]
[Elijah] The eight islands of Hawaii,
I like to explain them as
eight siblings, a part of a family.
-Eight siblings, a part of a family
which all the siblings
have spirit, the mana,
the personality, of Hawaii.
But how it’s expressed
in each island is unique.
You know, like for me,
I got three siblings, yeah?
And so all of us have a combination
of all the DNA of two or our parents
but it’s combined in different ways.
We’re all one ohana.
-Okay, I have a less romantic way
of saying it.
-As a mainlander, I feel like Hawaii’s
like the United States in the sense that
every state, every island…
-Every island is like a different state.
That’s what it feels like
but it’s part of the same country.
-Is that a good metaphor?
-Yes, yes.
-Not as smooth and lovely as yours.
-Hey, but it’s accurate
because it’s like here in Oahu
it’s always easier for me to usually see
like, hey this guy, he come from Kapolei
or hey, her, she Kaneohe girl.
-You know?
-You can tell?
-You can tell through their personality
because it’s environment and ecosystem
that helps to actually influence people’s
behaviors, personalities, and mana.
-[Peter] That elixir you gave me…
-[Elijah] The pure mana is working?
-I feel something.
-[both laughing]
-[Peter] It comes right out of the hills,
right into the high-rises.
-And it begins
the full experience of Honolulu.
-Are you a fan of Honolulu?
What are your thoughts?
-I grew up in Honolulu, you know?
I do think it’s an eye sore
and if in any way
have a little bit of a rewind of history
I do think it would have been good
to have limits on how high to build.
-Because it ruins everything
in terms of our view.
Of things with the ocean and the mountain.
It just interrupts energy.
It also makes sense economically
which is not an excuse
but the space of our land is limited
so you gotta build up.
-In its current state
I guess it has its place,
I just hope it doesn’t
go to other islands.
And so the people in
the Hawaiian community are pushing
to keep all of this high rise development
only on Oahu.
-Okay, yeah.
Well I guess there’s some
tall buildings on Maui but not like here.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[Peter] So today we’re gonna talk a lot
about Hawaii without Hawaiians.
-Because a lot of Hawaiians
are moving off the islands.
Or do you mean the culture’s going away?
What are your thoughts on that?
-It could be good to play a game today
on how much Hawaiians can you spot out.
-Okay, okay.
-On how much Hawaiians you can spot out
because the truth of the matter is
our people in our community
have seen a big increase
in how much Hawaiians are in the process
of moving out of Hawaii,
and as a matter of fact has a
higher population of Hawaiians
who live outside of Hawaii
in comparison to the Kanaka Maoli
who live in Hawaii.
-I met a lot in Las Vegas.
-A lot of Hawaiians in Las Vegas,
about 100,000.
-That’s an interesting connection, huh?
-You wouldn’t think
they’d go to the desert.
-Being around all this greenery and water.
-[laughing] Yeah.
It’s an opportunity thing.
I did hear, I’m not sure if it’s
fully confirmed, but I did hear a story
about in the beginning
of the construction of Las Vegas
a lot of the construction crews
had partnered with the unions here.
-Oh, okay.
-To have Hawaiians
to head up there and to work
and they just stayed.
Okay, I asked you this one off-camera
but I gotta get it on-camera.
I’ve asked it all over the islands.
I’ve been here for roughly three weeks.
-What is a Hawaiian?
-Okay, so ethnically, okay…
it’s the key term.
So being a Hawaiian is not an ethnicity.
It’s actually a nationality
as American as American is a nationality.
-So in other words, a person
is able to be Italian… American.
-Italian being the ethnicity,
and American being a nationality.
And Italian or Portuguese,
which a lot of Portuguese in Hawaii
because of immigration.
In the time of the Hawaiian kingdom
all the Portuguese
were living in Hawaii
had also been Hawaiian.
Because Hawaiian
is actually not an ethnicity.
Again, it’s a nationality.
So ethnically it’s actually Kanaka Maoli
is the ethnicity.
And being Kanaka Maoli…
-Like Maori of New Zealand?
-Maori of New Zealand, yeah.
-To put a pause break, this is…
In this beautiful high school
of Roosevelt High School,
all my dad, and my uncle,
everybody came here, but…
-Wow, look at that tree.
-Probably the most influential
person that came out of here
in current day is Bruno Mars,
he went to Roosevelt.
So being an aboriginal Hawaiian
means that you as an individual
are able to link who you come from
to the earliest inhabitants of Hawaii.
Which actually go back to around 850 AD.
Had earlier inhabitants of Hawaii.
Which were the new people who came out
of the islands of the Marquesas
had been in Hawaii
anywhere between 300 and 600 AD.
-Okay, so you need
a percentage of that but in 2024
there are like a few
thousand full Hawaiians.
-Full Blood,
but most people are a mix, right?
-Mix, yes, because of
a huge immigration to Hawaii,
a lot of our people
interbred and mixed the bloodlines.
-Portuguese, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese?
-Yes, all mix, yeah.
Has plenty Asians here in Hawaii.
So in the time of the Hawaiian Kingdom
everybody who was living
in the Hawaiian Kingdom had
an opportunity to become Hawaiian.
Even if you had originated
from England, America.
All of the American
missionaries who came to Hawaii
to preach the Gospel
in the Hawaiian Kingdom
had actually pledged an allegiance
to the Hawaiian Kingdom
becoming a Hawaiian
instead of an American.
And so it is always integrated into
each of the principles, practices,
all the ethics and value.
So it doesn’t have to do with skin color?
-It doesn’t have to do with skin color
and even race.
Because there are a lot of
Kanaka Maoli still to this day
who are decultured.
Who are in the practice and there are
other people who are non-Hawaiian
who are more involved and integrated
into the practices of Hawaiian culture.
-And so are you more worried about
the cultural aspects going
or the actual blood going?
-Each of the people who are Kanaka Maoli
who are linked to this land
having to leave
because of economic reasons.
Having to leave because it’s almost
impossible for people in our generation
to have an opportunity in owning a home
as easy as it was
in our parent’s generation.
-Much different.
-Yeah, yeah.
So I’d say that’s everywhere
in the country in the United States
but here might be an extreme example.
-An average home in Hawaii today is
in between $850,000 to about a million.
-You know, around there.
-Starter home?
-For just a basic home,
this is nothing special.
-And $350,000 in Las Vegas
is able to get you a mansion. [laughs]
-That’s gone up,
I’d say that now is 600,000 maybe.
But still a starter home in Vegas,
you’re getting probably
for a third of the price.
-A pool… Yeah, yeah, you know.
-And no state income tax.
-Yeah, no state income tax.
That’s huge actually.
-Hawaii, you’re heavily taxed,
everything costs a lot.
-So, okay–
-And income tier is extremely low as well.
Our income has not increased
when all of our goods,
especially when 85% of our goods
are imported to Hawaii
it’s important to realize
that it’s because economically
our people are in a cage.
-And in a lot of the states
is feeling the same pain
but there are more options there
where you can pull it off
than here obviously.
Here it’s like you’re on an island,
everything’s expensive.
-There’s no Midwest that you can
bounce off to buy a nice home.
[Elijah laughs]
You know, $300,000,
and you’re styling, you’re good to go.
-Our biggest issue and has
always been our biggest issue
is how to put Hawaiians on land.
We don’t need a home.
Put them in land because
if you put a Hawaiian in land
he’ll build a home with his family
and he’ll feed his family as well.
And so it’s always important
to see and approach in a way that
it’s an issue in the system.
Our whole system is failing
a majority of the populace.
It’s polarizing everybody,
having a huge increase
in depression, and stress, anxiety,
and a decrease in quality of life,
and happiness,
and the ability to actually live
a peaceful and prosperous life
just having one job.
A majority of people in Hawaii
have two jobs.
A majority of people, yeah?
So it is unless you’re an innovator,
you’re an entrepreneur
who can make things happen
and who can take on burdens
of being a person who has to do that,
it’s not easy, you know?
Even teachers need an extra job
in order to just pay their rent.
-So teachers will be
waitressing tables, waiting tables?
-That sort of thing?
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[Elijah] So this is all of Honolulu
from [Hawaiian], a bird’s eye perspective.
This is what Honolulu
looks like right now.
All of Waikiki, Le ahi.
And so here,
as you can see, a comparison.
You know, you can put a picture up there,
a comparison
of how Honolulu used to look
about a hundred years ago
-So just like some taro fields
over there and a couple houses?
-Abundance, about 150 years ago, guys,
this is completely empty.
All aspects of Honolulu in terms of
our streams, our ecosystems intact.
-But a huge cause to that
is because population change.
Once people started to see Hawaii
is a prized possession,
a pearl of the Pacific, you know?
For opportunists
who see Hawaii in this way
it’s the reason why there was
this introduction of plantations
huge introduction into…
It’s a new style
of plantations and tourism.
It puts our people into boxes
but all based on a premise of basically
an exploitation of our resources
for just enjoyment.
For just enjoyment, you know?
So everything for people
around the world
see Hawaii as being a place
of kind of like an amusement park
when I heard a tita of mine in Maui say,
“How would it feel to have to work
a couple jobs in tourism
to actually uplift and bring
peace and enjoyment to other people
while at the same time
it brings hell on your own life?”.
“Because you know that this kind of stuff
is making a big impact
in a negative way
on Hawaii
but you still gotta pay your bills.”
Okay, I’m not gonna push back ’cause
all your points are very valid, right?
-I totally understand what you’re saying.
-Please, please.
Take any beautiful place right now,
I lived in Lake Tahoe, California.
Worked two jobs,
I wanted to live at the lake.
-There’s no way I was buying a home.
-Yeah, okay.
-Not happening, right?
-[laughs] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And I moved down to Reno, Nevada
and everyone was like,
“Oh, you’re life just went to sh*t.”
-“You’re moving to Reno, sucks for you.”
-[Elijah laughs]
And they all came down
about ten years later.
-Yeah, yeah.
-They’re like, “I can’t afford it.”
Right? So I think there’s this…
The world, or let’s just say
the United States, for example,
started with not many people, you know?
Multiplication over the decades.
Even in our parent’s generation,
the boomers could go to these places
like Lake Tahoe, or Aspen, or here
and they weren’t crowded, they were found
but it wasn’t like the
masses had gone there yet.
And now it’s turning more into
a supply-demand issue.
The beautiful places aren’t being created,
any more of ’em.
But more people are flocking to ’em.
So this pressure cooker is being created.
Also doesn’t help
in the United States that,
you know, people from mainland China
can come and buy whatever in this country.
-Yes, yes.
So you have the world,
not just the United States,
but the world competing for this land.
Who doesn’t want to
park their money in Miami?
If they’re a Latin American
in Brazil or something.
-Yeah, yeah.
-And they feel the United States
is more stable with their money
or that real estate is.
They’re gonna park it,
driving up the real estate for everyone.
So this Hawaiian version
I haven’t seen yet.
-So that’s what today is
but it’s a problem that’s in many places
and I don’t have a solution
but let’s… yeah.
-Yeah… No… Hey, brother,
I totally agree.
You know, a key thing to
just always keep in mind
when speaking about things in
our video is there is no Hawaii…
…if there’s no Hawaiians.
And like speaking about all species
not only speaking about us as Kanaka.
We’re talking about all of our species.
Because this had made a huge impact
in the extinction of
all the native species of Hawaii.
Um, here in Hawaii it’s considered to be
the highest percentage
of extinction capital.
[Peter] What’s it in 150 years?
Sorry to put you in that mood but…
-I personally feel that
especially in our generation
a lot of things are shifting now.
So I am thankful that
consciousness is rising.
Our people are getting
a lot more integrated into culture
and are beginning to see that this sh*t…
is not gonna work.
It poisons our waters,
it poisons our people. Yeah?
This stuff.
It’s not that it’s bad. I’m not
pointing a finger that it’s bad, you know?
But if you look at almost all
places that have no ecosystems
because it’s just building
ecosystem of buildings, yeah?
Our ecosystem now
in Honolulu is just buildings.
So if we see this as a healthy environment
then we’ll keep perpetuating.
Our parents, because of economically,
because of a lack of education maybe,
a lack of insight and foresight
on what could become
if you keep on developing puts us in
a situation now that seems irreversible.
But I think that us, as Hawaiians,
and our generation,
all the future generations
is now picking up on the fact that how are
we able to reverse this in a positive way
to bring it more harmoniously
to what is ecologically Hawaii?
‘Cause if we continue this
and ecologically
Hawaii is gonna be almost erased.
In Honolulu in its own right
it’s pretty much…
It’s at a point of no return.
I say.
But if we can see and innovate
and can speak to our kupuna
on how to take initiatives
to make positive change
I do think it is possible.
All we gotta do is as we’re doing that
is to also hold steadfast in the areas
where encroachment of development
is continuously happening
on other islands.
I do also see there is huge opportunity
for us as people of Hawaii
because of the preexisting ideologies
of what Hawaii is around the world.
Everybody feels inspired about Hawaii.
They hear something about Hawaii,
in Spain and Portugal they’re like,
“Wow, Hawaii.”
It’s interesting,
it’s like a mystical land.
-Which is what Hawaii is.
It brings healing, it brings mana,
it brings inspiration to our people.
The thing is though, this is
the opportunity for us as Hawaiians
to reclaim our approach and storyline
about what Hawaii is
and how to inspire people around the world
on how to come to Hawaii
in a proving way that is more ethical
and responsible.
Helps our culture and everything,
and to contribute in a positive way and
even have a way higher quality experience
than what people are having now
‘Cause people are not even having
an experience in Hawaii
that is truthfully rooted
to what is Hawaii now
because of what is available.
So if we as Hawaiians
could position ourselves
as people who have always been
a welcoming people.
-Our people are beautifully welcoming.
-Yes, I agree.
-That’s how we’ve always been.
If we can utilize that,
and get into business,
and position our current tools of AI,
things like social media,
push it out there, position ourselves that
we can create a new industry of tourism
that is based on how to heal
our people, lands, culture, humanity.
[prays in Hawaiian]
[blows horn]
[Elijah speaking Pidgin]
[Elijah] Good to see you, brethren,
how you doing, bra?
Good to see you. You working?
-Yeah, I work this company.
-Oh, this is fun.
We take people biking down from the top.
-Hey bro, I’m gonna have to text you
’cause I’ve been interested in doing this.
-Yeah, this is cool, bra.
-Dude, it’s the best job I ever had.
-Hey bra, speak to you. I love you.
[Elijah laughs]
-Still in the game of guess the Hawaiian
of guess the Hawaiian
that you challenged me earlier.
-He’s not.
-He’s not Hawaiian. No, no.
He’s an Irishman.
-But he could be?
-He could be.
So the cool thing
about the game is actually
because each Hawaiian
has distinct features.
and a distinct energy.
-You can just tell.
So an uncle of mine, yeah?
I love my uncle Alika.
He played a huge role in my life.
I love him so much.
He’s a 6’3” three and three quarter
Who is white as snow.
But has the most Hawaiian features
that you can think of.
Hands big, strong, so much Aloha.
Plenty mana.
He holds himself as an ali’i, as a chief.
-Fluent in Pidgin?
-Fluent in pidgin, yeah.
He’s still in the process
to actually speak Aloha Hawaii
but has people in his generation
who just never had education
on how to speak Hawaiian language.
-It’s a beautiful language.
-Oh, it’s one of the most beautiful.
-The O’s, the H’s the K’s, the EE’s.
[Elijah] And the interesting thing
about Aloha Hawaii,
which for me, hey, I’m not an expert,
the beautiful thing on speaking Hawaiian
and having understanding of Hawaiian
is actually the imprint of a consciousness
that’s in the language.
Because a huge majority
is allegorical and poetic.
A lot of aspects in English language,
just in the language itself,
and the words and terminology
is really linear.
-It’s black and white.
-It’s a business language.
It is, yeah.
-There are a lot of words,
we just don’t use most of them.
-It’s Roman, you know?
Real kind of influenced through–
-Get to the point.
-Yeah, just get to the point.
-Love and like, not much in between.
Which has an impact
on the brain chemistry on how you think,
how you see the world.
In Aloha Hawaii it actually accesses you
to this whole other experience
and world view that you cannot really get
on the outside of speaking Hawaiian.
You cannot really get it.
[bright Hawaiian music]
[Elijah] I’m taking you
into the beginning of Kalakaua Avenue.
It’s the beginning of Waikiki.
-The famous Waikiki?
-The famous Waikiki.
Which, you know, everybody has
a different perspective of Waikiki.
-I’ve never seen it.
-I spent a lot of time in Waikiki.
Even though there’s all the bullsh*t
big box stores and different stuff,
high class Louis Vuitton, Coach.
But in terms of the aesthetic and beauty
I think it’s one of
the most beautiful attractions
of a tourist destination or place.
-Okay, so it is really nice?
-Oh, I think Waikiki is beautiful, bra.
-I spent a lot of time in Waikiki
in all of my life
and the interesting thing about
having an upbringing in Waikiki is
is you get to see people
from all around the world.
‘Cause everyone is coming to Hawaii
and it’s on the beach.
So has the beach boys who
teaching people how to surf,
how to make coconut hats, yeah.
Just having a chance to interact
with different people are so stoked
to just be in Hawaii.
-Oh, yeah.
-But it’s also a tourist trap because
it’s nothing close to authentic Hawaii.
But everything has it’s place. [laughs]
Everything has its place so you know…
-You struggle with it maybe a little bit?
-Yeah, you know, every Hawaiian does.
-Okay, everyone has
a little Waikiki in them
and everyone hates Waikiki
at the same time?
-All right.
-Because all the big
events happen in Waikiki.
All the good times in
childhood with concerts
and spending a weekend
at the hotels, at the Hilton.
-Your first kiss?
-First… [laughs]
The first kiss had been in a stairwell.
-Holding hands
with some girl from Alabama?
[Elijah laughs]
-Or Japan, or wherever.
-[continues laughing]
Yeah, no, but hey,
I’ve met a lot of people
from India, from Iran, from England,
all different parts of Europe, Asia.
[Elijah] This is Waikiki, everybody.
So to the left is Kuhio Avenue,
this avenue, yeah?
Is inspirational and based off of
King Kamehameha.
So his statue is right there, yeah?
So King Kamehameha had been
an important head of state
in the time of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
He’s the first head of state
to head around the entire globe.
He had introduced electricity.
He’s an innovative king.
-So right before the queen, it was him,
he passed, and the queen took over?
-Yes, so he’s her older brother.
-Okay, so this is the famous Waikiki?
The main drag isn’t on the beach.
-I thought it was gonna be–
-It is pretty soon.
-But here, all the shops,
and the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
-I gotta say it looks pretty good,
it’s clean.
-It looks well taken care of.
-It’s clean, it’s balanced.
-Good people watching.
-Has good people watching.
Has a lot of entertainment at night
because of performers on the street.
Has hula shows and luaus
at almost every hotel.
Good Hawaiian music
if you know the right places.
Yeah, but in terms of the architecture
and kind of infrastructure
of the experience in Waikiki,
it’s really, really commercial.
-Okay, in this highly taxed state–
-Highly taxed.
Aren’t you happy to see these businesses
just pulling in tourist dollars
and then that going into the system here?
-Well it’s not really impacting us
as the individual people,
it’s feeding into tourism once again
Ideally it would be good
if every hotel, if every company
had its own tax for the ecosystem,
preservation, and culture.
-I’ve been paying mega taxes on these
Airbnbs I’ve been getting on the islands.
Like there’s some Hawaii fee or something.
-Yep, yep, yep.
-Where does that go?
Is there an endless pit?
Is there a hole somewhere?
-I would ask the politicians
on where that is going.
-Okay, so how do you feel about
the politicians in general?
How is Hawaii managed as a state?
-In current state I would say
they’re trying to improve
but it is still about a C minus.
-C minus, lot of corruption?
-Yes, heavy corruption.
A lot of agenda,
lot of imbalances in policy making.
-A lot of influence on
school systems and the community
in a way that is not really appropriated
positive and constructive
for everybody in the community.
-What’s an example?
-There’s just a lot of push and pull
between people in the
Republican and Democratic Parties.
-But 85% of the house
and the senate is Democrat.
Huge imbalance.
-So they control everything?
-They control everything.
-Like California?
And a majority of them,
it’s an important thing
to also state as well
because the Asian influence
in Hawaii has been huge.
-But aren’t they
traditionally conservative?
-Yes, but in terms of politics,
in terms of the house and the senate,
with the bills being passed
doesn’t seem like it’s conservative.
‘Cause these aren’t Asians who have
been in Hawaii for one, two years.
These are Asians who’s parents
and families have been in Hawaii
since the space and
time of the plantation era
-So it’s a younger generational thing?
-It’s an older generational thing though
because they think differently.
You know, and so–
-Oh right, because the Democratic Party
in the plantation days…
Like if you wanted a force against
the power that controlled everything,
the big businesses–
It seems the like Democratic Party, right?
-But that switched.
-It completely changed.
-But back a while ago if you wanted to be
the average day man here, right?
And you wanted some protection or
someone to push back against big sugar…
-You were voting Dems?
-Yeah, Dems.
Now Dems aren’t helping out
the middle person here, right?
-Yeah, and interestingly enough,
especially in the space and time
of statehood and previous to that
the Republican Territory of Hawaii,
the actual person who is considered
to be the earliest Hawaiian
who had involved himself
in civic engagement in congress
and in the house of representatives
is Prince Kuhio.
And Price Kuhio had been the prince
and the heir in the Hawaiian Kingdom.
He was a Republican.
-And so his approach, he felt like
everything in the Republican Party,
it’s principles, and cultures, and values,
had been the closest to
Hawaiian principles and values.
And so in current day
has only a few people
who are in congress and in
the house who are Republicans
who consider kind of each of them
in their particular group as being
the Prince Kuhio Republicans.
Trying their best
to reinstate his cultural…
His political approach
and ideology upon the current system
and to help Hawaiians.
Because everything in the government
has not been helping Hawaiians.
-Who is it helping?
Uh, it seems like
it’s helping everybody else.
[Peter laughs]
-It seems like
it’s helping everybody else.
-You know what’s interesting on Moloai?
It’s super red over there.
Maybe it’s the countryside… mentality.
It’s a lot of hunting, a lot of just,
“Leave me alone.” mentality.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Like let me live my life.
-Which kind of introduces
this important part of history
about our political issue
in the Hawaiian Kingdom
and how our people have always been
extremely politically involved.
-Oh, they have?
Our people have always
been heavily politically involved
up until it wasn’t encouraged
because our people had a feeling,
especially in the time of statehood where
all important issues of Hawaiian
Kingdom people or just Hawaiians,
they kinda pushed to the side
into this other category.
A lot of our people had lost a little bit
of hope in getting involved in the system
but in our day now
a lot of our people are getting
back involved in civic engagement.
-That’s cool because a lot of people
in the comments of my videos…
you know, a few weeks ago someone said,
“I don’t watch the news anymore.
I gave up. It just makes me angry
and I gave up.”
and a lot of people are saying,
“Yeah, me too brother.”
You know, “I want to live away
from that world in peace and free.”
-Be free, right?
-I like that in many ways
but also the negative side of that
is you become complacent and whoever’s
in power is just doing what they want.
-We can walk over here if you want.
So today’s video is like this…
-We’re sort of touching on the surface.
But if someone wanted to take this video
and go into each one
of these topics in depth…
-You can go deep.
-There is so much to this place.
-Yeah, brother…
Like we can’t pack it in an hour video
or whatever, right?
-It’s hard to encapsulate everything.
-Just the history here is insane.
-Yeah, hard to encapsulate.
-I didn’t know much
about Hawaiian history.
I knew the basics
like statehood, annexation.
-Even as a Kanaka
it’s not the easiest, bro
It’s not the easiest on key parts
and fundamentals, the part of history
and culture that everybody needs to know.
-But in its own individual right,
it takes a lifetime, only one craft.
It can take a lifetime.
[Elijah speaking Hawaiian]
[Elijah] How you doin’ brotha?
Aloha, aloha, aloha.
How you doin’? What’s your name, bra?
-DJ Mahalo, I follow you.
-Oh hey, bra, what’s up DJ Mahalo?
Hey bra, he’s brotha Peter, bra.
-Nice to meet you.
[Elijah] Hello bruddas,
how you doing, bruddas?
Aloha, aloha, come boys. Come! Come!
Over here, bra.
Have a little bit of a prayer
for us gentlemen.
On each time you hear halu,
take a deep breath and ha, you can exhale,
and each of these is all an expression
of our three principles
aloha ‘aina, aloha akuha, aloha kanaka.
I’ll do a little bit of an [Hawaiian]
and have a [Hawaiian] around us,
and we can go about our day,
gentlemen. Can do?
-Yes, sir.
-Okay, okay.
[Elijah inhales deeply]
[prays in Hawaiian]
[deep breathing]
[prayer and breathing continues]
[praying in Hawaiian]
[praying continues]
We just mahalo for this beautiful day,
for all these beautiful bruthas.
For all the ohana and
communities near and far,
we mahalo you for adding protection
and aloha on them
and their ohana,
and to keep their mana strong
in this unreal time of human existence.
We thank you [Hawaiian],
for breathing love into them,
for breathing peace,
and unity, consciousness into them,
and an abundance of love
and relationship in all the people
who come across them here in
the beautiful land of Waikiki
we preay blessings upon them
and their family in this time.
In the beautiful name of Hawaii,
we pray, we all say [Hawaiian].
[all chanting]
[blows horn]
Oh, Waikiki.
[Peter] Usually tourist sites.
That’s sort of talked about
and a lot of attention online.
You go to them,
they’re not as interesting and nice.
I gotta say this is
actually better than I thought.
-Oh, it’s so beautiful, brother.
-I’m like I’ll never go to Oahu
and hang out in Waikiki
and now being here,
I’m like yeah, I could do that.
-But it’s a good spot, right?
-This is awesome.
-Yeah bra, and interestingly enough,
but especially ancient Hawaii,
it’s the space where all of our chiefs
had lived in Waikiki.
So of all the spots in Oahu
for the chiefs to choose to live
our chiefs chose Waikiki.
For the same reason all the business men
had chose to plant all
the hotels in Waikiki.
It just has a mana.
It’s like special.
Has healing energy.
Each of the waters of Waikiki
are healing waters of Waikiki
and hand in hand in that, previous to
all of this it was abundant in fish.
Huge abundance in food production.
Instead of calling a bread basket,
here in Hawaii it’s called a poi bowl.
It could produce ample amount of food
for all of Oahu, just Waikiki.
[Elijah] About a hundred years ago
inside our time of the industrial age
a couple men here in this area
who was an industrialist.
His name was Henry J. Kaiser
and Henry Kaiser was…
He wasn’t really interested in how to
perpetuate people and culture
he built and changed
our whole ecosystem in this area basically
and developed all this area
and he changed the name to Hawaii Kai
because it put his name inside it.
Of Kaiser.
He named…
You know, he changed the place name.
-He changed the place name.
You know, a kind of egoic guy, yeah?
But he was a kind of innovator
but ecologically he wasn’t attuned.
-So he developed all this?
-He developed all of Hawaii Kai today.
-What year roughly?
-The ’30s.
-I believe in the ’30s.
-Okay, sometime around there.
You would consider him to be kind of
a little bit of a colonizer mentality.
He didn’t have good intentions.
-He was here to bank and go?
-He was here to bank and go.
And if I’m not mistaken,
he established the Kaiser Hospitals too.
-Oh, interesting.
-Kaiser Permanente?
He has a high school over here
that is named after him.
So he kind of puffed himself up
but in doing that
he displaced a lot of Hawaiians
who were living
in the back of the valley over Kalama.
Special burial grounds of our people,
built over it but this is a special place
and so like here
in front of us is Koko Head [Hawaiian].
Which is a big hike
over here that people love to go on.
So please be safe,
the thing is hot, stay hydrated.
-Much dryer over here?
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But it has… Here’s the thing.
It hasn’t always been like that.
It’s also because of
the ecosystem change, yeah?
Here to the right is Hanauma Bay.
And so here is what is considered
to be the scenic route of Oahu.
-Oh, this is beautiful.
-Yeah, bra.
-Look at this.
-This special, bra. Special, bra.
[Peter] Look at that beach, that’s nice.
I don’t know why but I didn’t think
Oahu would be so great to be honest.
-Oh, but so special, bra.
Oahu’s so special.
-So Elijah,
I’ve got some bad news for you.
I don’t think there’ll ever be
a time in human history
where people don’t want
to be in this environment.
[Elijah laughs] I know.
-I totally understand.
Unless our…
-I spent all my life here and so
each time I go to Utah, I go to Florida,
even though these places are beautiful,
they’re just not Hawaii.
Because we had experienced this
our whole life
it seems like there’s
higher appreciation if we leave
and kind of get an understanding
of how different parts of the world are
and how much we love home.
It makes sense on how a lot of people
who come to Hawaii
have this massive inspiration to
actually come to Hawaii to live in Hawaii.
It makes sense but at what cost
to everybody who lives here,
who has the home culture here,
have been here
for a thousand-plus years as people?
-So you’re worried about that going away?
Or being diluted more where
it doesn’t have that same aloha feel?
-Yeah, um…
I think it’s extremely hard to erase it.
It’s been attempted
a few times throughout history.
-Almost impossible because
the Hawaiian people are resilient people.
-One way or the other, we fight…
…to keep who we are alive.
And so in current time
because everything in culture
is at a stage of a renaissance now
it’s so inspiring
and because of the information
of platforms that people have now
to get information
I think it’s so awesome.
But it kind of errs on another side now
with how people see Hawaii
in a way that is non-authentic
because a lot of our people
are caught in the rat race
and aren’t really able
to innovate into an area of business
or area of influence
that helps to boost and to amplify
the influence of culture on outsiders.
Right? And so it’s a part of the reason
why our work at Awakened Aloha
is a crucial component
because it acts as a bridge there.
-I want to explain that first.
Elijah has an amazing website.
Courses, speaking engagements,
all different ways to harness
and understand this principle
that you’ve been talking about today.
-Yes, the principle of aloha
and the way of aloha.
So in the ’80s I had a kumu,
a teacher who had stated a prophecy.
Her name was Auntie Pela Hepake.
She stated that
the world will come to Hawaii
in it’s process and search for world peace
because Hawaii has that key
and that key is aloha.
On how to live in a way of honor, respect.
How to love unconditionally
with compassion
for a place, people,
for culture, and all that stuff.
So in our practices in Awakened Aloha
and in the way of aloha
we teach people how to live
according to these three principles
aloha ‘aina, aloha akuha, aloha kanaka,
how to connect to who you are,
how to connect to place, to spirit,
and to one another.
That’s how I found you.
I saw you on a podcast
then I got on your platform.
I’m like, “This guy’s pretty passionate
about what he has and preserving it.”
Guys, that link is down below
here in the video.
-Definitely check out after the video.
‘Cause look, I can respect…
I’m not from here. I can admire.
I can take in some things.
I can learn a lot.
It’s not my place but…
Oh, what’s this?
-So here is the Homesteads at Waimanalo.
The highest population of homelessness
or houselessness
as people of Hawaii call it
because the people are not homeless.
Our people are just houseless
because Hawaii is our home.
But Hawaiian Homesteads Commissions Act
had been actually put into US law
exactly about 100 years ago.
Through Prince Kuhio and his intention
was to get Hawaiians on land
because in that time
of the illegal overthrow, 1893,
all the way into Spanish American War,
how all the militaries
of the United States came to Hawaii
and they militarized Hawaii
in the time of the Spanish American War.
Had the introduction of
the Republic of Hawaii
and then it went into this evolution
of a territory of Hawaii.
It was unreal on how the people of Hawaii
had been experiencing
a lot of displacement.
Our pieces of land, of ag land,
our opportunities or quality of life
had been in the process
of getting erased and weened away.
And so Prince Kuhio,
he used the concept of
each of the indigenous and tribal people
have a concept of a reservation.
He used that to build this construct
of Hawaiian homesteads.
-And homesteads, you have to have
50% or now 25% blood, right?
-Well to be on the list
it’s half Hawaiian.
-Half Hawaiian and they give you the land
on a lease basically?
Like for 99 years?
-So here’s what the trick is… Yes, yes.
So he advocated to give Hawaiians land
and what he was advocating for
was for every Hawaiian
who has a 32nd Hawaiian.
1/32, why?
He had the foresight to see
that our people, because of immigration,
are gonna be interbreeding.
The percentages of Hawaiian blood
is gonna decrease over time.
So what he was advocating for originally,
it didn’t pass.
He tried to push for a 32nd, a quarter
but it came to pass that each person
who qualifies to be on Hawaiian homestead
has to be at a minimum of 50% Hawaiian
but how much 50% Hawaiians
are in existence today?
There’s an estimation of
about 80,000 to 100,000
who are half Kanaka Maoli.
Okay? But here’s the tricky part.
He had advocated
to put Hawaiians on land.
You put kanaka on land,
you don’t need to give them anything.
Just give them a piece of aina.
Just give them an acre, two, three acres.
Our people with the spirit and abilities
to cultivate, and to farm, and to build
is gonna build anything we want.
In current day, how people in
the Homestead Commission is approaching it
is not giving land to Hawaiians
but as giving homes to Hawaiians.
So even though on the land each Hawaiian
only has to pay a dollar a year
on basically a hundred year lease,
there is a house
pre-planned and put on top
in these Hawaiian homestead communities
who has a mortgage of $800,000.
[bright Hawaiian music]
[Peter] Nice neighborhood.
[Elijah] I’ll introduce you guys
to Uncle Daniel.
He’s a pioneer in food sovereignty,
how to grow as best as he can.
Been doing the good work,
speaking the mana.
-He’s got a farm back here?
-This is his farm back here.
[Elijah] What’s up, homie?
Hey, bra.
-Hey bra, here’s Brother Peter.
-How you doing, sir?
-Nice to meet you.
-Here’s Uncle Daniel.
-Uncle Daniel.
What is it, Uncle or Daniel?
-Whichever one, you know?
[Peter] What is this, Daniel?
-That looks very cool.
-He can tell you all about it.
-That’s beautiful.
[Elijah] Beautiful, bro. Woo.
Although I have to make
thousands of boards to make poi
I will never ever make a real one.
[Elijah laughs]
-A real one is one where
you harvest the tree
that your grandparents… the afterbirth
is buried under the tree at planting.
So this practice is at minimum,
a multi-generational practice
that requires a grandparent
and a grandchild.
And so we make these boards
and our goal is to really bring back
that type of connection.
Imagine like the main food
that sustains your family
is made from a tree
that your great-grandparents
put your grandparent’s afterbirth under.
That tree grew of which grew
like your grandparents
to this place where
it’s time for them to transform
and then that board,
that surf board, that bowl,
that would all come from this tree
would be what would sustain you
throughout your life
for you and your family.
-That’s cool.
[Daniel] Nine years ago
when we got here it looked like that.
From here all the way down.
You couldn’t drive down.
-Straight jungle.
Actually these poles
were a part of a shade cloth system
that was literally the size
of this first half of the property
and they had done the shade cloth
because over the previous 60 years
they had chemical…
basically contaminated this place
where nothing would grow.
And so we started a whole process
to actually rebuild our soils.
So I’ve never sprayed one drop of Roundup
in the nine years that we’re here.
Commercial fertilizer,
herbicide, insecticide, any of that.
None of that has happened here.
This guy’s been trimmed once
but this is a six year old avocado tree
in its third season of avocados.
On a place that has
70 years of chemical ag.
[Elijah laughs]
[Daniel] So part of what we do
is around fixing the soils with the pigs
So if you notice, [sniffs] how’s the odor?
-You ever been around a pig farm?
Can’t even tell you live on a pig farm.
We have this specialty variety of pig
called Kunekune
and basically these guys
get fat off of grasses.
So if you imagine all the weeds
in our yard actually go into the pig pen
and the pigs are our primary
biodigesters that break everything down
and make it nutrient rich.
What I used to do is I used to move
the stuff from the pig pen down here
now what I’m doing is I’m just building
pig pens and when I take them apart
then I have a new organic component
on my farm.
-So Daniel, how much land
do you have back here?
-This is about just under three acres.
-Is it homestead or your own?
This is stolen land
under the occupation TMK system.
With the illegitimate,
you know, mortgage bullsh*t
but the reality is that what you see here,
we only talk about this sh*t.
Everyone’s like, “I’m gonna fix the soil!
I’mma build a subsistence farm!”
How many guys get ’em?
F*cking not too many.
-They’re not doing it?
-It’s just it’s not that easy, bra.
Look at this. You see this?
This is from what was dead soil.
All my food needs, basically right here.
This is more food than can feed my family.
This is where people come and…
Now this area’s about to be replanted
but I have elders that come
and they harvest their own vegetables
instead of going to the supermarket.
-That’s great.
-Yeah, and they pay for it.
Like they were at the supermarket
but are able to engage the food
in a way that is meaningful.
So these guys,
I’m about to pull these guys out
and this is about to go
back into garden area
but what we practice
is we’re soil feeders.
Yeah? We look and figure out how to
feed the soil in a multitude of ways.
So the pigs are just one.
I’mma take you over to our emu ’cause
our emu’s another really big format.
-So Daniel, your whole purpose here
is just to bring good nutrient food,
organic food back to the island?
-The purpose here
is to build a farm school
that helps to retrain our community
how to grow what they
eat and eat what they grow.
-On Oahu, very rare to find.
-Thank you.
And don’t laugh
but this banana right here,
this is an iholena lele.
This is a dwarf iholena.
So this is like a actual Hawaiian banana.
Tell me the last time
you saw an orange banana.
-Yeah, orange color.
-[Elijah laughs]
A little starchy.
A lot of Hawaiian bananas–
-Tastes healthy. Very healthy.
-Low on the sugar, right?
This is like a cooking banana.
-You cook this one up–
-Oh, yeah.
Let me tell you,
you pan fry this in some beef lard.
-[Elijah speaking Hawaiian]
-Mmm, mmm.
This is actually the first time
I got fruit from it
and the most important thing is I wanted
to make sure the birds ate some of this.
Yeah? ‘Cause they’re a
healthy part of the system
and vibrations from the birds
make everything grow better.
Our bees, everything more happy
when the birds eating.
[Peter] Oh, look at the little piglets.
-Actually what our programming does is we…
We help other families
build no smell pig pens
to create soil in the residential areas.
-Yeah, no smell.
-No smell.
Look at my fruits,
tell me my soil’s not nutrient.
When’s the last time
you had a soursop off the tree?
-Eat soursop before?
-Never, look at that.
Soft, right off the tree.
There we go sir.
-Just peel it back?
-Oh, yeah.
It’s sort of like jackfruit a little bit.
-It’s sweet, soursop.
Basically we started our own
fertilizer company during COVID
and we took
what we were using on our farm
and we bottled it
and started supplying it in the community
and literally
changing the mindset
of that we need something from out there
for our agriculture needs
and just building it–
-In house?
-In house.
That’s primarily how we survive,
carve stone
and are working to create
and establish a cultural economy.
Yeah? One that isn’t
a tourism derived one.
That’s essentially
cored around valuing knowledge.
-Are young people getting into this?
Is there much interest?
-Honestly we’re kind of the reason why.
We were the young guys.
For the first time in like a hundred years
we’ve stopped the decline of interest
in this particular practice of poi making.
In fact for a hundred years
it was illegal on this island,
and in 2009 after I decided to
start a business making food traditionally
the department of health
basically came to me
and told me that it was
a $1,000 fine per infraction
even if I gave it to my grandmother
because they regulate the sales
and distribution of all food in Hawaii.
And so from 2009 through 2011
I seriously had an illegal black market
underground traditional food system
business going on.
-So they don’t have
a problem with the vegetables
but what did they have a problem with?
-Well so poi…
Poi traditionally–
-Which… Explain what poi is.
-So it’s basically astronaut food
for ocean navigators.
Right? If you have to cross
2,000 miles across the ocean
in a canoe
this is pretty much the only food
that will guarantee that you will
have enough food to make it.
Because you got no refrigeration,
you got no cooking.
-What’s it made out of?
-The taro is a starch.
It’s an underground tuber.
There’s about 85 countries
that share 2,000 varieties.
Originally starting in Egypt
and actually went with
the ocean-voyaging people
because the root stock of it is seedless.
So you actually take
the stock of the plant
and that’s what you transplant.
And so that stock can handle
getting wet, getting dry, right?
As with a seed,
wet to dry, it germinates, it dies.
So the plants that went
with the early navigators
were ones that could withstand
this type of harsh environment.
The Hawaiians figured out a recipe
that basically allowed for them
to find Hawaii first
because they had the capacity
to survive getting there.
-Okay, so poi is sort of like
milk products for the Amish?
Do you know what they’ve dealt with
as far as the USDA?
The regulation like they’re not allowed
to sell that product
because it’s not pasteurized correctly,
that sort of thing?
-Here’s the thing,
there was a cholera outbreak in 1911
that was traced to the poi.
So there was a prohibition
and it all got shut down.
But it was found that it was farmers
using water from the duck pond
to mix the poi is why people got sick.
What we were able to do in
2011 is we actually went to the leg
and we changed the law.
I believe in liberty and justice, yeah?
And I believe that the future of Hawaii
rests in the hands of Americans
that also understand
and believe in liberty and justice
but also are willing to execute it
when it doesn’t benefit them.
You know, timing is everything
and I believe that the future independence
or however we choose
to negotiate and engage America
on a nation to nation status
will be because of timing!
Yeah? And it’s when we can
communicate with the American people
and two, the American people
are willing to listen,
and three, they’re willing to act
upon their research, upon their education,
upon their understanding
of what we have to do.
-Okay, I hate to be the realist here.
-Check it out.
Most people, a lot of people right now
are treading water.
They’re trying…
Inflation is everywhere obviously
It’s expensive here for sure.
This is the extreme edge of it.
But a lot of other parts of the country,
they’re just getting through it, right?
-Americans don’t realize–
-But even to take care of
their own back yard
is a challenge for many right now.
-Hawaii is the single most
expensive state for the United States.
-Yeah, yeah.
-Do you know how much money
would be available to the American people
if America stopped…
I mean seriously.
If you really look dollar for dollar
how much money comes out…
You think the million people
here pay enough taxes
for all of the federal everything
that’s going on in Hawaii?
We’re a huge drain.
This is where I’m telling you
as American people realize,
“Sh*t, I got more money
if let these guys deal with their thing
that they’re asking for.”
So I think we should all play
the Devil’s advocate
and we should be wise about how
we move forward but here’s the truth,
the truth is that today,
young Hawaiians are born into truth.
Yeah? And I didn’t know about
our overthrow till I was like 18.
There’s other Hawaiians that it was
so suppressed that the history today
the level of Native Hawaiians
that have achieved PhD’s
in becoming the absolute experts…
Previously there would be
a foreign expert leading the way here.
Those days are over
and the reality is that
the more expensive it is
to subsidize Hawaii
the bigger the reality
that we have to survive on our own.
Pua, you shoulda done the farm tour, bra.
This guy’s farm tour
is way better than mine.
You’re a good guide?
Show him your coolest
favorite spot to play.
-We go.
I’m gonna show you guys my favorite spot
to go when my cousins are here.
Me and them will just dash up
and go up here.
Let’s do it, let’s see the dash.
-You dash, like run?
[panting and giggling]
[Peter] Oh, we’re going way up.
-Yeah, way up.
[panting and giggling continues]
Here, I’ll give you the camera.
Can you hold it?
It’s pretty amazing to us
that we can…
that I can just go wherever I want.
These guava trees, they’re kinda ripe
but I really want to
show you guys the view.
It’s really nice up here. Like literally.
You can see everything.
[Elijah] Awesome, bra.
Even you.
[Elijah] Hey.
-[Elijah] I think he’s chasing it.
-[both laughing]
[Peter] Elijah, brother, thank you.
-That was awesome.
-Hey bra, mahalo to you, bra.
-Thank you, mahalo, mahalo.
-That was cool.
-So there’s was a lot in today.
I learned a lot. There’s a lot
I want to dig deeper on.
-I think for the viewer,
for all of you out there
we touched on many big topics.
People are interested.
There’s so much to discover.
-Absolutely, I always encourage people
to just head to my
Instagram and TikTok as well.
-Pretty soon I’m gonna be
kicking off a YouTube channel
with the beautiful help of this brutha.
-So guys, check out Elijah’s website.
It’s awesome.
-Instagram, YouTube.
-Yes, all the links down here.
-And has all the information there.
And it’s only building up.
I’m gonna be introducing… This
upcoming year I’m gonna be introducing
each three months, a retreat in Hawaii
to help people explore these things.
-Oh, cool so people can come here.
-Come to Hawaii.
Get deeper on these topics?
-Extremely deep, experience Hawaii in
a deeply truthful, rooted, authentic way
and then we take the world
to a whole ‘nother level.
-I appreciate you, bra.
-It’s awesome what you’re doing.
-Appreciate you guys, mahalo nui.
-Thanks guys, until the next one.
[bright Hawaiian music]

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