Superb voyagers, Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands migrated to Hawai`i more than 1,600 years ago. Polynesians were well established on the islands when, about 800 years ago, Polynesians from the Society Islands arrived in Hawai`i. Claiming descent from the greatest gods, they became the new rulers of Hawai`i. After a time of voyaging back and forth between the Society Islands and the Hawaiian Archipelago, contact with southern Polynesia ceased. During the 400 years of isolation that followed, a unique Hawaiian culture developed.
The tread of time ties Hawaiian heritage and culture today to the past. The fabric of Hawaiian life continues to be woven. Learn about aspects of Hawaiian heritage and culture below.
To learn about history of Hawai'i, visit the Hawaiian History page.
An Impossible Journey
Exploration & Navigation
Knowledge celestial navigation, ocean currents, and bird life are key to Hawaiian culture.
Food, Subsistance, & Agriculture
Learn more about the role of growing and eating food in Native Hawaiian culture.
An Advanced Society
Laws, Governance, & Social Structure
For centuries, Native Hawaiian culture had a structured set of rules and governance. Learn more...
Textiles, Architecture and more
Using the land and sea, Hawaiian hands have made clothing, canoes, homes and structures, and so much more for generations.
A Sacred Connection
Religion, Beliefs, & Spirituality
With humility and respect, we explore some of the sacred beliefs of the Hawaiian people.
Music and Dance
Whether for ceremony or celebration, music and dance are integral to Native Hawaiian culture.
Pronunciation of Hawaiian Place Names
Learn more about how place names have historical or cultural significance, reflecting the stories, events, and people that shaped the area.
More About Hawaiian Culture
Last updated: March 8, 2023