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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Is “Hawaii” The True Paradise It’s All Cracked Up to Be?

Photo in Courtesy of EuroNews

Island breeze, drink in hand, feet in the sand; how could it get any better than this? Tourists sit poolside and relax in cabanas, unbeknownst to the damage that they are actually causing to the Hawaiians beautiful hallowing land. So what is hiding behind the curtain? Why is traveling to Hawaii so bad?

Polynesians first settled in Hawaii sometime between 1000 and 1200 AD. January 20, 1778, James Cook, a British explorer, was the first documented European explorer to come in contact with the islands. Cook received lovely gifts from the people, who offered him bananas, pigs, and bark cloth. As a matter of fact, they believed he was a God.

There were always cultural differences, like the concept of land ownership. The Hawaiians made the assumption all land was commonly shared between the community, but Europeans had a different aspect on that. There were multiple disputes and misunderstandings over this concept. A lot of these misunderstandings contributed to disputes. For example, The Hawaiians used Cook’s boat, but they did not know it was bad, this caused another argument.

Locals believe that their natural land is being stripped away from them, and the people who actually belong to the land. People say that it is leading to a lack of access to clean water, pollution, destruction, and the housing crisis. Hawaii is home to many burial sites, historical locations, and sacred spaces. 

Mauna Kea, a  shield volcano is one of the most sacred places, Hawaiians believe that it connects the land to the Heavens.  An astronomical research site was placed at the summit, but Hawaiians were understandably, very upset, this is a space that for millions of years has been important, it is not just some random hill to do research on. In 2020, they did not go down without a battle, they fought their hardest to keep the site from being placed there. Multiple people came to protest.

The poverty in Hawaii is severe, and the ethnic group of the highest rates of homelessness just so happens to be Native Hawaiins. The people are irritated by this because they find it strange and unfair how the people who literally founded that land and inhabited it for years, are the ones stuck on the street. This is just another contribution toward why people are furious with tourism though. How does tourism impact your housing? What do we have to do with it if we are simply your economy source? Well, since it is such a popular location, some people want to buy a home out there to live there, or a vacation home. This is a popular choice, and since the housing market is demanding, prices have gone up.

Do not be afraid to visit though, tourism is an essential part of their economy so, if you do decide to travel to Hawaii just treat the land with respect. Honor their culture, respect their sacred sites, and if the locals ask you not to do something or advising you, listen to them. Trust their word more than your own judgment.


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About the Contributor
Mackenzie Lynch, Writer
Hi, my name is Mackenzie Lynch! I am a sophmore and this is my first year in Newspaper Club. I am so excited to write stories this year as that is what I love to do in my free time. This is such an incredible oppurtunity and I cannot wait to work with other talented writiers. Here are a few otheer things that I do -- I am on the cheerleading team, gymnastics team, a dancer at Winthrop School of Performing Arts, I am active in Student Council, Math club, and of course Newspaper Club. As said before I cannot wait to advance my writing in these articles and intrigue people with my stories in addition to me reading other people's stories. Thank you for reading!

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    Mark W DixonMay 24, 2024 at 8:21 pm

    I visited Hawaii a couple times many decades ago; even then, the entire economy there was tourist-based, meaning the atmosphere was… well, sorta Vegas-like and fake. But outside Honolulu, or off the beaches, the landscape was amazing and the snorkeling was world-class.