As an economic cluster, Hawaiian Knowledge and Culture is a relatively new addition to Maui County’s 2022 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Its inclusion recognizes the profound depth of Hawaiian knowledge and understanding about the natural world, much of it accumulated over centuries of ancestral research and observation. It also recognizes the value of perpetuating Hawaiian cultural perspectives.

While disaggregated data for Maui County is limited, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated a total of 619,855 Native Hawaiians in the U.S. in 2020. This figure includes those who self-reported as Native Hawaiian only, or in combination with one or more other groups. Census data also indicated that some 27% of Hawaii’s statewide population in 2020 identified as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander alone, or in combination with one or more other ethnicities.

For many members of the Hawaiian community, preserving Hawaiian culture and values and promoting the social and economic welfare of the Native Hawaiian community in today’s global society can be daunting. Differing perspectives have led to extensive public discourse on various issues across the state, including many that are complex in nature, and a wide range of initiatives and programs have been implemented to help support and strengthen the Hawaiian Knowledge and Culture sector.


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