NW Complex Academic Officer
Aloha. ʻO wau ka hiapo o Keawe Wilhelm a me Hisako Ogata. Ua hanau ʻia a hanai ʻia wau ma Kapahulu, Oʻahu. Aka ua noho wau i Portland (Oregon), Kapahi (Kauaʻi), Hilo (Hawaiʻi) a me Kaneʻohe (Oʻahu).
In Hawai'i "who you" is a very important question. It means more than "what is your name?". Who you are is determined by your last name (more important than first), where you were born and raised, and what high school you went to. Your last name ties you to your family (you will usually be asked for your maiden name if you are married). The place you were born (determines if your really local, or just transplanted) and where you were raised (a follow up question will be how long you've been here). The school you graduated from determines, in many cases, socio-economic status, ethnicity, and college going potential (i.e., ivy league vs. local universities). For those not from Hawai'i, this information may seem unnecessary or not related to the person you are, but island people are different.
Island cultures are very dependent on each other, since those in the Pacific are typically geographically isolated. Knowing who your family is tells about your character, since island people tend to know each other, or at least your family by reputation. In Hawai'i as plantations declined, people of certain ethnicities tended to settle in certain geographic areas so sometimes the school you went to can give a hint about ethnicity and in some cases, socio-economic status. In the 60's students were also separated by ability, with college-bound students going to English Standard Schools. Those students tended to be of certain ethnicities as well. Private schools tell an even more specific story, about socio-economic status, ethnicity, and the products of each school are also assumed to have certain characteristics and personal traits.
All this information helps make connections and allows you to put together a picture of your new friend. This is how we start relationships (or avoid them) because on islands, relationships are the most valuable resource. Relationships are essential where resources are limited because the links your new friend brings with him through his family, the place he lives, or the education he received, may be provide just what you need. So included here is some information about me so you will know "who me". Hopefully you'll see how we're connected and we can begin a beautiful, mutually rewarding relationship (or not). Mahalo