Hawaiian Culture

HTA’s goal is to honor and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and community.

Hawaiian Culture

Native Hawaiian culture is at the heart of our islands' uniqueness. There has been a renaissance of the Hawaiian language and culture since the late 70's. Hawaiian practitioners are increasingly visible in the visitor industry. HTA supports programs that perpetuate and recognize the uniqueness and integrity of the Hawaiian culture and community and their significance in differentiating the Hawaiian Islands through unique and genuine visitor experiences.

Kukulu Ola: Living Hawaiian Culture Program

The Kukulu Ola program is part of HTA’s commitment toward Malama Kuu Home (caring for my beloved home) and the interacting pillars of its 2025 Strategic Plan.

For 2020, HTA awarded $1,535,000 in funding through its Kukulu Ola Program to 43 nonprofit programs statewide that are perpetuating Hawaiian culture. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and availability of funding the overall value of each project’s award was reduced by 50% in May 2020 and an RFP for this program was not issued for projects and events in 2021.

The Kukulu Ola program provides funding support to community-based awardees that enhance, strengthen and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture through genuine experiences for residents and visitors alike. Applicants are encouraged to review and download the Kukulu Ola RFP at: hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/HTA

View organizations that were funded in 2020:
Kukulu Ola: https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/3718/ko-2020-selected-proposals.pdf

For more information about this initiative, contact Kalani Kaanaana at (808) 973-2281 or via email [email protected]

Native Hawaiian Signature Events Program

Support for Native Hawaiian Signature events is a key element in supporting and perpetuating Hawaiian culture as well as providing unique and memorable experiences for Hawaii's visitors.

  • Prince Kuhio Celebration held annually in March, to honor Hawaiian Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole for his many achievements and contributions to Hawaii and Hawaiians
  • Merrie Monarch Festival held annually in April, is a festival that aims to perpetuate, preserve and promote the art of hula and the Hawaiian culture through education
  • Mele Mei & Na Hoku Hanohano Awards held annually from April to July, is a celebration of Hawaiian music and dance that showcases the uniqueness of our island music scene. 
  • King Kamehameha Celebration held each June, in commemoration of Hawaii's first monarch, King Kamehameha I
  • Prince Lot Hula Festival held in July, is a non-competitive hula event that includes halau hula (hula schools) from Hawaii
  • Aloha Festivals held from August through October is a long-standing event that celebrates the Hawaiian culture through various activities and events on all major islands.

The Maemae Toolkit

Hawaii is a special place, with a blend of cultures, activities, and experiences unique in the world. These islands have drawn the attention of travel marketers and journalists throughout the years, dating back to authors Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson. Along the way, some of those who have featured Hawaii have not always been intimately familiar with the Islands. As a result, our destination has often been misrepresented or inaccurately portrayed.

In response to these issues, we have developed the Maemae Toolkit. It will provide you with the essential information you need to accurately and sensitively promote the Hawaiian Islands. For further information or assistance, please contact us.

See the Maemae Toolkit

Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association

The HTA provides support to the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, a lead organization in implementing HTA's Hawaiian Culture initiatives. These programs and efforts are focused on continuing to bridge the gap between the Hawaiian community and the visitor industry. NaHHA's mission is to promote Hawaiian culture, values, and traditions in the workplace through consultation and education, and to provide opportunities for the Native Hawaiian Community to shape the future of tourism.

Visit the NaHHA website

Maemae Toolkit

To help market Hawaii authentically, browse through a resource of Hawaiian language tools, style and information guides, cultural activities and festivals, and other pertinent information.

See the Maemae Toolkit

Digital Asset Library

Register to access the Knowledge Bank, a public resource of images related to Hawaii and tourism-related activities.

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Partnership Opportunities

HTA's Global Marketing Team offers a variety of consumer, travel trade, and MCI marketing opportunities. Partnership opportunities include digital and social media marketing, public relations, travel trade, and meeting sales programs.

See All Partnership Opportunities 

Announcements

Read the latest announcements that provide up-to-date information about current HTA's programs, events and activities.

See All Announcements