Hukilau Beach

Hukilau Beach

Laie & the Hukilau

Shaka Guide

Listen to audio story here:

Did you have a chance to try some shrimp? Hope you enjoyed it! Don’t the Shaka Guide tours just get better as we go? Just down the road, we'll be arriving at a north shore town called Laie. This is actually a very special place. In ancient times, Laie was a Pu’uhonua, or place of refuge, where people who broke the strict traditional rules could find safety and be absolved of their crimes. In 1865, the land around this area was purchased by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You might know it as the Mormon church. The Mormon settlers established a sugar plantation, and once a water pump was installed to help with irrigation, the community flourished. A huge temple was established during this time, which is modeled after descriptions of king Solomon's temple in the Bible. The sugar plantation eventually closed, but the land was used to establish a university.

In the 1940's, a chapel here accidentally burned down. To raise funds to build a new one, Laie residents decided to stage a Hukilau to attract paying tourists from Waikiki. A Hukilau is a traditional fishing method where a net is cast into the sea and large crowds of people help bring in the catch. In 1948, the people of Laie managed to attract 2000 paying visitors to the Hukilau – an amazing feat in those uncertain days after World War II! After participating in the Hukilau, singer Jack Owens wrote “The Hukilau Song” - the well-known Hawaiian melody that is still sung at nearly every island luau today.

One of the greeters at this Hukilau was a man named Hamana Kalili, who had lost the middle three fingers on his hand after an accident at the sugar mill. He would wave to visitors with only his thumb and pinky sticking out – and before you know it, the shaka sign was born! Yes that’s right, the same shaka sign that our app - Shaka Guide - is named for. The shaka has become Hawaii's signature greeting, and like aloha, it has many meanings. Hi, thank you, take care. So give it a try! It’s simple, open up your palm, fold down your middle 3 fingers, and leave your thumb and pinky extended. Hey! There you have it, the shaka sign. When you wave it, it’s like you’re telling someone aloha.

Want to hear more? Check out our Legendary North Shore Loop tour!

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