What’s The Difference Between Hawaiian And Polynesian?

Hawaiian and Polynesian are two cultures that often get confused for one another due to their geographical proximity. From the beautiful leis and hula dancing, to the traditional tattoos and music, it’s easy to see why many folks believe these two cultures are one in the same.

In reality, there are several key distinctions between Hawaiian and Polynesian culture that make them distinctly different from each other. The Hawaiian island is considered to be part of Polynesia. Hawaii is part of what is known as the Polynesian triangle, which includes many islands in Polynesia. But even though Hawaiians are under the ethnic umbrella of Polynesia, there is still some difference between the Hawaiians and their Polynesian counterparts.

One difference is that Hawaii is a state of the United States of America, so politically, it is considered in the North American continent as it is part of the United States.

Read on to explore the unique difference betwee the Hawaiian culture unique from its Polynesian counterpart so you can better appreciate both of these amazing cultures! So if you’re unsure about how exactly Pacific Islanders differ or want to learn more about these distinct differences.

Table of Contents

Native Hawaiians Are Polynesian

Native Hawaiians are considered to be Polynesian people. Polynesians are the indigenous populations in Hawaii, Tahiti, Easter island, Soloman Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Chatham Island, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Tokelau, American Samoa, Niue, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and two islands in the federated states of Micronesia.

It is estimated that there are over about 2 million people worldwide that are considered ethnic Polynesian. Many inhabit the Polynesian nation-states, including the American state of Hawaii.

Polynesian people are native to the Polynesian islands located in the Central and Southern Pacific oceans. Hawaii and the Hawaiian islands are part of Polynesia and Polynesian culture.

In fact, Hawaii is included in the Polynesian triangle. The Polynesian triangle is a region in the Pacific Ocean of three island groups Hawaii, Easter Island, and New Zealand. All the islands within this triangle from these points are considered to be Polynesia.

The great things about the Polynesians are that they have always had a reputation as great navigators. Anciently, their canoes reached the most remote corners of the Pacific, allowing settlement of islands as far apart as Hawaii to Easter Island to New Zealand.

These ancient Polynesian explorers could accomplish this by using ancient navigation skills of reading the stars, the sea currents, the clouds, and bird movements. These navigation skills continue to be passed on to successive generations even to the present day.

Listen To Our Podcast About What’s The Difference Between Hawaiian And Polynesian? below or by clicking here.

Differences Between Hawaiians And Most Polynesians

Even though Hawaiians are considered Polynesian, there are also some marked differences between Hawaiians and Polynesians.

Here are some of the differences:

  • Hawaiians Are American – Hawaii is the state of the United States of America, so Hawaiians are considered American. Politically the islands of Hawaii are part of the North American continent or part of the United States of America. This is very different from the other Polynesian islands, which are not a state of the United States.
  • Hawaiians Have Lost Their Language – Most other islands in Polynesia speak a Polynesian language, such as the Maori in New Zealand speak Maori, Tongans speak Tongans, Samoans speak Samoan, etc. Most native Hawaiians have assimilated into the American culture, and very few Hawaiians speak the Hawaiian language.
  • Hawaii Is Not Just Native Hawaiians – When Hawaii became a state of the United States, many other cultures lived in Hawaii. For example, Chinese laborers were the first immigrant groups that come to Hawaii. Then the Japanese, Filipinos, and others also came.
  • Each Part Of Polynesia Is Different – many people tend to forget that even though Hawaiians are considered Polynesian, not all Polynesians are considered Hawaiian. This is because, within the Polynesian islands, there are so many different types of languages, cultures, and groups of people. Each part of Polynesia is very different genetically, culturally, and politically.

Most native Hawaiians consider themselves Polynesian and part of Polynesia. That is because there are so much that links Hawaii with many of the other Polynesian islands.

Hawaii feels different from other parts of the United States when you visit it. To me, it always has that beautiful feeling of Polynesia.

Virtually Travel To The Polynesian Island Of Easter Island

Conquer Virtual Challenge Polynesian Island of Easter Island Challenge Example

Easter Island is considered one of the world’s most isolated places as it is at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian triangle in the Oceania continent. Easter Island is a small island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile.

If you want to travel to Easter Island, you can do so by joining a Conquer Virtual Challenge. Each time you walk, run, swim, cycle, or do a host of other exercises, those miles can count towards you virtually traveling around Easter island.

We love the Conquer Virtual Challenge as it is an excellent way for you to explore parts of the world and learn about those parts of the world as you virtually travel around the world. Easter Island is an example of a place many of us may not get to in our lifetime, but we can still learn about this corner of the world through the Conquer Virtual Challenge.

When you do the Conquer Virtual Challenge and virtually pass an essential landmark on Easter Island, the Conquer Virtual Challenge will email you a postcard with information about where you just traveled. This is a great way to get additional knowledge of the areas you are traveling.

One of the things we enjoy about the Conquer Virtual Challenge is that when you complete the Easter Island challenge, they will send you the Easter Island medal.

To receive 10% off your Easter Island Conquer Virtual Challenge, click on the link below:

At A Bus On A Dusty Road, we talk about travel, life, and ex-pat living. We are all about “Living Life As A Global Citizen.” We explore social, cultural, and economic issues and travel.

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How Do You Say “Hello” In Hawaiian And How It Is Traditionally Used?

In Hawaii, people will greet you by saying hello or aloha. They may also use the word aloha to say goodbye. Aloha is the traditional greeting in the Hawaiian language for greedy people that are friends, family, or even strangers. But the word aloha means much more than just hello or goodbye; there are many traditional and cultural meanings inside the word.

By clicking here, you can discover How Do You Say “Hello” In Hawaiian And How It Is Traditionally Used?

What Continent Is Hawaii A Part Of And Why?

Politically, Hawaii is considered part of the North American continent as it is one of the United States of America states. But location-wise, many people consider it part of the Oceana continent as it is located within the area known as Polynesia.

By clicking here, you can discover What Continent Is Hawaii A Part Of And Why?.

Are Hawaiians And Samoans The Same Thing?

Hawaiians and Samoans are not the same groups of people; they are very different. Native Hawaiians are considered to be Americans. Most native Hawaiians do not speak the Hawaiian language. On the other hand, Samoans consider themselves from the archipelago of Samoa. Most Samoans speak Samoan and English. Culturally the two places are very different.

By clicking here, you can discover Are Hawaiians And Samoans The Same Thing?.