Maui is a dream vacation for many, and some choose to move and live here permanently. If you are part of the latter group who decide to move here, it is important to know that visiting and living on Maui are completely different experiences. The Hawaiian people and long-time residents have a deeper connection to Maui - and Hawai'i overall; respect for the land and its people will bring you far.
Below are some things that are considered faux pas and defy local Maui customs:
1) Mess with the locals
If you were not aware, the are no private beaches in Hawai'i and it is a public offense and misdemeanor to block public access to the beach. Some homeowners have tried to camouflage or prevent local access to beaches. These homeowners have received backlash and criticism from the locals.
In one perfect example, don’t cut down the ladder at Cliff House and control shoreline access.
In January 2022, blockchain tycoon Jonathan Yantis "allegedly cut down the Cliff House ladder, erected misleading nature preserve signs about native birds, and hired a private security officer to “harass” people about noise, drinking, and music," according to local news site Maui Now.
Many locals later that month visited the area to protest the blockchain tycoon's actions.
Read the full news report of the controversy, here.
2) Honk your horn
One thing you will notice on Maui is that many drivers are in no rush to anywhere, and they don't honk their horns.
Maui is not the mainland and what everyone loves about living here is the mutual respect the locals have for each other, including on the roads.
Complaining about Maui, its culture, traditions, people and customs - even if you perceive them as maybe wrong - is absolutely forbidden.
There are many reasons why locals live the way they do and why things are the way they are. These customs and traditions have survived so long because they work, and they are what makes Maui special.
If you move to Maui, you should love and respect these qualities and attributes. If anything, do something positive to help make Maui a better place, and most importantly protect everything that is special about it.
4) Buy a Jeep or a convertible Mustang
Avoid buying vehicles that make you look like a tourist.
Jeeps and convertible Mustangs are popular rental cars for visitors, they are also popular targets for vehicle theft and break-ins.
5) Brag about your job or your money
Money and status are of little value to creating meaningful relationships on Maui. Maui does not have a hustle culture that many of the popular cities on the mainland do, so wealth is not a good measure of success on the valley isle.
Instead talk about how awesome your grandma’s banana bread recipe is, cook some up and bring it to your new friends and neighbors.
Maui residents really do care about each other and protecting their relationships to the land and each other.
6) Surf anywhere other than "The Cove" in Kīhei
Even if you think you’re a good surfer, be prepared to pay your dues and work your way up to the local surf breaks. This may take many years to be warmly accepted into the lineups at other local spots.