Ma‘ema‘e Toolkit Encourages Accurate Representation of The Hawaiian Islands

Feb 23, 2023

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA), in partnership with the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA), has released its Maʻemaʻe Toolkit, a cultural resource that has recently been enhanced for the visitor industry, businesses and community organizations to portray The Hawaiian Islands in a manner that is accurate and authentic. It supports HTA’s continual efforts to prioritize the integrity, protection and preservation of Hawaiian culture.

Maʻemaʻe (cleanliness, purity) represents the idea that descriptions and portrayals of Hawaiʻi should be clean, attractive and pure, and therefore without misrepresentations or inaccuracies.

“The Maʻemaʻe Toolkit provides essential information and guidance for the visitor industry and businesses to understand how to accurately represent Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian culture in their bodies of work,” said Kalani Kaʻanāʻanā, HTA’s chief brand officer. “A foundational component of our brand management efforts, the toolkit is utilized and amplified by our Global Marketing Team and partners throughout the world to urge authentic representation of Hawaiʻi’s people, places, and cultures.”

“Mahalo to the many individuals and organizations with strong ancestral and indigenous knowledge of Hawaiʻi who continue to contribute and infuse their ʻike into this living resource,” said Kaʻanāʻanā.

The Maʻemaʻe Toolkit includes topics such as the Islands’ geography, natural resources, ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language), royal heritage, Hawaiian festivals, customs and traditions, sensitivities, proper place names, and additional contacts and resources.

“The Maʻemaʻe Toolkit, coupled with other NaHHA resources in training and education, diversifies the opportunities for the industry to learn and engage with Hawaiian culture in a more meaningful and culturally appropriate way. Thus, ensuring the representation of Hawai‘i and Native Hawaiian culture by industry partners is done respectfully and responsibly,” said Mālia Sanders, NaHHA’s executive director. “NaHHA appreciates the value HTA has placed in this resource to continuously partner with us to produce and integrate new updates and for HTA’s commitment to share the Maʻemaʻe Toolkit more broadly with the industry and their partners.”

Since its first edition in 2010, Maʻemaʻe has evolved from a resource for media to a living toolkit for anyone who has a role in representing Hawaiʻi. It will continue to be refined and updated with pertinent topics and areas of interest.

The Maʻemaʻe Toolkit is available on HTA’s website at:ʻemaʻe-toolkit/