About Contact Sponsor Volunteer
Info Grafik Inc.
Home Ancient Hawaii Hawaii Timeline articles photos Contribute
Sign InRegister
You're here: Home » Ancient Hawai`i » Hawaiian Culture » Farming

« Return to Hawaiian Culture

Indigenous plants
Introduced plants
Domesticated animals
Growing seasons and weather knowledge
Farming methods and implements
Farming Sources

Talk Story
Timeline Guest!
Find something to talk about on this page? Share your story here.

Add to the Timeline
Add an event or photo.
Add an article on a specific topic, person or detailed event.


Hawaiians lived surrounded by ocean and voyaging played a pivotal role in their history and everyday life, but the bedrock of Hawaiian society was the traditions and work of farmers. Throughout ancient times, planters and farmers remained a stable element of society while ruling ali`i bloodlines rose and fell in positions of power. At the core of the island political economy, control of arable land identified status and political power. Resource-rich ahupua`a - mauka/makai divisions fed by the upland watershed - formed the more influential chiefdoms.

The Hawaiians' Polynesian cousins in the Society Islands took the canoe as their societal metaphor, likening their community to a boat with its mast, outriggers and paddlers all working toward a common goal. Hawaiians identified instead with taro, the staple crop that symbolized the Hawaiian family unit with its main root, or corm, surrounded by offspring shoots and topped by spreading green leaves. The produce of the land complemented the rich sources of protein found in the sea. As a result, over the span of many generations, Hawaiians developed their agricultural methods and traditions to a highly sophisticated level.

 Sites for further information

Ethnobotany of the Ahupua`a (Kapi`olani Community College)

Meet the Plants (The National Tropical Botanical Garden)

Report a broken link.

© Info Grafik Inc.     Privacy Policy & Terms of Use.     About the Hawaiian Language on this site.