New bill would make the ‘shaka’ an official Hawaii state gesture

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The story of aloha starts with a shaka! A newly introduced bill is looking to make the shaka an official state gesture.

“The spirit of aloha is embodied in this particular gesture,” stated Sen. Glenn Wakai. “It just adds to the allure and the mystique of Hawaii.”

The bill aims to share the pride of Hawaii by claiming the shaka. State officials believe Hawaii would be the first to officialize a state gesture if the bill passes.

“It’s one of the symbols that truly separate us from anywhere else across the world,” stated Rep. Darius Kila.

A documentary being made in support of the bill will go back 110 years to when the shaka was first believed to have been used. ID8 nonprofit Chairperson, Steve Sue, has been researching the shaka for the past five years for the film.

“There’s multiple origin stories to the Shaka,” stated Sue. “They all have different points in time that they start from. There’s different meanings of the word, there’s different gestures.”

Sue said the shaka origin story reflects a melting pot of countless groups in Hawaii who gave meaning behind the gesture and spread it.

“There’s a whole era in the seventies, the Japanese had a hand in it, so many people had a hand in it,” stated Sue.

The iconic symbol is known worldwide, but according to a study, 91% of locals don’t know much about the shaka. If the bill passes, officials hope the shaka will remind native Hawaiians of their roots.

“It originated from here and if people here don’t even know where it came from, then we really have some work to do to ensure that Hawaii is credited for this gesture, that the Hawaii meanings are imbued to it and used around the world appropriately,” said Sue.

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