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Hawaiʻi is all about ohana (family).  In ancient times the Hawaiian culture had an amazing way of raising children.  They were free to roam their world and learn from whomever they were inspired by.  As a Hawaiian child if you enjoyed fishing then you went to live with the fisherman’s family to learn the craft.  Today parenting roles have changed and morphed into a blend of these ancient ways and modern life. Our traditional American ideas about family roles have changed quite drastically also over the last 50 years since the creation of Father’s Day.

a turtle lying on a sandy beach

Father’s day as a nationally recognized holiday was a struggle to establish.  After Mother’s day was created in 1908, it’s believed the first father’s day was celebrated in 1910 in Spokane Washington. U.S. president Woodrow Wilson championed it as good idea but it was defeated as a national holiday in congress in 1911 as well as in 1916 and 1924. Revived in the the 1930’s by men’s clothing retailers in New York city during the great depression many men scoffed at the idea of Father’s Day. It was thought of as a commercial ploy to spend money, usually theirs.

Four U.S. presidents called for its designation as a holiday – Woodrow Wilson in 1916, Calvin Coolidge in 1924 and Lyndon B Johnson in 1966 (who issued a presidential proclamation) It was not until 1972 that Father’s Day became a national holiday when it was signed into law by president Richard Nixon.

With over 70 million fathers in the U.S. today more than $13 billion is spent each year for Father’s Day. That’s a lot of tools and electronics!  But also the roles men play in family life are growing and evolving. According to a 2013 census bureau study approximately 214,000 stay at home dads are caring for an estimated 434,000 children in this country while mom’s at work.  Never before have men been more involved in the raising of children than today. Traditional roles are changing but not just in this country. These roles are changing across the world.

Currently 58 countries celebrate Father’s day though not all are “official” public holidays. The holiday has gained popularity worldwide since the 1950’s and many countries such as several southeast Asian countries have adopted it only as recently as 2010.

a glass of beer on a table

One of the most interesting is Germany’s “Mannertag” holiday.  The word translates as “men’s day” and it is a holiday in which men drag carts around towns and city parks filled with beer, wine and schnapps.  Drunken debauchery ensues for the day causing a 300% increase in alcohol related traffic accidents.  This has led police to start a public awareness campaign to change the name of the holiday to “Accident Day”.  Father’s Day in Germany is as big of a drinking event as Oktoberfest!

Ancient Hawaiian male roles in society

a small boat in a body of water

In ancient Hawaiʻi ohana (family) life was very different from the traditional european idea of the nuclear family.  Hawaiian men believed their behavior and actions were representing 7 generations of family – 2 from the past (grandparents), 2 in the present (parents), 2 in the future (children) and 1 family member not yet born.  There is much Pono (meaning “do the right thing”) and honor in this belief system and the ancient Hawaiians took it seriously. Hawaiian males also taught activities to interested children such as fishing, Hale (house) and canoe building, hunting, farming and warrior skills. Women had their own separate social disciplines and taught children about family customs, religion and rituals as well as cooking, food gathering and the making of clothing.

All members of the society where involved in the raising of children and there seems to be no clearly defined concept of fatherhood in ancient Hawaiʻi except as a bloodline to royalty. The concept of children belonging to and being the responsibility of the extended family was known as the system of “Hanai” in which anyone could be accepted into a family.

a group of people standing next to a body of water

The first born child of a Hawaiian couple were given away (as a show of respect) to the grandparents of the couple.  If it was a boy the child was raised by the father’s parents.  If it was a girl the child was raised by the mother’s parents.  Baby’s were also given to childless parents as all things were shared in this society.

Many of these ancient customs are being learned and revived throughout the islands as well being blended into modern life.  Hawaiians are and have always been adaptable. Today children are taught to show respect for adults and elders.  This is why you may hear local kids refer to everyone as Auntie and Uncle… even complete strangers!

Things To Do for Dad in Maui

Any Father spending their day on Maui will probably want to spend a bit of time with the family and a bit of time doing something just for dad.   We give a few ideas below to help plan out the best Father’s day ever in Hawaiʻi!

Go On A Maui Tour

a large body of water surrounded by trees with Hana Highway in the background

An adventure is sometimes exactly what everyone needs.   A day spent exploring the island, seeing the beauty, getting out in nature and away from the routine is why we go on vacation.  The road to Hana is Maui’s premier land tour and one of the top 5 things to do but it is anything but relaxing for Dad if he’s doing the driving.  Do him a favor and book a Hana van tour.  Everything is taken care of so you can relax and spend some quality time with Dad on this amazing road.

Make It A Full On Beach Day

a group of people sitting at a beach

There is nothing like spending a relaxing day on Maui’s beaches.  When we say a day at the beach, we don’t mean sitting on the beach and doing nothing.  The whole beach experience includes the morning walk to a great breakfast spot, a morning tour with a stand up paddle board, a great place to get a late morning smoothie, then maybe an adventure to get to a beach for a picnic.  A beach day can also include an afternoon of sitting in a shady spot watching the world go by, an afternoon beer at a nearby restaurant and then off to see the sunset for a wonderful beachside dinner.

Take Dad Golfing!

a large green field with a mountain in the background

Maui is a fantastic place for golf.  Of the 16 courses on the island 4 of them have hosted PGA events on a yearly basis.  Several touring PGA golf pros have homes in Maui.  If you find yourself on the island with a golfing father you have 3 levels of choices – economy, mid priced and first class. If Dad is a once in awhile golfer there is no sense spending $200+ playing a resort course. If he’s an avid golfer he is probably a bit stuck choosing from the world class resort courses.

Budget Golf

a close up of a lush green field

Maui is a wonderful place to play golf. It can be expensive and conditions can be tough in the prevailing tradewinds that can hold steady at 15 to 20MPH, but the views and greens can be pure magic!

There are some wonderful local tracks scattered throughout the island and one of the most affordable ones is Pukalani Country Club in the upcountry town of Pukalani.  It’s a challenging course especially in the afternoons when the trade winds can gust 20 to 30MPH!  Down along the ocean just outside of Wailuku is  Waiehu Municipal Golf Course.  Another challenging course where the front 9 is along the ocean and the back 9 is in fairly steep terrain overlooking the ocean. It’s usually in pretty good shape and it’s often referred to as the Pebble Beach of Maui. There are some more affordable resort golf options in Kihei too at Maui Nui Golf Club. Located in north Kihei across from the Safeway shopping center along Pi’ilani Highway. The greens are wonderful and they have special discounts like player cards and weekly memberships.

a view of a lush green field

Another mid price range option for Dad is The Dunes at Maui Lani Country Club. Located just outside of Kahului (where the airport is) this “British Open” links style course is long and winding with beautiful views of the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala rising across the central ismuth of Maui. The trades can blow hard here too so play early if you can….or bring a good knock down shot!

a lush green field next to a body of water

Resort Golf

Kapalua has two championship courses on Maui’s northwestern side of the island. The Plantation Course is the setting for the PGA Hyundai Tournament of Champions played every January. This mountain course with deep ravines to shoot across make for some dramatic golfing! It’s high end resort golf at it’s best…that is if you like a challenge. The tradewinds blow here too and the steep terrain can turn a 7 iron shot into a 4 iron in a hurry!

a large green field with trees in the background

Down the road closer to Lahaina is the Kaanapali Golf Club. These two courses are a quite a bit flatter than the mountainous Kapalua courses with less wind…but it can get hot and humid here. Both courses have hosted PGA events over the years but it’s a bit more playable than Kapalua. A good choice for intermediate level players.

a close up of a lush green field

Wailea Golf Club on Maui’s south side are the relaxed resort golf jewels of the island.  Any golf loving dad would be thrilled to play any of these courses! Wailea has three manicured tracks with the Gold & Emerald courses boasting amazing ocean views and lightning fast greens. The “Old Blue” course next door has been around since 1972 with big wide fairways and huge greens.

Send Him Out Fishing or Something!

a small boat in a body of water

Your Father is not a golfer and more into fishing instead? That’s ok.  We got it all covered in Hawaiʻi.  From heading out with a guide for some diving to going on an early morning fishing charter, there are plenty of options in Maui.  Sport fishing boats depart from Maalaea and Lahaina with the chance to catch Marlin (3 kinds), Tuna, Mahimahi and Ono.  Types of tours range from morning runs in smaller boats to all day affairs in large luxury boats (air conditioning and color sonar fish finder included).

Spearfishing is a fairly new activity in Maui but make sure Dad is an avid diver and fit for some underwater fish chasing.  Always go with a guide and check the weather conditions.

a man standing next to a body of water

If you want to try some shore fishing you can rent gear at sporting goods stores like West Maui Sports and Fishing Supply in Lahaina. No fishing license is required to fish along the shorelines of Maui waters but check with the DLNR first incase restrictions are in place in some areas.

Take Dad Out For a Meal (or Beer)

a plate of food on a table

After a full day enjoying Maui everyone has worked up an appetite.  After a hot summer day Dad deserves some good food and drink with family and friends. Maui is loaded with fantastic places to eat from shave ice stands to swank resort fine dining to more affordable cafe cuisine it’s all excellent food.  Everywhere you look there is plenty of choices to please every type of foodie father. Check out the many restaurant guides online for the area you’re in and chances are there is something wonderful close by.

a glass of water on a table

If Dad is feeling a bit on the German side (or just loves beer) then there are couple of wonderful brew pubs in Maui.  Maui Brewing Company on the west side (Kahana) and the south side (Kihei) has gained a mainland following with it’s canned beers and the seasonal brews at the pubs are as excellent as the food.  Rock & Brews in the north shore town of Paʻia has over 20 taps of craft beers from all over the islands as well as beers from around the world.  The pizza’s are top notch  and the laid-back surfer vibe of this town is worth the drive. Maui’s newest brewery is Kohola Brewery across from the Lahaina Cannery. This year their Father’s Day specials include happy hour pricing all day and a package deal of a Kohola t-shirt, hat and 40oz growler for $90.

Well there you have it. There is always plenty to do in Maui no matter what time of year you visit but if you’re here on Father’s Day we hope these suggestions helped those dad’s to get the most out there special day!

Aloha Nui Loa

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