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Hawaiian Art

Life is Art

One of the most important staples in Hawaii is rice. Due to the diversity of cultures that have made Hawaii their home, rice continues to be included in home cooking, picnics, and restaurants. But, at one time there were rice fields all over the islands, and rice was exported to the mainland USA. Today, no traces remain of the once richly farmed rice paddies in Hawaii.


Whaling was the main industry bolstering the economy of Hawaii in the early 1800s. Whale oil was used as a substitute for kerosene, which was manufactured up until the 1860s.Civil War resulted in a loss of much of the whaling fleet, so agricultural production including sugar and rice quickly dominated. Rice was second in value to sugar (from sugar cane) which was raised in the islands.

From 1860 - 1920, Rice was raised in the islands of Hawaii, particularly in Kauai and Oahu because of their abundance of rain. In Kauai, the Hanalei Valley had the highest amount of acreage planted in rice. Rice production in Hanalei actually continued up to 1960.

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