Island Culture

Kalani's culture is based on the Hawaiian core values of integrity and respect. In this section we invite you to learn more about the island life & Aloha spirit.

Lono Dickson, Co-founder
of Kalani Packaging.
Born & raised in Maui, HI

History of the Hawaiian Shaka!

The Shaka! A common Hawaiian greeting, meant to remind of the Aloha Spirit and the culture of Hawaii. Hawaiian culture reminds you not to rush or worry. The shaka can be used as a greeting, with an Aloha shout out, or as a thank you when cutting in to traffic.

The Great Shaka Debate:

There are various stories about the origin of the shaka, but most agree that it's roots lie within the beach and surfing culture of Hawaii.


One version says the hand symbol came about through a local folk hero, Hamana Kalili, who lost his three middle fingers in a sugar mill accident. After the accident he was no longer able to work in the mill, instead becoming a guard who would shoo away the kids who tried to get to the sugar trains by shaking his hand at them. The kids started mocking his missing fingers by waving around the same hand gesture.

Hamana Kalili

Another version stems from surf culture. Claiming the symbol began after a sufer raised his shaking hand from the water after a shark bit off his middle three fingers.


Yet another version claims the practice was started by Spanish immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands. They were said to have folded down the middle fingers, then bring the thumb to the mouth as a symbol of sharing a drink with the natives.

Even the name "Shaka" has sparked many debates. Some say it got its name from a local Honolulu TV host who in the 1960's used the symbol as a sign off. Others believe it got it's name from Shakyamuni, an ancient Buddha that was known to pray with his hands in the shape of two shaka's pressed together. Another theory claims the name was derived from the term "shark eye" which was a traditional compliment given to family and friends with deep respect.

Whatever story you believe, the fact remains that the Shaka is at the heart of Hawaiian culture and symbolizes the Aloha Spirit that has come to make the Hawaiian Culture so special.


Kalani Ohana -- Wishing you much Aloha!