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Adventurous and enterprising Chinese arrived in Hawaii around 1778. An abundant supply of sandalwood shipped to South China in the early 1800's brought Hawai'i to the attention of Chinese in South China. Because the sandalwood was shipped from the islands, Hawai'i was called Tan Xiang Shan- Sandalwood Mountains- a name used by Chinese to this day. The largest wave of Chinese immigrants, some 46,000, came to Hawai'i between 1850 and 1898 and these pioneers became sugar planters, farmers, craftsmen, merchants, and traders in the main port towns of Honolulu, Lahaina and Hilo. The early Chinese immigrants coming to Hawai'i dreamed they would make a  fortune and then return to live in China permanently, however, most of them established Chinese-Hawaiian families and spent the rest of their lives in Hawai'i.

Following tradition, the Chinese families highly emphasized on education and they encouraged the young generation of Chinese to pursue higher education and professional training on the mainland U.S. This strong emphasis on education has resulted in a highly favorable economic and social position for Chinese men and women in Hawai'i. As a result, most of the Chinese in Hawaii are employed in higher-lever skilled jobs such as clerical, managerial, professional and political positions and as a group Chinese enjoy the highest median of income of all ethnic groups in Hawai'i.

At present, ninety-five percent of all Chinese live on Oahu. The Chinese in Hawai'i have assimilated into the islands' multi-ethnic society, but continue to honor their ancient cultural root.


Naniloa Volcanoes Resort
93 Banyan Drive Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Phone (808)969-3333 Fax (808)969-6622
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