Shaka Gesture Bill

Why This Bill?

Companion bills SB3312 & HB2736 seek to make the “Shaka” Hawai’iʻs Official State Gesture. Reasons why:

    Memorializes Hawai’i as the place of origin.

    While multiple theories on the origin of the shaka exist, from Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai and Oahu, all theories have the shaka developing within the State of Hawai’i. The shaka however, is now used around the world, with epicenters of significance outside of Hawai’i which causes confusion as to the place of its origin. For example, California might think it eminates from their surf and sun culture, Texas might see coming from longhorn bulls or the country of Brazil may see it as part of their surfing industry and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In the cases of California and Brazil, their use of the shaka clearly derives from Hawai’i as the place of origin. Thus Hawai’iʻs adoption of the shaka would ensure Hawai’iʻs place on the global map as the birthplace of the shaka.

    Protects the Shaka as part of Hawai’iʻs cultural heritage.

    Multiple Hawai’i ethnic cultures including Hawaiian, Samoan, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino Haole, and various resident groups have contributed to the deep and complex meanings of the shaka. The shaka is in fact representative of 110 years of Hawai’i history and Hawai’iʻs melting pot of cultures and heritage at large. If any state other than Hawai’i adopted the shaka first, the meaning and historical significance of Hawai’iʻs shaka would be diluted. Thus Hawai’iʻs adoption of the shaka will ensure that the meaning of the gesture will be protected and forever tied to Hawai’i culture and heritage.

    Protects the Shaka as an asset to build the Stateʻs economy.

    The shaka is a key asset for the people and the State of Hawai’i to enjoy in that it offers the power to build our economy and global brand. No other symbol for Hawai’i is as visual and intuitively meaningful as the shaka. A second best brand symbol might be the word “aloha”, or images of rainbows or tropical flowers but none are as iconically Hawai’i as the Shaka. Further, as a brand symbol that requires no word characters, it is superior as an international brand symbol. This is why countless Hawai’i apparel, food, art, transportation, souvenir and other businesses leverage the shaka as a key design element. The shaka needs to be preserved for the economic vitality of Hawai’i.

    Protects the Shaka as a tool of Aloha.

    The shaka is imbued with Hawaii’s meaning of aloha, such as being thankful, welcoming, being of service, fostering connection and being “pono.” As such, it is an ideal way to share aloha, both locally and around the world.

    Supports the Aloha Spirit Law (HRS § 5-7.5).

    The Aloha Spirit Law is an actual law that is encoded in the Hawaii Revised Statutes as section 5-7.5. This statute requires that all citizens, government officials and visitors conduct themselves in accordance with the Aloha Spirit. Appropriate use of the shaka supports and makes possible the compliance with the Aloha Spirit Law.

    Fosters the Shaka as a key to peace and paradise.

    Famed Hawaiian philosopher Aunty Pilahi Paki once wrote, “The world will turn to Hawai’i as they search for world peace, as Hawai’i has the key, and that key is aloha.” The shaka is such a key to unlock peace. Further, its meaning of having no fear and going for excellence, also renders it a key to creating paradise in Hawai’i and anywhere in the world beyond. To achieve these ends, itʻs essential that the Hawaiian shaka be preserved and protected.

    It costs $0 to claim the Shaka for Hawai’i.

    This initiative has no budgetary request associated with it.


    Please take a minute to make the Shaka Hawaii’s forever. Ways to support:

      1. Visit the Bill Support Page and follow the instructions to sign in and click the “I Support” checkbox.
      2. Share with Others. Pass this on to others for their support.

    The Decision Makers

    SB3312 was filed by Sen. Glenn Wakai along with companion bill HB2736 filed by Rep Sean Quinlan. Once filed, Committees are assign, each of which has to review and approve. If all committees pass the bill, it goes to Gov Josh Greenʻs desk for signature (he can sign or veto it).  Public support and comments testimony are important to signaling to thse decision makers that they want the bill passed. Thus letting legislators from your district know that you support the bill is essential to passage of the bill. 

    Senate Committee assigned is TCA (Transportation, Culture & Arts, Chaired by Sen Chris Lee). Committee members include Sen Loraine Inouye Vice Chair, Sen Brandon Elefante, Sen Dru Mamo Kanuha and Sen Brenton Awa.

    House Committees assigned are:



    Aloha through the Shaka