Notable Personalities from Hawaii

Aside from its natural beauty and resources, Hawaii is also ripe with human resources. There's a host of notable people and celebrities that was given birth to by Hawaii. Here, we introduce you to some of them, categorized in their respective fields.


Kamehameha The Great

Kamehameha I is considered the greatest ruler in the Kingdom of Hawaii. His main achievement is the first ruler to bring the whole of Hawaii under a single rule in 1810. He is also well-noted for the Law of the Splintered Paddle, which is also the ideal of the current public safety precepts in the current Hawaiian Constitution.

Barack Obama

The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama was born in Honolulu. The historic significance of Obama's win is that he is the first African-American to hold the highest public office in the US. Aside from that, Obama is also at a crucial point in US history, entering the White House to deal with the 2008 global economic crisis and recession, and inheriting two wars, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His message of hope and change resounded through the whole US, giving him a decisive victory over John McCain in the 2008 Presidential Elections.

Hiram L. Fong

Fong is the first US Senator with a Chinese-American lineage. He served in the US Senate from 1959 to 1977. He also holds the distinction of being the only Republican Senator from Hawaii, and also the only Chinese-American that sought the nomination for the Presidency from the Republican Party. Fong was born in Honolulu in 1906.

Daniel Akaka

Akaka is the first Native Hawaiian to get a seat in the US Senate. He is also known for being the only current senator with Chinese-American lineage.

Daniel Inouye

Inouye is the first Japanese-American to enter the US Congress and Senate. He has also served as a Representative of Hawaii since it was accepted as a state of the US in 1959. Inouye is also a WWII veteran, and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

John D. Waihee III

Waihee III's ticket to fame is by being the first person of native Hawaiian lineage to win the governorship in any US state. He served as Hawaii's Governor for two terms, from 1986 to 1994.

Ben Cayetano

If Waihee III set the mark for Native Hawaiians, Cayetano did the same for Filipino-Americans. Cayetano is the first governor of a US state with a Filipino-American lineage. He also served two terms, from 1994 to 2002.

Eduardo Malapit

Malapit is the first person with Filipino-American lineage to become the mayor of a US municipality. He served as the Mayor of Kauai from 1974 to 1982.

Arts and entertainment

Bette Midler

Midler is a prominent actress, singer, and comedienne. She is a multi-awarded actress and singer, with four Golden Globes and Grammy Awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Award nominations. She is also known as The Divine Miss M. She was born in Honolulu in 1945.

Nicole Kidman

Kidman is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, and was once the highest paid actress in Tinsel Town. She also has three Golden Globes and an Academy Award for Best Actress. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and stayed there until age four before returning to Australia. This is why Hawaii can lay a claim on Kidman.

Tia Carrere

Carrere is an actress and singer. She is known for her roles in the Wayne's World movies and the TV show, Relic Hunter. She also appeared in several Hollywood films. She won a Grammy Award in 2009 for her collaboration album 'ikena with Grammy-award winning producer Daniel Ho. Carrere was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Nicole Scherzinger

Nicole Scherzinger is a singer-songwriter made famous for being a member of the all-female pop group, Pussycat Dolls. She was born also in Honolulu in 1978.

Robert Kiyosaki

New York Times best-selling books under the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" series made Kiyosaki a famous personality and author. His other achievements are being a successful speaker, businessman, and investor.

Keala Kennelly

Kennelly is a pro surfer known for her daring moves and strong personality. She has appeared in the surf flick Blue Crush as herself, as well as in the TV series John from Cincinnati as Kai. She was born in 1978, on the island of Kauai.

Dwayne Johnson

More known as The Rock, Johnson was a former professional wrestler, and now a movie actor. He spent a year of his high school in Honolulu.

Kelly Hu

Hu is a film and TV actress who was born in Honolulu. As a former beauty queen, she was first recognized as an actress because of her role in Growing Pains, a TV sitcom. Her most notable role is as Lady Deathstrike in the X-Men 2 movie.

Harry Fujiwara

Fujiwara is a former professional wrestler. He is more known to wrestling fans for his stage name Mr. Fuji, and for his habit of using salt as a weapon against his opponents. He would throw salt on the eyes of his enemies to temporarily blind them. He was born in Hawaii with a Japanese-American lineage.

Mark Dacascos

Dacascos is an actor known mostly for his action films that feature martial arts. He is also known for his role as the Chairman in the TV show Iron Chef America. He is also an accomplished martial artist, winning several championships in karate and kung fu competitions. Dacascos was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Duke Kahanamoku

Duke's major contribution is his efforts in popularizing the sport of surfing. He is also an Olympic multi-medalist, with three gold and two silver medals for swimming. As recognition of his contribution to spreading Hawaii pride and culture, he has a statue at Waikiki Beach.

Akebono Taro

Taro's main achievement is that he set the mark for foreign-born sumo wrestlers, as he was the first to be given the most prestigious rank, the rank of Yokozuna. Taro was born in Waimanalo, Hawaii with the name Chad Haakeo Rowan. Because of his outstanding talent as a sumo wrestler, he has won the Emperor's Cup several times.

Michelle Wie

Wie is a professional golfer born in Honolulu in 1989. She was considered as a prodigy because of her achievements, such as the youngest winner of a tournament under USGA, youngest player to attend a tour event held by PGA, and being the youngest player to join a tournament held by LPGA.

Bobo Olson

Olson is a professional boxer and was the middleweight champion of the world from 1953 to 1955. He has a career record of 97 wins, 16 losses, and 2 draws. Because of his achievements, the International Boxing Hall of Fame lay a claim on him in 2000. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1928.

Sid Fernandez

Fernandez is a professional baseball player who pitched for several clubs in the Major League, but he is noted for his stay with the New York Mets where he won the World Series for 1986. He also holds the fourth-best MLB record in hits per innings, with 6.85. He was born in Honolulu, in 1962.

Ed Corney

Corney is a professional bodybuilder, and is known for his amazing poses as a professional bodybuilder. He has won several Olympia and Mr. USA titles throughout his career, and he was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2004. Corney was born in Hawaii in 1933.

Science and society

Ellison Onizuka

Onizuka is an American astronaut born in Kona, Hawaii. He was the first Japanese-American in space by being a crew member of the Space Shuttle Discovery for the STS 51-C mission in 1985. He lost his life on the ill-fated Challenger mission, along with the other crew of the Challenger in 1986. The Onizuka Air Force Station and the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station were named after Onizuka as a tribute.

Marianne Cope

Cope is a Franciscan nun who is noted for her remarkable work with the lepers of Molokai in Hawaii. What was considered miraculous about Cope is that she was not infected by the lepers. She was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in May 2005. Cope's canonization for sainthood is still to be declared.

Father Damien

Father Damien, or Damien de Veuster, is noted for his work with lepers in Molokai island. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in June 1995. He is scheduled to be canonized to sainthood in October 2009. He also is called Blessed Damien of Molokai, the Apostle of the Lepers, and the Leper priest. Damien contracted leprosy because of his work and died because of it.

Chang Apana

Apana is a Hawaiian police detective who was the basis of the character of Charlie Chan, a fictional detective that has made appearances in several films and books. Apana was born in Oahu.

Bernice Pauahi Bishop

Bernice Bishop is a direct descendent of the Hawaiian Royal family, and a philanthropist. She is also the founder of the Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii, and the Bishop Museum is also named after her.

Eric Shinseki

Shinseki is a former US Army Chief of Staff. Now, he serves as the Secretary of Veteran Affairs under President Barack Obama's Cabinet. He is known for having a conflict during the pre-Iraq war with Donald Rumsfeld. Shinseki was born in Kauai in 1942.

People are treasures too

As one can see, Hawaii has a lot of treasures, not the least of which are its people. These notable personalities have indeed contributed a lot not only to Hawaii's history, but also to the US history as well. With several notable personalities, Hawaii is truly one of the gems of the US and the Pacific.