Editor’s Page: Making It in Hawai‘i

What do bees, baby oysters and books have in common? No, this is not a trick question.
Christi Young

It all started with bees. It’s a well-known fact in certain communities that Hawai‘i is a major player in the queen bee industry. I find it fascinating that while honey is a $4.1 million a year industry here, the selling of these breeding bees nets $10 million annually, according to the state’s Hawai‘i Apiary Program, and our beekeepers provide 25% of the Mainland’s queen bees and 75% of Canada’s. I was reminded about these numbers when I stumbled across managing editor Katrina Valcourt’s article in our February 2017 issue.


But it made us think: What other companies are also creating a buzz in our communities? (Just when you thought I had skipped the puns.) Beyond the often highlighted macadamia nuts, coffee and flowers—all still important to our economy, just not surprising—what new industries were starting to change what we think when we hear, “Made in Hawai‘i”? The result is our August cover story, a different take on these three words that are more than just a slogan: They are protected legally as a mark of authenticity. We went through census export numbers; statistics from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and Department of Agriculture; and mounds of news stories and press releases and came up with a few burgeoning businesses that are drawing some unusual players, and funders, to our shores. We also want to acknowledge some of our decades-old companies that, even through the evolution of time and technology, have purposefully decided to keep most of their work in the Islands. 

  honey cover

Hawai‘i produces the most honey per colony in the U.S.
Photo: steve czerniak


And a new wave of industries may soon be gaining a surge of support on the Big Island. At the end of this month, about a dozen startups will join a new Hawai‘i-based aquaculture accelerator. For 15 weeks, these small companies will join the 30 farms and renewable energy and ocean-based businesses that have already set up shop at the Hawai‘i Ocean Science and Technology Park, a state-run facility that was built to provide deep- and surface-sea water daily. Then, the entrepreneurs will travel to Norway and Singapore. A new cohort is scheduled to come through three times a year.


As much as technology changes every profession, some people need nothing more than a notepad and pencil. Yes, a few writers still work in longhand. But in the world of e-books, self-publishing and rampant blogging, can an author here still make a living through the written word? Actually, yes. We asked our own resident author, Don Wallace, to tell their stories. 


And reserve Aug. 16 through 18 for the festival that celebrates all things created here, the 25th Made in Hawai‘i Festival. HONOLULU Magazine is a sponsor—and fan—of the event, which requires that vendors sell things truly crafted here, as dictated by state law. I guarantee you’ll leave with several bags of buys and a big dose of local pride.

  Christi Young


Got a good story? Reach me at christiy@honolulumagazine.com


Read all of these stories in the August issue of HONOLULU Magazine. Available on newsstands in August, or purchase the issue at shop.honolulumagazine.com. Subscribe to the print and digital editions now.