This presentation looks at the development of Waikiki, one of the most famous tourist resorts in the world, from a Native Hawaiian place to a place dominated by the tourism industry. A geographic perspective is applied to this analysis through the use of maps, photographs and advertisements, as well as through an emphasis on how Waikiki’s “sense of place” has transformed over its fifteen hundred years of continuous human occupation. This presentation argues throughout that Waikiki has always been, and continues to be, a contested place in terms of its dominant land use functions and place identities.
Mr. Serge Marek is an instructor of human geography at Hawai’i Pacific University, Hawai’i’s largest private university. Originally from New York City and Boston, Mass., Mr. Marek has lived and worked in Honolulu since 1990. His research interests include cultural and urban geography, geographies of development, tourism geography, and indigenous urbanism. Mr. Marek is also currently a PhD student at The University of Hawai’i, Månoa. His PhD research focuses on the development of empowered places of Måori urbanism in Auckland. Mr. Marek has researched topics related to Waikiki since 1992, and has been teaching about Waikiki to undergraduate students since 1997. He has also worked at various times in Waikiki including a three year stint at the Halekulani Hotel—a hotel often rated one of the best hotels in the world.