Much of Hawaii’s history has been lost or whitewashed for tourists, including the story of Eddie Aikau, a Hawaiian lifeguard and surf legend who was proud of his native cultural identity, and taught others about Hawaii’s true history of Western exploitation:

The beach had been a refuge for Eddie, but, like many Hawaiians during the 1960s, he was becoming aware of the impact that annexation and statehood had had on native traditions. It’s impossible to know for sure how many Native Hawaiians lived on the islands at the time of first contact with British explorers, in 1778, but historians estimate that before Cook arrived there were around five hundred thousand. By 1890, disease, wars between islands, and poverty had reduced the number to a mere forty thousand. The history Kelly taught the younger surfers contradicted the story of a conflict-free annexation and statehood they’d learned in school. The reality was grim. The U.S. military was testing weapons on the island of Kaho‘olawe; sugarcane and pineapple plantations had replaced diverse, sustainable agriculture that preserved the scarce freshwater supply; Hawaiians were subject to the rule of a government based nearly five thousand miles away. As Kelly drove Eddie and his friends past Hawaiian valleys and mountains toward its beaches, they began to comprehend how Hawaii had been transformed into America.

“Eddie is Gone.” — Nicole Pasulka, The Believer

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4 Films starring and about Pasifika people Streaming on Netflix

We’ve compiled a list of four films about or staring Pasifika people and narratives availible on Netflix. As of right now this is based on American Netflix. If there are more you know of please add to the list or contact us if you want us to do so. Happy viewing!

Splinters (2011, dir. Adam Pesce) - Splinters is the first feature-length documentary film about the evolution of indigenous surfing in the seaside village of Vanimo in Papua New Guinea. With no access to economic or educational advancement, surfing is not only a pillar of village life but also a means to prestige; a spot on the Papua New Guinea national surfing team is the way to see the wider world.

Hawaiian: The Legnd of Eddie Aikau (2013, dir. Sam George) - The documentary chronicles the remarkable life and times of the late Eddie Aikau, the legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer, pioneering lifeguard and ultimately doomed crew member of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea. 

Princess Ka'iulani (2009, dir. Marc Forby) - The true story of a Hawaiian princess’ attempts to maintain the independence of the island against the threat of American colonization.

Boy (2010, dir. Taika Waititi) - Set on the east coast of New Zealand in the year 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old kid and devout Michael Jackson fan gets a chance to know his father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago.