The only downside to my recent trip to Hong Kong for the Willem Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot was that I unfortunately missed a very special event here in New Zealand — the official launch of Hawaiian Airlines service between Auckland and Honolulu. The arrival of this high-quality American airline will offer Kiwis a convenient way to visit our glorious 50th State, as well as a comfortable, convenient, and cost-attractive new route to enter the U.S., including for transit to other destinations.

Click through for image source. Hawaiian recently added routes to New Zealand and Australia, increasing options for Pacific travelers.

Hawaiian soars above Oahu en route to New Zealand.

To start, Hawaiian will operate three flights each week between Honolulu and Auckland. Flights south will leave Honolulu at 1:45 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, arriving in Auckland at 9:55 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Flights north will leave Auckland at 11:55 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, landing in Honolulu at 9:45 a.m. the same day (with plenty of time to hit the beach as soon as you collect your luggage.)

Click through for image source. Glorious Waikiki, seen from Diamond Head, walking distance from campus.

The golden beaches and warm, crystal waters of iconic Waikiki, Honolulu.

Click through for image source. After sundown in Honolulu.

After sundown along Waikiki.

I have been through Honolulu International Airport many times, and I know that it is a quick, easy, and very friendly point of entry to the United States. If you are simply transitting Honolulu you can easily connect to other Hawaiian Airlines flights to New York City, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Phoenix, as well as various international destinations.

Hawaiian Airlines Route Map. Click through for image source.

At the heart of the Pacific, Hawaiian Airlines’ route map.

If your intention is to explore paradise for awhile on holiday or business – a plan that I highly recommend – Hawaiian Airlines operates more than 150 flights a day among cities, towns, and resorts within the Hawaiian archipelago. Beyond Honolulu lies the rest of Oahu and the other islands — Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, the Big Island (Hawaii), Niihau, and Kahoolawe. Globally synonymous with tropical splendor, our 50th State requires little or no introduction.

Waimea Canyon Kauai. Click through for image source.

Waimea Canyon on Kauai, one of my favorite places in Hawaii.

As I mentioned in my prior post about the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Hawaii combines the best of all worlds — pristine environments, enormous biodiversity, exotic habitats, sublime year-round tropical climate, unspoiled land and seascapes bursting with color, remote getaways, and sense of distance from the crush of modern life, coupled with highly developed infrastructure, service-oriented hospitality, safe water, easy transport, and well-established travel and tourism options.

Click through for image source. The stunning coast of Molokai.

The stunning coast of Molokai.

There really is something for everyone in Hawaii. Whether your approach to recreation is more like an adventuresome Indiana Jones, or a luxury-driven Paris Hilton, or an outdoors-loving surfer Duke Kahanamoku, or just a tired aspiring beachcomber looking to decompress, there’s a deeply satisfying Hawaiian sojourn waiting for you.

Click through for image source. Enjoying the sport that Duke Kahanamoku popularized a century ago.

Enjoying the iconic Hawaiian sport.

For more information about the distinct pleasures of the individual islands, festivals and events calendars, adventure and eco-tourism options, and how to plan a visit, see the State’s official travel website, www.GoHawaii.com, as well as the destination guides on the Hawaiian Airlines website. You will likely be suprised at the great diversity of options, itineraries, and activities available.

A particularly active night in Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Click through for image source.

A particularly active night in Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Sea Cave Waterfall in Kauai. Click through for image source.

A sea cave waterfall in Kauai.

Hawaiian Airlines has been providing the most authentically Hawaiian travel experience to and from the Hawaiian Islands since 1929. Its genuine aloha spirit has earned the airline the top ranking as the nation’s best carrier for service quality and performance in three of the past four years. The airline has had the best on-time performance of all U.S. carriers in each of the past nine years. Consumer surveys by Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian in a class by itself. And I think Kiwis will appreciate the American-style fares.

Quiet contemplation, on any of the islands. Click through for image source.

Quiet contemplation, on any of the Hawaiian Islands.

Several of my colleagues attended the official launch party held at the Langham Hotel on March 15th, a superb event that recreated the feel, flavor, and energy of Hawaii for tourism industry professionals and the greater Auckland business community. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Dunkerley, hosted an evening of entertainment that included classical hula dancing, traditional Hawaiian music, and Hawaiian canapés. I have heard nothing but rave reviews.

 

The inaugural flight itself was also very special, carrying Hawaiian’s senior management, Native Hawaiian and Maori dignitaries, and crewmembers of the Hawaiian sailing canoe Hokule’a which in 1985 crossed the Pacific from Hawaii to Waitangi to reintroduce the practice of celestial navigation to Aotearoa. The flight and the reception were powerful reminders of the deep connections between the great Polynesian cultures of Hawaii and Aotearoa.

Click through for image source. Native Hawaiian performers.

Native Hawaiian performers.

Regular readers of my blog will know that this is not the first time I’ve talked about Hawaii. Back in 2011, our Independence Day celebrations were Hawaiian-themed, with singers, dancers, musicians, and food from Honolulu. In both 2012 and 2013 we brought hula dancers from the Ka Laua’e Foundation for the Pasifika Festival in Auckland. We have sent Kiwis on study tours to Hawaii, including conservation advocate Nicola Toki and Tuia Group Director Toko Kapea. And just several months ago, I profiled the world-class University of Hawaii.

Our friends from the Polynesian Cultural Center perform in Wellington.

Our friends from Honolulu’s Polynesian Cultural Center perform on the 4th of July.

Nicola Toki and her IVLP group visiting beautiful Limahula Gardens, Kauai, Hawai’i.

Nicola Toki and her IVLP study group surveying Limahula Gardens on Kauai.

Despite all those projects and articles, we’ve only scratched the surface. Come see for yourself. There’s a lot to explore. I’ve been to four of the islands, and each has its own distinct character, environment, and charm. You’ll be surprised, delighted, and invigorated at each turn. And now you can begin your aloha experience as soon as you board your Hawaiian flight here in New Zealand.

Iconic statue of King Kamehameha I, unifier of the islands, in downtown Honolulu. Click through for image source.

King Kamehameha I, iconic unifier of the islands, beckons in downtown Honolulu.

Based on my own personal experiences, I believe that my friends at the Hawaii Tourism Authority actually understate their case:

“The fresh, floral air energizes you. The warm, tranquil waters refresh you. The breathtaking, natural beauty renews you. Look around. There’s no place on earth like Hawaii. Whether you’re a new visitor or returning, our unique islands offer distinct experiences that will entice any traveler. We warmly invite you to explore our islands and discover your ideal travel experience.”

Click through for image source. Sunset in Hawaii.

The native fleet of paradise, Hawaiian Airlines, will now carry you directly there. 

E komo mai o Hawai’i.  Aloha.