Joys and Woes of Polynesian Dads

Sweet Tooth Delights You Can Get on the Mainland.png
My Hawaiian friend with her dad and brother*


I think pretty much all dads are the same: tough on the outside but having soft spots inside. The way they show that soft spot is different for each dad. This Father’s Day I decided to focus mostly on Polynesian dads, because they are very much like other dads, except there are a few things different. Sometimes they’re a little more dramatic about stuff or they’re the exact opposite. Here are a few nuances (some joys and some woes)  I thought of when it comes to Poly dads….


They’re just kind of oblivious

You could be doing something right in front of them and they’re staring into space. I don’t know why this is, but maybe they’re just not paying attention? Or maybe they’re just dense? I remember being at tons of luaus, parties, or picnics, and literally the Polynesian dad is just sitting there in a camping chair with his shades down, a can of soda in his hand, and looking at nothing ahead of him.


Or they’re not oblivious at all

Some Poly dads are control freaks. Even before my friends would get home from sports or activities during my high school days, their dads would be calling them. “Where you at?” “What’s for dinner?” “Where’s your brother?” “Make sure you cook the rice.” The list of requests and questions go on and on.


They take care of everyone’s kids

My sisters live in Rexburg, Idaho, which is just about as UN-Hawaii as you can get, but it was cool because last summer we were invited to a Hawaii local family’s picnic. We brought food and introduced ourselves, then sat to eat with the aunties. My little niece is blonde hair and blue-eyed, but these people we had just barely met were gushing about her. One of the Polynesian dads scooped her up and took her to play with the dog and other kids. I wish you could’ve seen the picture: this brown-skinned, tall, buff guy just taking care of this little white girl. They accepted and loved us like their own family.


They cheer you on too

My parents tried to attend my sporting events, but they couldn’t do everything (and that’s nothing against them because seriously, they had five kids so…). I usually got a ton of support from other Poly dads. I did sports every season throughout high school, and I really got to know some of my teammate’s parents. The other Poly dads always brought us food, snacks, and drinks, and they’d be there with their cameras as we warmed up or crossed the finish line. Some of them were really soft and maybe even a little shy, and some of them were super tough and literally cheered us on because they were so competitive.


They know how to eat

You’ll never go hungry with a Poly dad. They’re almost as bad as Poly moms when you walk into your friend’s house, except they usually blame their kid. “Did you offer your friend some food?” “Did you ask if they want to eat something?” “Does your friend need anything?” Instead of directing the questions to you, it’s them asking you questions through their child.


They know how to spank

Dad spanked us a lot, but hey, we were disobedient sometimes and so we learned our lesson. My uncle used to “sasa” his kids all the time too. It’s not always the best form of discipline, but it’s a real thing when it comes to Poly dads.


They know how to laugh

This is probably my favorite part about Poly dads, because everything doesn’t have to be that serious.


They’re lazy

Not all of them, but that’s how some of them end up being a little more on the portly side.


They ask about your last name

All the time, and if it’s not the last name then the typical Polynesian talk commences: “What island are you from?” “What school you when grad from?” “Eh you know so and so?”


They like to wear Kahuku t-shirts

Just kidding. But they do like to wear t-shirts, like… all the time. For Christmas, that’s what we got my dad from Sears because we knew he’d appreciate a new shirt with Hawaii, or a fish, or something ocean or Hawaii-related on it.


They know how to cook

I remember living in Laie, and the fathers in the neighborhood used to cook all the time. A few houses down from my grandma’s on Iosepa Street, we’d visit my dad’s hanai, or adopted, parents and my dad’s hanai father would be cooking up some ono grinds.


They’re more culturally-inclined

They know where they’re from, and they are super proud of it. Whether it’s at church, school, or the community, Poly dads are always happy to say where they’re “originally from,” even if they were literally born and raised on the mainland.


They’re just kind of ghetto

Ok, so being thrifty isn’t ghetto, but Poly dads like good deals, Craigslist, and used items. Whatever they can get for a good deal–even if they have to fix it up themselves–is worth it to them.


They love to share

Whether it’s food, talents, or time, when Poly dads are motivated, they’ll do anything for just about anyone.


It takes them forever to hang up

I don’t know why this is, but they take forever to hang up. You can say, “Ok bye dad. Love you,” and he’ll say, “Yup, love you,” and then for some reason this “I love you” cycle happens at least twice before someone hangs up.


I know that what I’ve written here doesn’t encompass every Poly dad, and you might even be thinking that some of these don’t apply to the Poly dad that you know. But in my experience, and as I’ve moved all over the world, these are just some of the fun things I’ve come to learn and love about Poly dads. They’re not perfect, but they’re so much fun to be around and so easy to love. Happy Father’s day!!!


What’s your favorite thing about a Polynesian dad you know? You can like and share in the comments below or on the Facebook page! 


If you’re feeling in the mood, check out these fun videos about Poly dads:



*Photo cred and big mahalo to Jenna for letting me use a picture of her and her family for the title of my blog post!! 🙂

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