The similarities between the Hawaiian native language and Māori are unmistakable. It always seems to be the most important root words that travel best between islands and languages over hundreds of years. It's probably why wāhine (woman), wai (water), moana (ocean) and waka (canoe) are all identical.
It's also one tangible aspect that helps quantify the undeniable tingle of familiarity that you feel as a New Zealander when you scratch below the glitzy facade of this place. It probably also helps explain Hawaiians' big love of Kiwi reggae band Katchafire.
Perhaps it all adds up to part of the reason Kiwis have been rediscovering the Hawaiian islands, something luring us that we can't quite put our finger on. Or perhaps it's just the airlines' price wars.
Either way, it is undeniably a native culture that has had American influence plonked over the top - the two now in an odd marriage that brings the best of both worlds. Nowhere else in the Pacific can you buy rare sneakers in half sizes at midnight; nowhere else in America do they have such a close connection to the water.
There are two distinct sides to Oahu Island, one being the Waikiki hubbub, the other being the laidback North Shore. Take someone blindfolded to both and they'd swear they were on different islands. It's a killer combination for those looking for a holiday that has the buzz of a big city combined with the laidback feel of a tropical island. By choosing which side of the island you stay on and which side you visit, you can set your own ratio of experiences based on your tastes. Which is perfect if all he wants to do is go shopping and you want to learn how to surf.
On this trip we discovered some great restaurants tucked away from mainstream traps. They've become much easier to find thanks to apps such as Tripadvisor removing much of the guesswork. At the places we tried, I noticed a trend of serving traditional Hawaiian dishes with a twist. From squid luau made with a spicy sauce instead of boiled taro leaves, to a fresh tuna poke dish enhanced with truffle oil, there was plenty of experimentation going on.
They say that if the cargo boats stopped coming to Hawaii, the islands would run out of food in just three weeks - with nearly 10 million tourists a year to accommodate, it's easy to understand why. But with an incredible climate, scenery, action and lifestyle, I can't see its popularity easing anytime soon.
Clarke Gayford's truffle and lemongrass spicy poke
A quick and easy dish from Hawaii, traditionally made with tuna but easily exchangeable with New Zealand fresh fish such as kingfish.
• 1-2 tbsp shoyu sauce (light soy)
• Fresh chilli to taste
• Fresh cubed fillets of fish (ideally kingfish or tuna)
• Sea salt
• ¼ red onion, diced.
• ½ spring onion, diced
• Drizzle of white truffle oil
• 1 tbsp fresh lemongrass, diced
Put the shoyu sauce into a small dish and add the fresh cut chilli. Allow to soak until sauce reaches a desired heat, then remove chilli.
Dice the fish into 1cm cubes.
Lightly salt the fish.
Into a bowl add the fish, shoyu, red and spring onion and lemongrass.
Mix together with a drizzle of truffle oil, pour into a serving dish and enjoy.
Clarke Gayford hosts Fish of the Day, Sundays, 5.30pm on Three