Culture-wise you'll see families/communities of everything from local fishing/hunting families, to ranchers, to independent businessmen, to retirees. From artists, to old hippies, to society dropouts, to young back-to-earthers. Basically what you won't see are the urban types, the wealthy, the techies, the over achiever types. Ka'u is far too rural for those to be living here.
Ka'u has a reputation of being peopled by a population that is a tad crazy and a tad independent. People here seem to be proud of that. Even one of the county's past mayors publicly noted that the crazies run south! Yup, that's us. And we're generally tolerant of the crazies as long as they aren't violent or criminals.
Society dropouts and misfits are attracted to Ka'u for some reason. They drift through, discover that they're not the craziest people around, and that they are accepted at face value. They often find a place to settle down here.
We have all types of oddballs here. I like to think of them as local color, of life's characters. I've always been drawn to people who are a bit strange and interesting. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I liked Ka'u when we were looking for the right place to settle ourselves.
Artists are also attracted to Ka'u, so you see quite a few here. They work with all sorts of art....fabrics, gourds, glass blowing, painting, woodcrafting, rock carving, ceramics, music, dance, more. I find artists to be fascinating. They surely see the world differently than I do. I have a tiny spot in my soul that would have grown into an artist if it had not been stifled as a child. So looking at the artists makes me feel that I'm some way looking at my alternate life's path.
John, above, is another gem. Retired from the Smithsonian Institute (yes, the Washington DC one!), he has set up his home like a mini museum. Far better than the real Smithsonian because you get to touch and handle the collection, plus get the story behind each piece. But museum aside, John himself is the real treasure.
One other thing of interest about Ka'u people. While at first impression we don't look like an educated bunch, the truth would surprise you. Yes, the local level of public school education is pathetic but many young people go elsewhere for higher education. Plus many transplants held educated job positions before relocating here. So that rancher on a horse pulling cattle down off the mountain has a PHD in literature. For real! The old hippy living way back in the hui once was a highly respected tenured professor. The coffee farmer selling at the town market might very well have a masters or be doctor that left the rat race. I'm was amazed to learn of the number of folks with phd's, masters, bachelors, or their equivalents in experience. And the number of doctors who now raise sheep, grow coffee, have fruit orchards, or fish for a living.
There are plenty of Ka'u people that could be mentioned here, but this blog isn't suppose to be a tome listing all the interesting people. Ka'u is full of them.