Joanne is a professional photographer and owner of Island Style Images, www.IslandStyleImages.com.
How long have you lived in Haleiwa on the North Shore?
We’ve lived here for nine years. Before WE moved here, WE (my 11-year-old daughter and I) lived in Los Angeles.
What part of the island of Oahu is Haleiwa on?
We’re on the North Shore, about 45 miles north of the city, but We’re still in Honolulu County. The whole island of Oahu is in the county of Honolulu.
Is your home a house of condominium?
WE live in a duplex.
What’s Haleiwa like as a community?
The North Shore is kind of a Mecca for surfers during the winter. Every winter the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is held here. That’s because the waves here are huge, probably the biggest in the world. This draws not only surfers but also spectators. So there’s a lot of what you might call tourist activity surrounding the surfing here, and then there’s the so-called off season when things around here are much more small town and quiet. But one thing always stays the same. This place is beautiful, great for people who appreciate the outdoors, the beach and rural living. It’s a great place to raise children if you want them to appreciate nature and getting to know everybody in the town.
Did you have your heart set on living on the North Shore? Why did you choose it?
Coming from Los Angeles, I really did have my heart set on the North Shore. It was everything that I wanted for myself and for my little girl.
Is Haleiwa more of an urban or suburban community?
It’s really neither. The North Shore is really out in the country, but it’s not the country as mainlanders define it. That’s because WE live on an island and everything is close by, really.
Do you have concerns about crime in Haleiwa?
Not here in Haleiwa; It’s a safe place to live. Everybody knows everybody else pretty much.
Have you found it easy to find childcare in Haleiwa? And what about the quality of the schools?
When my girl was younger, it was easy to find childcare, but now that she’s older, it’s really not a concern. The school has an afterschool program, but she’s not in it. I work at home and she has so many activities going on — like surfing, skateboarding and outrigger canoeing – that she really doesn’t need to be in an afterschool program. As far as the schools go, I think they’re amazingly good — as good as any private school. My degree is actually in elementary education. I’ve taught in schools, and our little elementary school is fabulous!
Did you find it easy to meet people when you moved to Haleiwa?
Very. This is a very friendly community.
Since you work at home, you don’t commute, but what would you tell people considering living on the North Shore about commuting to Honolulu city?
Well, most people here don’t like to commute to town — that’s what WE call the city. It’s only about 45 miles to town, but by island standards, that’s a long way. There’s good roads all the way there — 99 and then the H2 Interstate — but once you get close to Honolulu, the traffic gets pretty bad.
How has the real estate market changed since you moved to Haleiwa nine years ago?
Lots. It’s seems to be out-of-control expensive, to me at least. Little two bedroom shacks are going for maybe a million. Of course, most of those are teardowns, where people knock down the house and build big beautiful houses.
Do you like the quality of life on the North Shore?
I love it! I moved here specifically for the quality of life, and I’ll probably never leave here. As I said, the place has all the good things that California doesn’t have and none of the bad things that California is famous for — smog, congestion, crime.
What surprised you most about moving to Hawaii and the North Shore specifically?
What surprised me? Probably how easy it was to fit into the community. People are so friendly here. That really did surprise me.
What would you say is the one can’t-miss event or activity that a family living in Hawaii or the North Shore should look forward to?
I don’t know, the whole thing I guess. But if I had to say, it would be understanding the lifestyle and the culture. You need to be sure that you like it, because it’s definitely different. It’s outdoors. It’s surfing. Everything around here is based on the ocean. My place is only about 100 yards from the beach. In fact, I just came back from there.
You’ve probably already answered this, but how would you compare living in California to living on the North Shore?
Well, California was way too crowded. It wasn’t a good place to raise my child. I moved here specifically because of that. It was so that she could be raised to respect nature and the ocean and being part of it rather being in a city with congestion and smog. WE have no smog here; the air is clean.
Do you find it expensive to live on the North Shore?
Yes, very. Everything is expensive. A gallon of milk is seven dollars; a loaf of bread is six or seven dollars. It’s culture shock when you move here. Now WE have reverse culture shock when WE go to the mainland. When WE go to the store there, WE want to buy ten of everything because it’s so cheap! Of course, the reason it’s so expensive here is because everything has to be shipped in.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Haleiwa?
I like two here on the North Shore. One is Haleiwa Joe’s, and the other is Lei Lei’s Bar and Grill. There both good places to eat.
Is there anything you don’t like about living on the North Shore or in Hawaii in general?
I would have to say the number of people addicted to crack cocaine. WE don’t have that problem right here, but everywhere around the island, I guess everybody has some worries about drug crime. There are pockets in every part of the island where this is a problem. And, of course, people who are addicted are going to commit crimes to support their habit.
What advice would you give to people who are house hunting on the North Shore or on the island generally?
Well, it does take a good amount of money to buy here. The other thing is they need to be prepared for the difference in lifestyle. It’s completely different. I know a lot of people who come from the mainland and left after a couple of years because they find out they don’t like the lifestyle here.
Can you think of a specific anecdote that encapsulates your experience living on the North Shore?
Well, only that when I came to the North Shore, I found home. I have a really deep connection with this area and the people — the land and the ocean. I just love it here. There are people who don’t because it’s a different lifestyle.
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