Don Ho was Hawaiian, but his Ukulele was of Portuguese origin. The Hawaiian Ukulele began as an immigrant from Portugal. In 1877 Portuguese contract laborers began immigrating from the Azores and Madeira to Hawaii. By 1884 almost 10,000 Portuguese had come to the Hawaiian Islands and by 1910 that number had grown to almost 15,000. Many worked in the cattle industry.
With them came Instruments , like the cavaquinho. The cavaquinho was a small string instrument with four wire or gut strings. It has many names, and is also called machimbo, machim, machete (in the Portuguese Atlantic islands), manchete or marchete, braguinha or braguinho, or cavaco and soon became the ukulele in Hawaii. The little string instrument was soon embraced and became part of the local culture, along with sweet bread and malassadas.
The introduction of the ukulele is credited to Madeira wood workers Manuel Nunes, Augusto Dias and José do Espírito Santo, who came to the Islands in 1879. The Hawaiian Gazette in August 1879 reported "Madeira Islanders recently arrived here have been delighting the people with nightly street concerts…their strange instruments, which are a kind of cross between a guitar and banjo."