I have System Preferences|Keyboard enabled for smart quotes. Unfortunately, this tends to turn Hawai‘i into Hawai’i even when I use Option–]. Any suggestion how to get one word the way I want? (Not interested in global disable of smart quotes.)
The most correct character for the Hawaiian ʻokina is U+02BB, Modifier Letter Turned Comma. It is a letter in its own right rather than punctuation.
Using that would hopefully avoid problems that can arise when a punctuation symbol like U+2018 Left Single Quotation Mark is used instead.
It's a little clunky, but you could add a correction from "Hawai‘i" to "Hawai’i" in System Preferences > Keyboard > Text