Hawaiian Words Reflect Our Values (Part 2)

These entries to our Planning Department Blog are offered by Joaquin Gamiao, our Administrative Assistant known for his cheerful wit and efficient supervision. Here he shares his passion for things Hawaiian from his up-bringing here on the Big Island. [Be sure to visit Part 1]

In my joaquin gamiao administrative assistantcontinuing attempt to share our cultural values, here is a compilation of the latest few months of Hawaiian words that remind us of these values that we all should embody. Please add, comment, or share if you like.

Word for August, 2011
‘Olu‘olu:  (ooh-loo-ooh-loo): pleasant, nice, amiable, satisfied, contented, happy, affable, agreeable, congenial, cordial, gracious, please.

Hawai‘i is known the world over as the land of Aloha, a place where people are welcoming and pleasant.  In truth, the spirit of Aloha comes from a warm smile and treating others with genuine care.  It means treating everyone that you come into contact with the same way you would like to be treated.  Start your day with a random act of ‘olu‘olu and you’ll be surprised how it makes your whole day!  E hō‘olu‘olu mai i kō ʻoukou mau pu‘uwai a me na po‘e o Hawai‘i.  Be pleasant and bring comfort to your heart and others.  ‘Olu‘olu!

Word for September, 2011
‘Ohana (oh-hah-nah):  ‘Ohana is defined as a group of both closely and distantly related people (literally family), who share nearly everything, from land and food to children and status. Sharing is central to this value since it prevents individual decline.

Native Hawaiians define themselves by their relationships to each other, their ancestors and their land.  These bonds of interconnectedness are nurtured and honored.  In Hawaiian society, one is expected to know and understand what it means to be a contributing member of the family/team/workplace/community. Everyone has a responsibility to use their talents to the benefit of the entire ‘ohana or family.  By fulfilling our duties to the ohana and recognizing the accomplishments of others, we increase our mana or spirituality and the success of the group.  The entire Planning Department having members that all contribute to our collective success qualifies as a true ‘Ohana.  Just like all families, there will be misunderstandings and sometimes disagreements.  But we work through it, forgive and help each other in keeping the entire unit healthy and strong.  This healing process is call Ho‘o pono pono…but that’s for another installment of ‘Olelo.  Have a super month – Hu‘i aloha e ‘ohana!

Word for October, 2011
Akahai (ah-kah-hai): Gentle, modest, unassuming, unpretentious, unobtrusive.

A gentleness permeates Hawaiian culture; our language, our music, our dance (auwana) and the general demeanor of Hawai‘i’s people.  This value works in our everyday dealings with people in your personal life, co-workers and customers.  Many pidgin phrases such as “hang loose,” “take it easy,” “bum by pau,” and “no sweat,” among others, lends itself to this gentle attitude of the Hawaiian lifestyle(s).  Being gentle is something that most people think that they don’t have the time to do. It’s easier to just barrel through life without thinking too hard about anything, often unknowingly treating others abrasively.  Be gentle with yourself and it will manifest itself in your dealings with others, at home and at work.  Pōmaika‘i ka po‘e akahai no Hawai‘i – Blessed are the gentle people of Hawai‘i.

Word for November,2011
Mahalo pronounced: mah-hah-low.  (No diacritical marks, with emphasis placed on the second syllable).  Thanks, gratitude; to thank.  Mahalo nui loa, thanks [you] very much.

In Hawaiian history, beginning in late October or early November when the Pleiades constellation was first observed rising above the horizon at sunset, the Makahiki period began and continued for four months.  During this season, Hawaiians gave ritualized thanks for the abundance of the earth and called upon the gods to provide rain and prosperity in the future.  This was the time to celebrate harvest and the return of Lono, the Hawaiian god associated with fruitfulness and fertility of the earth.  Makahiki rituals included pageantry, sports, feasting, dancing, providing gifts to the Ali‘i, making offerings to the gods and having a good time.  Many religious ceremonies happened during this period; it might be thought of as the equivalent of our modern Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year traditions.  Primarily, it’s a time to reflect on what you were blessed with, give thanks and hope for future prosperity.

As we head into the Holiday (Makahiki) season, it’s appropriate that we start it with Thanksgiving; a chance to reflect and be thankful for our livelihood, our families, our homes, our friends and co-workers.  To the Planning ‘Ohana, for your support, hard work and being who you are, Mahalo nui loa!

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