Hawaiian Words Reflect Our Values

This entry to our Planning Department Blog is 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.

joaquin gamiao administrative assistantIn my attempt to share our cultural values, I will be sending out Hawaiian words on a monthly basis to share or remind us of these values that we all have. Please add, comment or share if you like.

Word for April 2011:
Laulima (lah-oo-lee-mah).
In old Hawai‘i, people would take a long cord or rope and tie ti leaves to it. Then the entire group (many hands) would hold it and form a line in the ocean, holding this rope with the leaves in the water would ‘herd’ the fish towards the shore. The group would slowly form a circle, to trap the fish. If one person was out of sync, the fish could escape through that gap in the line. Success or failure cause by one person would mean success or failure for the entire group. It was important for people to help each other be successful.

Regardless of what your job entails, you all are a vital part of our collective success…so, thank you for coming to work and doing the great job that you all do. Laulima – many hands working together for everyone’s success.

Word for May 2011:
Ho‘ohanohano (Hoh-oh-ha-noh-ha-noh) To conduct oneself with distinction, glorious, magnificent, noble, honored, stately, dignified, grand, distinguished, honorable, honorary, pomp, glory, prestige.

This Hawaiian value, to conduct yourself with honor and dignity, to be honest and forthright and to carry yourself with distinction was taught to us growing up with my kukuwahine. I can still hear her telling us whenever we were visiting relatives, “Noho mali‘e, ame ho‘ohanohano” (sit nicely and behave). Of course, a look that meant she would take appropriate action if we didn’t accompanied the instructions – aka ‘dirty lickins’.

This value works for us today. By conducting yourself with dignity, treating co-workers and the public with honor can only make for a better work environment. It creates harmony in the work area and naturally results in good customer service. Occasionally, people will come into our work area and behave less than honorably. We respond by maintaining our dignity and showing them how to ho‘ohanohano.

In the traditional mele “Hanohano E” –
Hanohano e a` o Hilo e, I ka ua e kani lehua e (Majestic is Hilo, With the rain that brings lehua)
Hanohano e o Kona e, I ke kai e ma`oki`oki e (Majestic is Kona, With the streaked sea)

Ho‘ohanohano – Conduct yourself with distinction, treat others with honor and dignity….or get lickins!

Word for June 2011:
Ho‘o ma‘ema‘e – (ho-o-mah-eh-mah-eh) To clean, cleanse, purge, disinfect, purify. “Ma‘ema‘e wale no ‘o Hawai‘i” (perfect or flawless is the beauty of Hawai‘i).

Ma‘e ma‘e takes on many meanings in the Hawaiian language. It could mean maintaining spiritual cleanliness, clean house, clean body and mind, pure spirit. It is these various kinds of cleanliness that we all need to maintain in our dealings with people; co-workers and the general public alike. Approaching people with a clean intent of helping or assisting makes for mutual treating of each other with respect and dignity. Maintaining personal cleanliness, prevents yourself and others from getting sick. Ho‘o ma‘e ma‘e helps us all to continually strive for better interaction with others. Ho‘o ma‘e – perfect!

Aloha Kakahiaka e ‘Ohana,
I’m sending this out early because of an incident that happened in Hilo yesterday.

July’s word is “Malama” (mah-lah-mah) To take care of, tend, attend, care for, preserve, protect, beware, save, maintain. Malama is often heard in reference to taking care of Hawaii’s natural resources- Malama ka ‘āina. The word also means to honor and protect Malama i kou hale, care for, protect your home; Ho‘o.ma.lama, respect each other’s lives; Malama i kou makua kane, honor your father.

Yesterday, in broad day light, in the employees’ parking lot fronting Aupuni Center, someone drove up to an employee’s vehicle and stole the two front tires off of the employee’s truck. People saw this happening and either thought it was the employee’s husband changing the tires or just didn’t want to get involved. We must all be vigilant and watch out for each other, in the office, in our building, in our community, on our island and in our lives. Malama i ka hale makou – care for, protect our ‘house’ and each other.

6 responses to “Hawaiian Words Reflect Our Values

  1. Alexander Kalauokalani Pe'a

    Ho’o Ma’e Ma’e was also a political party in the Hawaiian Kingdom called the Reform Party. Which shows you how pure our government was, when it named it’s political parties after purity.

  2. Aloha thanks for the help on my homework you are the bomb diggity

  3. Pingback: Ma‘ema‘e Hale (Clean House) | New Hope Town

  4. Pingback: Ma‘ema‘e Hale (Clean House) | New Hope Town

  5. Me ‘oukou ka welina,
    Nice to hear from you and glad you’re using our website. Sharing our language and mana’o can only help to perpetuate our culture. I will check out the Kalani application drafts and also will get in touch with Ken for Merry Monarch. Stay well.


  6. Aloha Joaquin,

    mahalo for the language lessons, Maika’i loa.

    All your fellow PMC members with be singing Hawai’i Pono i at the Wednesday night opening of Merrie Monarch. JOIN US! It’s cool to do just whatever you can fit in your schedule. Confrim with Ken (conductor@punamenschorus.org). Also check out Kalani’s SUP and SMA application drafts, viewable on the web above. Your feedback is always welcome. A hui hou, malama pono,

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