As Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language Month) comes to a close, our ‘ohana's celebrations are far from over – and they are extending beyond our aircraft and workplace. On Saturday, members of Team Kōkua, our employee volunteer group, helped mālama the ʻāina (care for the land) at Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School.
I ka moe ʻana aku o ko kākou Mahina ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, ʻaʻole naʻe e pau ko kākou hoʻolauleʻa ʻana i ka nani o ka ʻōlelo – a ke puka aku nei ma waho o nā palena o ko mākou kahua hana a me nā mokulele kekahi. Ma ka Pōʻaono i hala, ua huli nā lima o Team Kōkua, ko mākou hui hana kaiāulu, i lalo e mālama ʻāina ai i Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School.
“The language of our elders flourishes through engaging with one another, through breaking bread together and through eating traditional foods that bring energy to the body and spirit. Mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines for giving us occasion to rejuvenate the land. We say this with great aloha, joyful spirits, and thanks," said Kamehaʻililani Waiau, principal of Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School.
“E ola a ōhāhā mai ka ʻōlelo kūpuna ma o ka launa, ka pū paʻakai, ka hoʻāʻo ma nā ʻano a pau a me ka ʻai kuʻuna e hōʻikehu ai ke kino a me ka naʻau. Mahalo e ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian ka hoʻoulu ʻana i ko mākou ʻiʻini e hoʻi hou i ka māla e kahukahu ai i ka honua kula e ola, e ulu, e wehi. Me ke aloha Kamakau a me ka naʻau piha hauʻoli mākou e hāpai ai ko mākou leo mahalo.” - Kamehaʻililani Waiau, Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School.
The 10-acre campus is nestled at the base of the humbling Koʻolau Mountain Range on Oʻahu’s Windward (eastern) side. There, hundreds of local young minds are molded through Hawaiian language and culture curricula. The immersion school is celebrated for weaving traditional and contemporary teaching to instill in children a strong cultural identity and sense of place. Students have become stewards of the language, in a sense, learning from innovative digital resources created by the school’s faculty and partners for language learning, including manomano, an online Hawaiian dictionary, and Lehulehu, a ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi puzzle app modeled after the popular game Words with Friends.
Aia ke noho hanohano maila ua kula nei i mua o ke alo o ʻIolekaʻa a me Keahiakahoe i Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu ma luna o ka ʻāina he 10 mau ʻeka. Aia ma laila he haneli a ʻoi mau haumāna e aʻo nei ma o ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi i nā mea Hawaiʻi. ʻO ka waiwai o ia ʻōnaehana aʻo, ʻo ia hoʻi ka wili pū ʻia ʻana o nā mea o ke au nei a me ko ke au i hala i paʻa mai ai ke kahua o nā haumāna. A i mea hoʻi e hoʻokuluma ʻia ai ka ʻōlelo, ua haku ko ke kula i mau ʻenehana hou no ka poʻe haumāna a me ke kaiāulu, e laʻa me manomano, he puke wehewehe pūnaewele, a me Lehulehu, he pāʻani i ʻano like me ka pāʻani ʻo Words with Friends.
"Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau rises above the call of duty to its students, and views it as their kuleana (responsibility) to serve the community through innovation both in and out of the classroom,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community and cultural relations at Hawaiian Airlines. “From creating digital Hawaiian language resources to publishing books for their students, the school’s work for ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi is only the surface of what they do. They continue to teach how others can apply native Hawaiian thinking and a sense of place for those who call Hawaiʻi home."
“Kūlia ko Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau i ka nuʻu no ka pono o ko lākou poʻe haumāna, a i ka manawa hoʻokahi lākou e mālama aku nei i ko lākou kuleana i ke kaiāulu ma o ka noke mau i ka haku mea hou ʻana i loko, a i waho hoʻi o ka lumi papa,” wahi a Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, kuhina o ke keʻena kaiāulu a me ke kuʻuna ma ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian. “Mai ka haku ʻana i mau ʻenehana ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, a hiki i ka pāniki ʻana aku i nā puke no ka poʻe haumāna, ʻo ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi kekahi hakina wale nō o kā lākou hana e lawelawe nei. Oi noke mau lākou i ke aʻo aku i nā kānaka like ʻole e pili ana i ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi a me ke aloha ʻāina no ko kākou home.”
Twelve Hawaiian Airlines volunteers, including two fluent ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi speakers, pulled weeds from the school’s gardens and helped plant native trees and medicinal shrubs, such as naʻu (gardenia), aʻaliʻi and ti. Throughout the day, they were also encouraged to use basic ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi phrases, like “Naʻu e hana (I will do it)" and “He aha kēia/kēla (What is this/that?)", taught in our Ke Kumu: Papa ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (The Source: Hawaiian Language Class), a free, virtual learning opportunity offered to all employees and retirees.
Ua komo he 12 mau mea hana kaiāulu (aia hoʻi 2 mau kānaka i wali ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi iā lāua) mai loko mai o ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian i ka waele nāhelehele i nā māla o ke kula, a me ke kanu ʻana i nā lāʻau lapaʻau. ʻO ka nāʻū, ʻo ka ʻaʻaliʻi, me ka lāʻī kekahi o nā mea kanu i kanu ʻia ma laila. No ka lā holoʻokoʻa, paipai ʻia nā limahana e hoʻohana i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi e laʻa me “Naʻu e hana” a me, “He aha kēlā?” e like ma ka mea i aʻo ʻia ma Ke Kumu: Papa ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, he papa ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi pūnaewele hoʻi i hoʻolako ʻia no nā limahana a me nā mea līkaia o ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian.
"It was a dream come true to see Team Kōkua and Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau’s ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi warriors working so closely together,” said Mathew “Manakō” Tanaka, senior specialist of cultural and community relations, who attended the volunteer event and taught the recent Ke Kumu class. “To be in the presence of those who have dedicated their lives to the preservation of the language was humbling, and to see my friends participating in the cause while clearing overgrowth made me even more proud to be a part of Hawaiian Airlines.”
“Me he kō ʻana ia o ka moemoeā i ka ʻike ʻana i ko Team Kōkua me ko Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau mau koa ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi e pūpūkahi ana i ka holomua,” wahi a Mathew “Manakō” Tanaka, laekahi keʻena kaiāulu a kuʻuna, he mea hana kaiāulu hoʻi nāna i aʻo i nā papa Ke Kumu. “Haʻahaʻa i ka nohona i ke alo o nā kānaka na lākou e kiaʻi nei i ko kākou ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, a i ke ʻike ʻana i nā hoa hana e komo piha ʻana i ka hana, hū aʻela ka haʻaheo no kaʻu ʻoihana ma ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian.”
"I’m not a native ʻōlelo Hawai’i speaker, so it was very humbling and such an enriching experience for me to be so immersed in it,” said Jamie Pirkl, systems lead for revenue management systems and Team Kōkua volunteer. “This volunteer event has inspired me to take my learnings of ʻōlelo hawai’i further, and helped give me the courage to just ‘a’a i ka ‘ōlelo! (try speaking!) It is our responsibility as kama’āina (residents) that we at least try to learn the language and culture of where we live.”
“ʻAʻole au i mākaukau loa ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, no laila ua haʻahaʻa a kūpaianaha hoʻi au i ke komo piha ʻana i ka ʻōlelo,” wahi a Jamie Pirkl, he alakaʻi mālama kālā loaʻa a mea hana kaiāulu no Team Kōkua. “Ua komo ihola ka ʻiʻini i loko oʻu e hoʻonui aʻe i ke aʻo ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ʻana ma muli o kēia hana kaiāulu ʻana, a mākaukau ihola i ka ʻaʻa wale ʻana i ka ʻōlelo! ʻO ko kākou kamaʻāina kuleana ia ʻo ka huli i ka ʻōlelo a me nā loina o ko kākou ʻāina e noho nei.”