Hawaiian Airlines Celebrates ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Month

Carrier launches charity partnership with designer Keola Rapozo, operates ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i flights

HONOLULU – Hawaiian Airlines is celebrating mahina ʻōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language month) by partnering with local designer Keola Nakaʻahiki Rapozo to launch the ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Collection, a co-branded line of clothing and accessories whose sales proceeds will benefit Ke Kula 'o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School.

The collection, created by Make®eady Owner and FITTED Co-Founder Rapozo and available for pre-sale on Hawaiian’s online logo store, features seven exclusive items ranging from T-shirts to totes and mugs. The inspiration behind the collection focuses on Ōhāhā, meaning “flourishing, fully developed, and healthy,” and was influenced by Rapozo’s own keiki (children) with a goal to mālama (care for) the younger generation and encourage the normalization of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

All proceeds from the collection will be donated to Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau to support the windward O‘ahu school’s teaching of ʻōlelo Hawai‘i traditionally and digitally through innovative concepts.


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Employees from Hawaiian’s volunteer program, Team Kōkua, will also work closely with teachers at Ke Kula 'o Samuel M. Kamakau to develop Hawaiian language lessons for the airline’s Ke Kumu class, which is currently offered virtually to employees and retirees.

“We are proud ambassadors of our island home, and our employees embrace the opportunity to share the Hawaiian culture with each other and our guests," said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community and cultural relations at Hawaiian Airlines. "We're excited to grow mahina ʻōlelo Hawai‘i this year with a new design collaboration and school partnership while continuing to engage our guests with a unique onboard experience.”

Hawaiian kicked off mahina ʻōlelo Hawai‘i celebrations yesterday with a surprise and delight ʻōlelo Hawai‘i flight, a tradition now in its third year aimed at engaging its guests, employees and community members in the normalization and perpetuation of the Hawaiian language.

Hawaiian Airlines employees took guests by surprise when they conducted gate and inflight announcements in ʻōlelo Hawai‘i and English on four flights between Honolulu and Kona. Guests also received an ʻōlelo Hawai‘i interaction card with useful phrases for requesting beverages in ʻōlelo Hawai’i from the  Hawaiian language-certified flight attendants who crewed the flights.


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“ʻO nā holo mokulele ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, he ala ia e ola ai ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi i lohe nā pepeiao o nā malihini a o nā kamaʻāina i ka ʻōlelo o ka ʻāina a ʻo ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian, nui ka poʻe lele me mākou kēlā lā, kēia lā,” wahi a Mālia Kruger, he kuene mokulele ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi hoʻi ma ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian. “A no laila ka hiki ke hoʻomau i ka mālama i kēia ʻano holo ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a ʻoi aku ka poʻe e lohe nei i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, a he lanakila kēlā.”

“Our Hawaiian language flights are a great way to normalize the Hawaiian language,” said flight attendant Mālia Kruger, who worked yesterday’s ʻōlelo Hawai‘i flights. “We have hundreds of kamaʻāina and malihini (new) guests that fly with us every day so it’s a way for us to reach a broader community and get their ears used to hearing the language of our land.”

Throughout the month, Hawaiian will feature stories of its ʻohana who are fluent in ʻōlelo Hawai‘i and incorporate the language into their daily lives both at work and at home with their families. Their stories will be shared in a video series on our social media channels. As a fun way to engage viewers, the airline launched a weekly social media sweepstakes to encourage followers to post videos of themselves using ʻōlelo Hawai‘i for a chance to win ʻōlelo Hawai‘i collection items.

About Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian® has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 16 years (2004-2019) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and TripAdvisor have placed Hawaiian among the top of all domestic airlines serving Hawai‘i.

Now in its 92nd year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai‘i's biggest and longest-serving airline. In 2019, Hawaiian offered nonstop flights between Hawai‘i and more U.S. gateway cities (13) than any other airline, along with service connecting the islands with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaiian is offering an adjusted schedule of daily flights within the Hawaiian Islands, and between Hawai‘i and the U.S. mainland as well as Japan and South Korea.

The airline is committed to the health and safety of its guests and employees and has reinforced enhanced cleaning procedures across its business. While the experience may be a little different, the authentic Hawaiian hospitality remains unchanged. Additional details on how Hawaiian is keeping guests and employees safe can be found at HawaiianAirlines.com/KeepingYouSafe.

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA). Additional information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com. Follow Hawaiian’s Twitter updates (@HawaiianAir), become a fan on Facebook  (Hawaiian Airlines), and follow us on Instagram (hawaiianairlines). For career postings and updates, follow Hawaiian’s LinkedIn page.

For media inquiries, please visit Hawaiian Airlines’ online newsroom.


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