Hawaiian Airlines Embraces ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i with New Language Certification

HONOLULU – He ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i anei ‘oe? (Are you a Hawaiian language speaker?)

Hawaiian Airlines today marked an important cultural milestone as Hawai‘i’s airline by establishing an ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language) certification program for employees. Launched in time to celebrate ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i Month, the certification, which is available at no cost to any of Hawaiian’s 7,200-plus employees, broadens the carrier’s commitment to honor and perpetuate Hawai‘i’s rich culture throughout its operations.

“Adding ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i as a recognized language was a natural move for Hawaiian since the majority of our ‘ohana was either born or raised on our islands,” said Jim Lynde, senior vice president of human resources at Hawaiian Airlines. “We believe the Hawaiian language certification will inspire and empower even more team members to share ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i with our guests.”

Flight Attendant Name Tag with Flag
Hawaiian Airlines In-Flight Name Tag with Flag

 

The airline developed the certification program in consultation with numerous Hawaiian language experts, including Dr. Larry Kimura, who is considered the grandfather of Hawaiian language revitalization, and Dr. Leilani Basham, a professor at the University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu who is renowned for perpetuating Hawaiian culture in academia.

To be eligible, employees must be existing speakers and demonstrate advanced proficiency through an oral and reading exam. Those qualified are recognized with the Hae Hawai‘i (Hawai‘i’s state flag) imprinted on their nametag, placing ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i speakers alongside colleagues at the company who are fluent in a variety of languages, including French, Japanese, Korean and Samoan.

"It has been truly inspiring and gratifying to work on this certification process with Hawaiian Airlines staff and flight attendants to make the native language of Hawaiʻi an integral part of our daily lives within our community,” said Basham. “Through programs like this, Hawaiian Airlines demonstrates true respect for Hawaiʻi’s native people and practices by truly listening to, creating space for, and empowering the voices of the people."

L to R: Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendants Kainoa McGill, Kamyl Burrows and Punahele Kealanahele-Querubin
In April 2018, Hawaiian tested ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i on four flights between Honolulu and Hilo at the start of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival. ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i flights are an extension of the airline’s commitment to honor and share our Islands’ unique culture with guests visiting Hawai‘i. L to R: Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendants Kainoa McGill, Kamyl Burrows and Punahele Kealanahele-Querubin.

 

The program was spearheaded by team members within Hawaiian’s In-Flight Services department, which currently has 13 certified speakers. As more ‘ōlelo speakers are certified, they will help Hawaiian advance the language’s use throughout its operations, workplace and during interactions with guests.

“This is an incredible moment for our ‘ohana and an opportunity for employees to share Hawai‘i’s mother tongue wide and far,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community relations at Hawaiian Airlines. “Language is a powerful tool, and we are proud to help keep the history and essence of these beautiful islands alive through ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i.”

The ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i certification joins a host of cultural initiatives at Hawaiian, such as offering complimentary, introductory Hawaiian language and hula lessons to employees, giving its aircraft Hawaiian names, and celebrating new routes and special events with Hawaiian blessings. Last week, the airline unveiled a Hawaiian Culture Resource Center at its Honolulu headquarters where employees and visitors may explore Hawai‘i’s culture, language, geography and history via Native Hawaiian books, artwork, lauhala (woven leaf) mats and baskets, and instruments being showcased through March.

Hawaiian Airlines Cultural Resource Center
The new Cultural Resource Center at Hawaiian Airlines' Honolulu-based headquarters

 

Throughout its 90 years of service as Hawai‘i's airline, Hawaiian has been dedicated to sharing authentic and immersive experiences with its guests, from its Mea Ho‘okipa (I am host) warm hospitality to its series of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i flights. Last year, Hawaiian operated seven flights where crewmembers incorporated Hawaiian language into their standard boarding and in-flight announcements: four flights between Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and Hilo International Airport, and two flights between HNL and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. In December, Hawaiian operated its first international Hawaiian language flight from Haneda International Airport (HND) in Japan to Kona International Airport (KOA) to celebrate the route’s second anniversary.

“He pō‘aiapili hou nā huaka‘i mokulele ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, kahi e ola hou aku ai ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i,” flight attendant Punahele Kealanahele Querubin said during the HND-KOA Hawaiian language flight, which translates to “‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i flights are another opportunity for our Hawaiian language to thrive.”

In October, Hawaiian Airlines earned the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Legacy Award, a prestigious accolade honoring local organizations that are revitalizing ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. Upon accepting the award at the Global Tourism Summit in Honolulu, Nakanelua-Richards said, “We believe it is through our language that aloha becomes more than a greeting; it becomes a story about our present, our past and our future.”

‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i was banned in Hawai‘i’s classrooms in 1896, three years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In the 1970’s, a group of passionate college students, including Dr. Kimura, and the last fluent Hawaiian-speaking elders came together to bring back the language. Their persistent efforts at the Hawai‘i State Legislature eventually led to the creation of the Hawaiian language revitalization movement. Since then, Hawaiian language has joined English as the state’s designated official languages, and is studied and spoken by students in schools and universities statewide as it regains its place in everyday business and life in Hawai‘i.


 

HONOLULU – He ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i anei ‘oe?

Ua hō‘oia‘i‘o ‘ia nō ke ola o ka ‘ike a keu ho‘i ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i e ko ka Hui Mokulele ‘o Hawaiian ma kona ‘imi ‘ana e ho‘ōla hou aku i ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, he ‘ōlelo kūhelu ia o ka ‘āina nei ‘o Hawai‘i. ‘Oiai ‘o ka mahina kēia e ho‘olaule‘a ai i ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, ua kūpono nō ka ho‘olaule‘a like ‘ana i ko Hawaiian hō‘ike kūhelu ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi e ho‘okū‘ike ana i nā limahana i wali ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i iā lākou. He pōmaika‘i a he kuleana nō ia.

“Ua kūpono ko kākou ho‘okū‘ike ‘ana aku i ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, he ‘ōlelo kūhelu ia ‘oiai ‘o ka hapa nui o nā limahana ma Hawaiian, he kupa a i ‘ole paha he kama‘āina lākou o ka ‘āina nei,” wahi a Jim Lynd, ka Hope Pelekikena o HR ma Hawaiian. “Nui ko mākou mana‘olana e hāpai a paipai hou aku i ke ola o ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i i waena o ko mākou ‘ohana, nā limahana a me nā ‘ōhua ho‘i.”

Ua ho‘okahua ‘ia kēia hō‘ike kūhelu nei me ke kōkua a kāko‘o mai nā loea ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi e laʻa hoʻi me Larry Kimura a me Leilani Basham, he polopeka ho‘i ma ke Kulanui o Hawai‘i ma Mānoa e ‘imi ana i ka ho‘ōla hou ‘ana aku i ka ‘ike a mo‘omeheu Hawai‘i ma ke ao ho‘onaʻauao.

He hō‘ike waha a heluhelu kēia no ka po‘e i wali ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i iā lākou. Aia nō a puka kekahi ma ia hō‘ike aku, e pine ʻia ka hae Hawai‘i ma kāna pine inoa e like ho‘i me nā limahana i wali ma ka ‘ōlelo Palani, Kepanī, Kōlea a Kāmoa.

“Nui ko‘u pōmaika‘i i ka hiki ke hana pū me nā lālā o ka Hui Mokulele ‘o Hawaiian a ‘ike i ka manana hou ‘ana aku o ko kākou ‘ōlelo makuahine ma ke kaiaulu ma o kēia polokalamu nei,” wahi a Basham. “He hō‘ike kēia i ko Hawaiian kuleana i ko Hawai‘i ma o ka ‘imi ‘ana i nā ala e ‘ike ‘ia ai kona mo‘omeheu a e lohe ‘ia ai kona po‘e.”

Ua ho‘omaka ‘ia kēia polokalamu e nā limahana o ke ke‘ena kau mokulele ma Hawaiian. A i kēia, he ‘umikūmākolu o lākou i puka mai ka polokalamu aku. A ma ka piʻi ʻana aʻe o nā heluna kānaka e komo a puka ana ma kēia polokalamu e ʻike ʻia ai ke ola o ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma kekahi pōʻaiapili hou aku o ka nohona.

“He lanakila kēia no ko mākou ‘ohana a no ko kākou ‘ōlelo makuahine,” wahi a Debbie Nākānelua-Richards, ke Po‘o o Ke Ke‘ena Pilina Kanaka ma Hawaiian. “He mana ko ka ‘ōlelo a he kuleana ko mākou ma ka ho‘omana hou ‘ana aku i ko kākou ‘āina ma o ka ‘ōlelo.”

He ho‘okahi wale nō la‘ana kēia o nā polokalamu like ʻole ma Hawaiian e ‘imi ana i ka ho‘ōla hou ‘ana aku i ka ‘ike a ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. ‘O nā papa hula a ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, ‘o nā inoa mokulele, a ‘o nā ho‘olaule‘a a ‘aha ho‘ola‘a kekahi o nā hana ‘ē a‘e e hana ‘ia nei. I ka pule nei i hāmama ai nā ʻīpuka e komo ai ka poʻe no loko a no waho o ke kikowaena o Hawaiian ma Honolulu i kahi lumi e aʻo i ka moʻomeheu, mōʻaukala, ka ʻāina a me ka ʻōlelo o Hawaiʻi ma o nā puke a noʻeau Hawaiʻi a i ka malama ʻo Malaki.

Ma ka holo ‘ana o nā makahiki he kanaiwa o ko Hawaiian lele a kū ‘elele ‘ana no Hawai‘i, ua kūpa‘a ko Hawaiian ma ke ‘ano nohona Hawai‘i ma o ka ho‘okipa kūpono ‘ana aku i nā kama‘āina a malihini e kau pū ana ma ka mokulele, keu ho‘i ma nā huaka‘i ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. I ka makahiki aku nei, ua mālama ‘ia he ‘ehiku huaka‘i ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i e ka Hui Mokulele ‘o Hawaiian, kahi i mālama ‘ia ai nā ho‘olaha kau mokulele a pau ma ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. Ma o nā huaka‘i ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i he ‘ehiku, ua mālama ‘ia he ‘ehā  ma waena o nā Kahua Mokulele Kau‘āina ‘o Daniel K. Inouye me Hilo, a ‘elua ma waena o nā Kahua Mokulele Kau‘āina ‘o Daniel K. Inouye me McCarran i Las Vegas (kahi i ho‘ohanohano ‘ia ai ‘o Kauka Larry Kimura no kāna hana alakaʻi aukahi ho‘ōla ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i). A laila ma Kekemapa, ua mālama ‘ia ka huaka‘i ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i kau‘āina mua loa mai ke Kahua Mokulele kau‘āina ‘o Haneda ma Iāpana a hiki loa aku i ke Kahua Mokulele kau‘āina ‘o Kona i mea e ho‘olaule‘a ai i ka pihana makahiki ‘elua o ua ala hele nei.

“He pō‘aiapili hou nā huaka‘i mokulele ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, kahi e ola hou aku ai ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i,” wahi a Punahele Kealanahele Querubin, he kuene mokulele ma ia huaka‘i ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i ho‘okahi nei.

Ua lei ‘o Hawaiian i ka lei o ka lanakila ma ka Global Tourism Summit ma ‘Okakopa kekahi ‘oiai ua ho‘ohanohano like ‘ia me kekahi mau ‘oihana ‘ē a‘e e ko ke Ke‘ena Ho‘okipa Malihini no ka  manana hou ‘ana aku i ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i i waena o ka lehulehu ma ka wahi hana, he mau ‘elele o ke aukahi ho‘ōla ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. “Ma o ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i kākou e ka‘analike aku ai i ka mo‘olelo a mō‘aukala ho‘i o Hawai‘i me ke aloha,” wahi a Nākānelua-Richards iā ia i ho‘ohanohano ‘ia ma ua ‘aha nei ʻo ka Global Tourism Summit.

Ua hoʻokāhuli ʻia ke Aupuni Mōʻī o Hawaiʻi i ka makahiki 1893 a hoʻopāpā loa ʻia ka ʻōlelo ma nā kula he ‘ekolu makahiki ma hope mai. Ma nā kanahiku i hoʻomaka ai e hoʻola hou ʻia ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, ka wā i wela hoʻi ai ka hao i waena o nā mānaleo hope a me nā haumāna kula nui e ʻiʻini ana e hoʻololi i ke kahua, e laʻa hoʻi me ʻanakala Larry Kimura. ʻO ka hua i puka mai loko aku o kēia paio ʻana ma ka ‘aha‘ōlelo, ʻo ia hoʻi ka hoʻokumu ʻia ʻo ke aukahi ho‘ōla ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. I kēia lā, ua ola ko kākou ʻōlelo i ke aukahi hoʻōla ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma nā polokalamu hoʻonui ʻike no nā pēpē a i nā haumāna ma ke kulanui e ʻimi ana i ke kekelē kauka, a ke manana hou aku nei nō ma nā ʻoihana a i waena o ka lehulehu ākea kekahi.  

 

About Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian® has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 14 years (2004-2017) 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 90th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai‘i’s biggest and longest-serving airline. Hawaiian offers non-stop service to Hawai‘i from more U.S. gateway cities (12) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 160 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, with a total of more than 250 daily flights system-wide.

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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