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  • Writer's pictureNani

Our Kuleana to ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Updated: Apr 18

At Kauaʻi Dev, we believe it is the kuleana (responsibility) of all Hawaiʻi establishments to honor the moʻolelo (history, naratives, stories) and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) to effectively kōkua (support) our community and nā mea a puni (everything which surrounds us). The incorporation of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi in business practices is not just about hoʻōla hou (reviving) a language but to hoʻihoʻi i ka mana i lawe ʻia (empower) the kānaka (people) and heritage that it carries.

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi is the primary conduit for passing down traditional knowledge, wisdom, and cultural values across generations. While we deeply value and promote the use of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, we do not claim to be Alakaʻi (leaders) in the field of language revitalization. Our founders, not native speakers, are committed students of the language, with a clear understanding of the importance of restoring ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi as the dominant language in Hawaiʻi. Our commitment manifests in the gradual integration of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi into our company’s internal and external communications, our piko (core values) rooted in ʻōlelo noʻeau (proverbial sayings), and a continuous effort to kōkua (support) native speakers. We are honored to collaborate with organizations led by fluent speakers, allowing nā hana (the work) we undertake to be genuinely guided by ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. This partnership approach allows us to contribute responsibly and effectively to the linguistic and cultural renaissance of Hawaiʻi, honoring our role as part of a larger community effort.


We feel it important to emphasize that there are seldom direct translations between ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and English. While we provide English approximations next to ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi terms on our site to aid comprehension, these are not exact translations. ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi encompasses a unique way of understanding and worldview that is distinct and deeply rooted in the Hawaiian cultural context.


the Hawaiian language was the medium through which all official and educational exchanges were conducted in the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The arrival of literacy, as highlighted in historical accounts, was embraced enthusiastically by the Native Hawaiians, demonstrating the adaptive and innovative spirit of the kūpuna (ancestors). This enthusiasm was a testament to their foresight in recognizing the value of integrating new technologies and practices, including written communication, into their societal norms.

The suppression of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi following the overthrow is more than a historical misstep; it represents a deliberate act of cultural disconnection with enduring impacts on Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiians) today. This painful chapter serves as a stark reminder of the resilience and perseverance required to reclaim and sustain a vital component of Native Hawaiian identity. Through educational initiatives and the intentional integration of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi into our daily business practices, we can not just honor what was lost, but actively give back the mana (power and authority) rightfully belonging to Kānaka ʻŌiwi. Reinstating the language is a fundamental step in rectifying past wrongs, as history clearly documents the colonial strategies and assimilation policies designed to strip indigenous peoples of their language and culture. This isn't just about enriching culture; it's about ensuring the survival and vitality of the Kānaka ʻŌiwi into the future.

If you are a fluent or native speaker of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi,

we are deeply grateful for any manaʻo (knowledge, wisdom) you are willing to share regarding our use of the language throughout this website. At Kauaʻi Dev, we embrace learning from our failures and value every insight that can steer us toward more accurate and respectful use of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. Your suggestions and ideas are not just welcomed; they are essential for our growth and understanding.

If you are new to ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi,

and especially if you are a Makaʻāinana (ahupuaʻa resident) of Hawaiʻi, we strongly encourage you to delve into the moʻolelo (stories, history) concerning the very recent loss of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. Understanding this context is crucial as you begin your learning journey. We recommend exploring resources that illuminate how and why the language was marginalized, and the ongoing efforts to revive it.

If you are a fellow learner of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi,

here are some words of advice that have helped us so far:

Never assume you fully understand a new word in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. Its use in each moʻolelo you encounter will likely reveal deeper layers of its meaning/purpose. The goal is not merely to "understand" but to grow pilina (relationship) with the language.

If you own/manage an establishment in Hawaiʻi

The use of the Hawaiian language in our establishments serves as a powerful affirmation of identity and a commitment to honoring the depth of Hawaiʻi's history and its people. We recommend partnering with or seeking guidance from Kumu ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and/or Cultural practitioners, prioritizing those from the same Ahupuaʻa as your establishment or at least from the same island.

Additionally, engage with resources and programs like those provided by ʻAha Pūnana Leo and Kaneokana to build a better foundational understanding of the language and collective revitalization strategies.

Through our endeavor to build pilina (relationship) with the spirit of aloha nā mea a puni (love for everything that surrounds us) and malama nā mea a puni (care for everything that surrounds us), we want to honor and celebrate all who participate in this enduring legacy of resistance.

Your commitment to reviving ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi is enriching our community engagements and contributing to a sustainable cultural legacy that honors and elevates every resident and visitor of our islands.

Mahalo nui loa

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