'Ōlelo No'eau, Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings

This extraordinary collection of Hawaiian sayings--collected, translated, and annotated by Mary Kawena Pukui--offers a unique opportunity to savor the wisdom, poetic beauty, and earthy humor of these finely crafted expressions. 

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Ho‘okahi leo ua lawa.
One voice is enough.
[One reminder is all that is necessary.]

Ma ka hana ka ‘ike.
In working one learns.

E aloha kekahi i kekahi
Love one another.

‘Ike aku, ‘ike mai. Kōkua aku, kōkua mai. Pēlā ka nohona ‘ohana.
Watch, observe. Help others and accept help. That is the family way.

‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia.
No task is too big when done together by all.







‘U‘uku ka hana, ‘u‘uku ka loa‘a.
Little work, little gain.
[You reap what you sow. If you give a little do not expect a large return.]

I ka ‘ōlelo no ke ola, i ka ‘ōlelo nō ka make.
In the language is life. In the language is death.
[Words can heal; words can destroy. A contemporary translation for this proverb is, in the Hawaiian language we find the life of our race, without it (the Hawaiian language) we shall perish.]

‘O ka makua ke ko‘o o ka hale.
The parent is the support that holds the household together.

I maika‘i ke kalo i ka ‘ōhā.
The goodness of the taro is judged by the young plant it produces.
[Parents are often judged by the behavior of their children.]



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E kūlia i ka nu‘u.
Strive to reach the highest.
[Motto of Queen Kapi’olani. Strive to do your best.]

‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi.
All knowledge is not learned in just one school.
[One can learn from many sources.]

‘A‘ohe mālama, pau i ka ‘iole.
If you do not take care of possessions, it will be stolen by rats.
[When one takes care of his goods he will not suffer losses.]

E ho‘ohuli ka lima i lalo.
Turn the hands down.
[When the palm of the hands face down they are occupied and productive.]






Reference:

‘Aha Pūnana Leo
Mo‘olelo Hālāwai Kūkā, ‘Aha Alaka‘i 22 Iulai, 2005. Hilo, Hawai‘i: Ke‘ena Kula Kamali‘i, 2005.

Pukui, Mary Kawena
‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983.