Often we hear Hawaiians speak of their ʻaumakua, their family or personal god – deified ancestors who might assume the shape of sharks, owls, hawks, mud hens, octopuses, eels, mice, rats, even clouds or plants.
Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is wailele or waterfall. Literally, wailele means leaping water. And although it is a generic term, it is also is used in many place names and songs. Such as the popular wailele o ʻakaka.
It's always good to take the time and honor the Native voices and stories of our ʻāina, and not just as a once-in-a-while thing, but all the time, so that it becomes he mea maʻa mau ia (a regular thing) for you and I.
It's so often mispronounced that the incorrect version has become an accepted pidgin word. But our word for today is mea ʻono puaʻa, or delicious pig thing. It is a popular and tasty steamed or baked Chinese bun with pork inside.
Nui means “big, greatest, grand, important.” As in aliʻi nui. Hale nui would be a big house. And mea nui would be an important thing. Used as an adjective it follows the noun. It can also mean “many or a group.”
Heluhelu means “to read.” Helu, by itself, is to count, but re-duplicating it gives us a new word: to read. All of us can heluhelu and we do it everyday reading books, newspapers, magazines, signs, and more.
As most of you know, hapa means “half,” and nui means “larger.” So hapanui, the “larger half,” means majority. Non-Hawaiians account for more than half of the people of Hawaiʻi, so they are the hapanui.
Another popular place name that is often mispronounced is Maʻalaea, a bay, village, and small boat harbor on Maui. It is probably a contraction from maka ʻalaea which relates to the yellow, or red color of the Earth's beginning.
We often hear aliʻi in conjunction with pageants and other places where our chiefs are portrayed. Yes, aliʻi means chief, chiefess, officer, ruler, monarch, king, queen. And aliʻi nui then is the “High Chief.” Now days we often hear mōʻī for king, but he was an aliʻi nui in the old days.
Pahu and hau combine to give us the Hawaiian word for ice box or refrigerator. Pahu is a box, chest, cabinet, or similar container, and hau means cool, iced, ice, frost, dew, snow. Put them together and you have an ice box: pahu hau.