I always love running into fellow Hawaiian speakers that I haven’t met before. I often wondered how many times I’ve encountered a fellow kanaka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, and we used English simply because we each didn’t know that the other could speak Hawaiian. I had an idea a few years ago to set up a directory of Hawaiian speakers in business so that we could seek out each other and know where we could go to order a coffee, get a hair cut, purchase a car, or just about anything using Hawaiian.
I had just finished a meeting with folks from The Recording Academy in Honolulu, was dropped off at the airport by you know who, and standing in line at Starbucks in the inter-island terminal to buy a bottle of juice. I heard the fellow at the counter ask the customer ahead of me for his name, using Hawaiian – ‘o wai kou inoa – followed by a translation in English. When I stepped up to buy my juice, he asked me if I wanted anything else, to which I replied – ‘o kēia wale nō, mahalo (just this, thanks). He smiled and we completed our transaction in Hawaiian. I wish things like this happened more often.
No laila, e ka po‘e ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, e kāko‘o kākou i kēia hoa ke kipa kākou i ke kahua mokulele kaumoku ma Honolulu!