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Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia

ʻAʻOHE HANA NUI KE ALU ʻIA. #142*
No task is too big when done together by all. 

Think back to a time when you and a group of others accomplished something that was incredibly challenging and may have seemed almost impossible. How did you get through? Who was with you, and how did their encouragement and support help you? How might it have been different if you were completely alone? 

We all come across challenges that seem almost insurmountable when faced by ourselves. It is in these moments that we are often forced to reach as deep and as wide as possible, tapping into parts of ourselves we may not have known existed and reaching out to those in our community we may not have previously relied on for help. These times are incredibly humbling and character-building, and yet, when we come through them we are not only strengthened, but encouraged by being able to witness what we have accomplished together.

The value of community and of ʻohana (family) is woven through almost every part of the Hawaiian way of life. It would be impossible for people to work individually to care for thousands of acres of loʻi kalo (wetland taro fields), to build 500 acre fishponds and numerous hale (houses/structures), and to care for the streams, waterways, uplands, and ocean resources that span our islands. Each of these tasks would be overwhelming for any one person. However, when we work together, a multiplication takes place, and we are able to accomplish more than what would have been possible through our individual efforts. The result is not only the accomplishment of having completed the task, but a strengthened community that is confident in its ability to innovate and to overcome together. 

Inquiry

  • What do you think about the proverbs listed below? Do you believe they are true? Are they similar to or different from an American perspective? Are they similar to or different from how you were raised? 
    • “It takes a village to raise a child.” (African proverb) 
    • “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African proverb)
  • What are the major differences between communal and individualistic societies and ways of viewing the world? Which do you feel like you ascribe to more? Why?
  • Think of a time when you faced a task or challenge that seemed insurmountable. How did you get through that challenge? Who were the ones you traveled with during that time? How did they help you to get through?

Vocabulary

  • Laulima: Cooperation, joint action. Literally: many (400) hands
  • Hana: To work or to do something
  • Nui: Big, large, abundant; a lot
  • Alu: To cooperate, act together
  • ʻOhana: Family
  • Loʻi Kalo: wetland taro fields
  • Hale: House, building

Moʻolelo

Mākālei
View The Moʻolelo: Mākālei Here Reflection Questions
  • In the moʻolelo of Mākālei, what was Kawainui? Did people gather food there? How does this compare with Kawainui today?
  • What did the people of Waimānalo and Kailua do in order to mālama (care for) Kawainui fishpond? Why did they do this? What were they able to accomplish?
  • How do we see the ʻōlelo noʻeau, ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia, exemplified in the moʻolelo of Mākālei?
  • What other life lessons do we learn from this moʻolelo?

Possible Extension Activities

Laulima ʻOhana Challenge

Choose a task each week to complete together as an ʻohana. This could be cooking together, cleaning the yard, planting, or volunteering in the community. The possibilities are endless. The important thing is that you have a task and that you work together to complete it. At the end, spend time in reflection together:

  • What were you able to accomplish together? 
  • Take time to express appreciation for each person. What are the positive things they did or what did you notice about how they performed certain tasks that you want to highlight? Spend time thanking and/or encouraging one another.
  • What were the areas of challenge? How did you overcome them or how might you overcome them in the future? 
Content Area Reflection

Have students reflect on topics they are currently covering in their course(s) or field of study. Then discuss the following questions as they apply:

  • What are ways we see the ʻōlelo noʻeau, ʻAʻohe Hana Nui Ke Alu ʻIa, exemplified in what we are studying? 
  • How might thinking and acting in this way have shifted or improved the time period or topic we are covering? 
  • How might it benefit our society today?
Content Area Relay

Choose a task for students to complete. This can be aligned to any content area standards you are covering (Ex. a multiplication or division worksheet)

Split the students into groups of 3 or 4, and remind them to encourage one another throughout each “time trial”

Time students at intervals (ex. 20 seconds), allowing one student per group to be completing the task at a time. The rest of the students should be engaged in and encouraging their teammates. 

At the end of each interval, give students time to write down how much was completed during that “time trial,” keeping a running total of the number of completions for the entire group.

Repeat several times.

  • Spend time reflecting in your groups and/or as a class:
  • What were you able to accomplish together? 
  • Take time to express appreciation for each person. What are the positive things they did or what did you notice about how they performed certain tasks that you want to highlight? Spend time thanking and/or encouraging one another.
  • What were the areas of challenge? How did you overcome them or how might you overcome them in the future?
English/Language Arts or Social Studies

Sketcher

Have students draw a picture that reflects what “ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia” means to them. Then, in one or more paragraphs, they will either:

  • Explain their sketch
  • Write a creative story to match their drawing
  • Write an argumentative essay that connects with their drawing and the ʻōlelo noʻeau

Concept Board

Have students reflect on their experience with Hoʻokuaʻāina and the lesson, “ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia,” by creating a visual representation that includes the following:

  • Subtitle
  • Picture
  • Summary
  • Application
  • Question

*Pukui, M. K., & Varez, D. (1983). ʻŌlelo Noʻeau: Hawaiian Proverbs & poetical sayings. Honolulu, Hawai’i: Bishop Museum Press.

Content on this page was written and compiled by Danielle Espiritu, Education Specialist

Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

Hoʻokuaʻāina is located in the ahupuaʻa of Kailua at Kapalai in Maunawili on the island of Oʻahu.

For more information about our programs or how you can get involved please contact us.

visit us

916E Auloa Rd.

Kailua, HI 96734

mail

P.O. Box 342146

Kailua, HI 96734

follow us

Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

Hoʻokuaʻāina is located in the ahupuaʻa of Kailua at Kapalai in Maunawili on the island of Oʻahu.

For more information about our programs or how you can get involved please contact us.

visit us

916E Auloa Rd.

Kailua, HI 96734

mail us

P.O. Box 342146

Kailua, HI 96734

email us

Reach Us At:

info@hookuaaina.org

follow us

Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Site By Created By Kaui

Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Site By Created By Kaui

Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy

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