Aia ke ola i ka hana. #57
Life is in labor.
[Labor produces what is needed.]
Aia nō ka pono, ʻo ka hoʻohuli i ka lima i lalo, ʻaʻole ʻo ka hoʻohuli i luna. #71
That is what it should be–to turn the hands palms down, not palms up.
[No one can work with the palms of his hands turned up. When a person is always busy, he is said to keep his palms down.]
ʻAi nō i kalo moʻa. #83
One can eat cooked taro,
[The work is done; one can sit at ease and enjoy himself.]
ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia. #142
No task is too big when done together by all.
ʻAʻohe loaʻa i ka noho wale. #173
Nothing is gained by idleness.
ʻAʻohe mea nāna e hoʻopūhili, he moho no ka lā makani. #189
There is no one to interfere, for he is a messenger for the windy day.
[Said in admiration of a person who lets nothing stop him from carrying out the task entrusted to him.]
ʻAʻohe puʻu kiʻekiʻe ke hōʻāʻō ʻia e piʻi. #209
No cliff is so tall that is cannot be scaled.
[No problem is too great when one tries hard to solve it.]
ʻAʻohe ʻulu e loaʻa i ka pōkole o ka lou. #213
No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
[There is no success without preparation.]
E ala! E alu! E kuilima! #258
Up! Together! Join hands!
[A call to come together to tackle a given task.]
E ala, e hoa i ka malo. #259
Get up and gird your loincloth.
[A call to rise and get to work.]
E hana mua a paʻa ke kahua ma mua o ke aʻo ʻana aku iā haʻi. #276
Build yourself a firm foundation before teaching others.
E hōʻike mai ana ka lāʻau a ke kia manu. #287
The stick of the birdcatcher will tell.
[We will know how successful one is by what he produces. One knew whether a bird catcher was successful by counting the birds on his gummed stick.]
E hoʻokanaka. #290
Be a man.
E hume i ka malo, e hoʻokala i ka ihe. #299
Gird the loin cloth, sharpen the spear.
[A call to prepare for war or to prepare for the project at hand.]
E kanu i ka huli ʻoi hāʻule ka ua. #316
Plant the taro stalks while there is rain.
[Do your work when the opportunity affords.]
E kaupē aku nō i ka hoe, a kō mai. #319
Put forward the paddle and draw it back.
[Go on with the task that is started and finish it.]
E kuahui like i ka hana. #323
Let everybody pitch in and work together.
E kuʻi ka māmā a loaʻa ʻo Kaʻōhele. #326
Let your fastest runners run in relay to catch Kaʻōhele.
[Let us make every effort to attain our goal. Kaʻōhele was a chief and warrior and in his day, there was none swifter than he. Is was only by running in relay that he was caught and killed.]
E lauhoe mai nā waʻa; i ke kā, i ka hoe; i ka hoe, i ke kā; pae aku i ka ʻāina. #327
Everybody paddle the canoes together; bail and paddle, paddle and bail, and the shore is reached.
[Pitch in with a will, everybody, and the work is quickly done.]
E mālama o pā i ke leo. #350
Be careful lest you be struck by the voice.
[Be careful not to do something that will lead to a scolding.]
E pūpūkahi. #376
Be of one clump.
[Be united in thought.]
E waikahi ka pono i mānalo. #384
It is well to be united in thought that all may have peace.
Hāʻawe i ke kua; kiʻi i ke alo. #401
A burden on the back; a babe in the arms.
[Said of a hard-working woman who carries a load on her back and a baby in her arms.]
Hana a lau a lau ke aho, a laila loaʻa ka iʻa kāpapa o ka moana. #446
Make four hundred times four hundred fish lines before planning to go after the fighting fish of the sea.
[Be well prepared for a big project.]
Hana a mikiʻoi, lawe a ʻauliʻi. #447
Be deft ad dainty.
[Said to young people: Be neat, sweet, and clever — not crude and blundering.]
Hanuʻu ke kai i Mokuola. #473
The sea recedes at Mokuola.
[Now is the opportune time to venture forth.]
He ʻai e kāhela ai ka ʻūhā. #515
An eating that spreads the intestines.
[The enjoyment of a good meal when labor is finished and all is at peace.]
He lani i luna, he honua i lalo. #718
Heaven above, Earth beneath.
[Said of a person who cultivates harmony on his property, he is sure of his own security. The sky is above him and the Earth is the foundation beneath his feet.]
Hele nō i ka hola iʻa i ka lā. #751
Fish poison should be used in the daytime.
[Greater efficiency is achieved in the daytime.]
He ola na ka ʻōiwi, lawe aʻe nō a ʻai haʻaheo. #860
A life made by the native, [one can] take and eat proudly.
[When one has earned his own livelihood he can take his food and eat it with pride.]
He pūkoʻa kani ʻāina. #932
A coral reef grows into an island.
[A person beginning in a small way gains steadily until he becomes firmly established]
He pūkoʻa kū no ka moana. #933
A large rock standing in the sea.
[Said of a person who is unchangeable and very determined.]
Malia paha he iki ʻunu, paʻa ka pōhaku nui ʻaʻole e kaʻa. #2125
Perhaps it is a small stone that can keep the big rock from rolling down.
O ke kahua mamua, mahope ke kūkulu. #2459
The site [foundation] first, and then the building
‘U‘uku ka hana, ‘u‘uku ka loa‘a. #2884
Little work, little gain.
[You reap what you sow. If you give a little do not expect a large return.]
Akahele (being cautious)
E ʻau mālie i ke kai pāpaʻu, o pakī ka wai a pula ka maka. #267
Swim quietly in shallow water lest it splash into the eyes.
[A cautioning where one is not sure of conditions.]
Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.
ʻŌlelo Noeau compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone and Danielle Espiritu