We usher in Hawaiian Language Month by saying hulō (hurray) to KS Enrichment Program Manager Ashley Makahilahila (far right) who proudly introduced her ‘ohana to the world in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i on the game show “Family Feud.” Other members of the Makahilahila family are: (l-r) Stacy KSK’98, Colby KSK’12, Ryan KSK’09, and Kim KSK’00. See a clip of their TV appearance below. In honor of Hawaiian Language Month, this story is presented in both Hawaiian and English.
This mo‘olelo is part of Kūkahekahe – Cultural Conversations – featuring personal experiences and insights from faculty, staff and friends about compelling cultural happenings within the KS organization, throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and across the larger Pacific and global communities.
E ō e nā hoa hana o Kamehameha! He wā pōmaikaʻi kēia ʻoiai, he ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi kākou a pau; ʻōlelo liʻiliʻi kekahi a poeko kekahi, akā aia nō kākou ke holomua nei!
ʻO Pepeluali ka Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, no laila, kākau ʻia kēia ʻatikala ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, ka ʻōlelo makuahine o ko kākou pae ʻāina i aloha nui ʻia.
Eia ka nīnau, ka hua i ka umauma: Pehea kākou e hoʻōla ai i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi i kēlā me kēia lā? Aia ke ola i nā hana nui me nā hana iki, eia naʻe, ʻo nā mea koʻikoʻi loa, ʻo ia ke aloha i ka ʻōlelo a me ka ʻiʻini e hoʻōla.
He mau mahina aku nei, ua lohe ʻia ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma ka polokalamu kīwī ʻo “Family Feud.” Na Ashley Makahilahila, he luna hoʻokele polokolamu ma Kealakūlia/Hālau Kūkalaulama, i hoʻolauna i kona ʻohana ma ka ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi, ʻo lākou kekahi ʻohana hoʻokūkū ma ia polokalamu. I ka lohe ʻana o ka waha ʻōlelo ʻo Steve Harvey i ia ʻōlelo hoʻolauna, nīnau maila ʻo ia iā Ashley inā e ʻōlelo ana ʻo ia ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. Ua pane akula nō ʻo Makahilahila, “ʻAe, ua ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi au!” Hū aʻela ka haʻaheo!
Hoihoi nō ka moʻolelo o ke aʻo ʻōlelo ʻana o kēia limahana Kamehameha. I kona wā kula kiʻekiʻe ma Punahou, ua komo ʻo ia i nā papa ʻōlelo Sepania no ʻekolu makahiki, a hoʻokahi wale nō ona makahiki ma ka papa ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. Ua nīnau ʻia ʻo ia, “He aha kāu hana me ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi?” I ia manawa, ʻaʻole ʻo ia i ʻike leʻa i ka haʻina. Ua mōakāka naʻe iā ia ē he aloha nō kona i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.
Ua hele kulanui ʻo ia ma Utah. Ua puka kulanui ʻo ia, a komo ihola ka makemake i loko ona e hoʻi mai i Hawaiʻi. I kona hoʻi ʻana mai, ua hoʻomaopopo ʻo ia i kekahi manaʻo nui. Wahi āna, “Kahe ka ʻike a pau ma o ka ʻōlelo. A luʻu ihola ʻo ia i ke aʻo i ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi, ka ʻike kupuna, a me ka ʻike kuʻuna. Komo ʻo ia i kekahi hui ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi no nā mākua ma ke Kulanui Kaiaulu o Koʻolau. Ua holomua nō ʻo ia ma ke aʻo ʻōlelo, a laila, ʻelua makahiki aku nei ua lilo ʻo ia he haumāna ma ke Kulanui ʻo Hawaiʻi ma Mānoa. I kona komo ʻana i ka papahana ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a lohe ʻo ia no ke kōkua a kona kupunakāne kualua ma ka hoʻokumu ʻana i ia mau papahana. Ke hoʻomau nei ʻo ia i ke aʻo ʻana i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.
No laila, pehea i koho ʻia ai kona ʻohana no “Family Feud?” He ʻohana puni i ka hoʻokūkū, ka pāʻani, a me ka lanakila. I kēlā me kēia makahiki, pāʻani pū ka ʻohana i nā pāʻani Kalikimaka. Ua ʻakaʻaka lākou e pili ana i ka lilo ʻana i mau moho no kekahi pāʻani kīwī, e like me “The Amazing Race” a i ʻole ʻo “Wheel of Fortune.” I kēlā makahiki aku nei, e ʻimi ana ʻo “Family Feud” i mau ‘ohana mai Hawaiʻi mai. Na nā keiki Makahilahila i hoʻāʻo. Wahi a Ashley, ua maopopo ʻē iā lākou e koho ʻia ana. “Na koʻu mau mākua i aʻo mai iā mākou no ke koʻikoʻi o ka pilina ʻohana. E mālama aku nā kaikuaʻana i ke kaikaina, a e hoʻolohe aku i nā kaikaina i nā kaikuaʻana. ʻOkoʻa mākou, akā he mau hoaaloha pili loa mākou, a he mana ko kēlā pilina.”
Ua holomua lākou ma nā hoʻāʻo ʻana me ka nīnauele, a nīnau maila ke poʻo kīwī iā lākou, “He aha ka mea kupaianaha e pili ana i kou ʻohana?” Pane akula ʻo Makahilahila penei, “He ʻohana Hawaiʻi mākou, no Hawaiʻi mai, a e hoʻolauna ana wau i kuʻu ʻohana ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.”
E ka mea heluhelu, e hoʻomaopopo, ʻo ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ka mea i lanakila ai lākou! Ua hoʻopaneʻe ʻia ka polokalamu ma muli o ka maʻi ahulau, akā, ma ʻAukake 2020 lākou i lele aku ai i Atlanta no ka pāʻani.
Ma ka lā o ka hōʻike, hōʻea lākou i ke kahua. Ua hoʻomanaʻo ʻo Makahilahila, “Ua ʻike mākou i ka inoa ʻo Makahilahila ma ka papakaumaka nui. Kupaianaha nō! He ʻiʻini ko mākou e hōʻike aku i ke ʻano ʻoiaʻiʻo o Hawaiʻi, me ka haʻahaʻa a me ka hōʻihi, i mea e haʻaheo ai nā mākua, nā kūpuna, a me nā kānaka o Hawaiʻi. A ua pono nō mākou e hana pēlā ma ka hapalua minuke wale nō. No laila, ua ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi au.”
Nahenahe nō ka lohe ʻana i ia hoʻolauna ʻohana ma ka polokalaumu kīwī a he mea haʻaheo nō no nā poʻe a pau ma Hawaiʻi. Kaʻana like nui ʻia aku ka wikiō pōkole me kā Makahilahila hoʻolauna ma ka pūnaewele.
“Pūʻiwa nui mākou! Maopopo iaʻu, kākoʻo mai koʻu mau hoa. Akā naʻe, ua kaʻana like ākea ʻia ka wikiō! Nui nā poʻe i mahalo i koʻu ʻohana, mahalo no ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. ʻO kekahi poʻe, makemake lākou e hoʻi i Hawaiʻi a i ʻole e aʻo i ka ʻōlelo.”
Mau nō ko Makahilahila aʻo ʻana i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. Ua hoʻomanaʻo ʻo ia, “I kēlā mau makahiki aku nei, e noho ana au i ka papa ʻŌlelo Kahua. Huli au iā Kumu Keʻala, a nīnau akula ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, ‘No ke aha lā i koho ʻia ai ʻo Pepeluali, ʻo ia ka mahina ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi? ʻO ia ka mahina pōkole loa!’ Ua ʻakaʻaka māua. Mai kēlā wā, ke ʻike nei au i ke kō o koʻu mau moemoeā.”
E ola mau ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi!
Kamehameha colleagues! What an auspicious time we are in, where we all speak Hawaiian; some of us speak a little and some of us are fluent, but we all continue to make progress!
February is Hawaiian Language month, so this article was written in Hawaiian, the mother tongue of our beloved archipelago.
Here is a question, one near and dear to the heart: How do we make Hawaiian language thrive each and every day? There are things we can do, both great and small, but more important is our love for our language and the desire to see it thrive.
A few months ago, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi was heard on the television program “Family Feud.” It was Ashley Makahilahila, a program manager for Kealakūlia/Hālau Kūkalaulama at Kamehameha, who introduced her siblings in Hawaiian as competitors on the show. Upon hearing her introductions, host Steve Harvey asked her if she was speaking in Hawaiian. Makahilahila answered, “Yes, I was speaking in Hawaiian!” What a moment of immense pride!
The language learning journey of this Kamehameha staff member is interesting indeed. During her time in high school at Punahou, she took Spanish classes for three years and Hawaiian class for only one year. She was aked, “What will you do with Hawaiian language?” At the time, she didn’t have an answer, but it was clear to her that she loved Hawaiian.
She went to college in Utah, and after graduating, she wanted to return to Hawaiʻi. When she returned, she realized something important. According to Makahilahila, “Through language, everything else flows.” She wanted to dive into Hawaiian worldview, the wisdom of our ancestors, and traditional knowledge. Therefore, she joined a language group for working adults at Windward Community College. She progressed on her language journey and two years ago became a student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. When she became a Hawaiian language student she learned that her great-great-grandfather had helped to start the program. She is continuing to learn Hawaiian.
So, how did her family end up on Family Feud? They are competitive; every year they play Christmas games as a family. They laughed about becoming contestants on a family game show, like the “The Amazing Race” or “Wheel of Fortune.” Last year, “Family Feud” was seeking a family from Hawaiʻi; the Makahilahila children auditioned. According to Makahilahila, they knew they were going to be chosen. “My parents taught us that our relationship as a family was of the utmost importance. The older siblings take care of the younger siblings, and the younger siblings listen to their elders. We are different people, but we are the best of friends, and that relationship is powerful.”
They progressed through the auditions, and a media executive asked them, “What is something amazing about your family?” Makahilahila replied, “We are a Hawaiian family from Hawaiʻi, and I will introduce my family in Hawaiian.”
Please understand, dear reader, that the Hawaiian language was the element that helped them triumph! The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the show, but they flew to Atlanta for the taping in August 2020.
On the day of the show, they arrived onstage. Makahilahila recalls, “We saw the name ‘Makahilahila’ on the screen. It was amazing! We wanted to show the character of Hawaiʻi, with humility and respect, and to make parents, grandparents, and the people in Hawaiʻi proud. And we needed to do it in only half a minute. So, I spoke Hawaiian.”
To hear this family’s introduction on this television show was sweet, and a point of pride for all the people of Hawaiʻi. A short clip of Makahilahila’s Hawaiian introduction was shared widely on the internet. (See clip below.)
“We were so surprised! I knew my friends would support me. But, the video was shared so widely! Lots of people thanked my family, thanked us for speaking Hawaiian. Some of the people wanted to return to Hawaiʻi or learn to speak Hawaiian.”
Makahilahila continues her language journey. She reflects, “A few years ago, I was sitting in ʻŌlelo Kahua class. I turned to Kumu Keʻala, and I said in Hawaiian, ‘Why is February Hawaiian language month? It’s the shortest one!’ We laughed. From that time, my dreams have manifested.”
E ola mau ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi!
Long live the Hawaiian language!
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