A “Toolkit” for the Visitor Industry


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

The world’s indigenous languages are repositories for identity, cultural history, community traditions and generational memory. A native people’s language is the key to unlocking unique systems of knowledge and understanding.

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) is the native language of Hawaiʻi, brought by the first people to arrive from our ancestral homelands of Polynesia and evolved alongside the Hawaiian culture into the nuanced and multi-layered ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi we know today.

Over the years, many have fallen in love with our home, however incorrect information, spelling errors, mispronunciation and inappropriate imagery are just a few examples of ways that Hawaiian language and culture are not appropriately represented. Though they may seem like harmless or unintentional mistakes, the aggregate effect of these errors dilutes the sense of place of Hawaiʻi and harms Hawaiʻi as well as the rich culture and language of our people.

The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA) produces the “Maʻemaʻe Toolkit” for the visitor industry on an annual cycle to educate and share information, tips, guidelines and links in order to authentically talk about and represent Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian language.

To ensure the continued survival of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, it is critical that we all do our part to accurately and respectfully portray the Hawaiian language. Use proper spelling and correct presentation. Please seek a vetted Hawaiian language resource to ensure the living language of our land continues to be respected and protected.