The Importance of ʻŌlelo noʻeau

March 01, 2022

The Importance of ʻŌlelo noʻeau

ʻŌlelo noʻeau are traditional proverbs or wise sayings of the Hawaiian people. These proverbs are known for being preserved and handed down from generation to generation through stories. These proverbs are incredibly important in the Native Hawaiian culture and are often used when we need guidance, reassurance and when we want to feel connected to our culture and our kupuna. Today, ʻŌlelo noʻeau can be used as mottos for organizations, classroom and even as a personal motto. 

Often times, each ʻŌlelo noʻeau will have two translations, the literally translation and the metaphorical meaning. Here are a few ʻŌlelo noʻeau to help motivate and inspire you!

Proverb: ‘U‘uku ka hana, ‘u‘uku ka loa‘a.
Translation: Little work, little gain.
Meaning: You reap what you sow. If you give a little do not expect a large return.

Proverb: ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi.
Translation: All knowledge is not learned in just one school.
Meaning: One can learn from many sources.

Proverb: Ua ola loko i ke aloha.
Translation: Love gives life within.
Meaning: Love is imperative to one’s mental and physical welfare.

Proverb: I mohala no ka lehua i ke ke`ekehi `ia e ka ua.
Translation: The Lehua blossom unfolds when the rains tread on it.
Meaning: People respond better to gentle words than to scolding.