This extraordinary collection of Hawaiian sayings--collected, translated and annotated by Mary Kawena Pukui--offers a unique opportunity to savor the wisdom, poetic beauty, and earthy humor of these finely crafted expressions. The sayings may be appreciated individually and collectively for their aesthetic, historic, and educational values. They reveal ever deeper layers of meaning, giving understanding not only of Hawai‘i and its people but of all humanity. Since the sayings carry the immediacy of the spoken word, considered to be the highest form of cultural expression in old Hawai‘i, they bring us closer to the everyday thoughts and lives of the Hawaiians who created them. Taken together, the sayings offer a basis for an understanding of the essence and origins of traditional Hawaiian values.
This book is the product of a collecting effort that was begun by Mrs. Pukui at about the age of fifteen, around 1910, and continued throughout her long and honored career as a translator and collector of historic Hawaiian materials and as a teacher and lecturer on the language, music, and dance of traditional Hawai‘i.
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Connecting historical Hawaiian traditions with the generations of today.
I am very excited to see that Bishop Museum has started to convert many popular Hawaiian literature to electronic books. This definitely makes it a lot easier for people who are interested in learning more about Hawaii's history to access valuable information. Kawena Puku'i has left a huge foundation for our generation to grow on and the 'Olelo No'eau book is a great part of her legacy. 'Olelo No'eau teaches us that Hawaiian knowledge is embedded within the Hawaiian language and that the study of one's language is endless. Through poetic proverbs, Hawaiians were able to convey their knowledge of the universe and the beings that inhabit it. I recommend every Hawaiian household own a copy of this book and to take a glance through the native perspective of Hawai'i.