This speech was given by Aunty Pilahi Paki on January 23, 1984 to the International Society of Ministers at Mauna Kea.
Distinguished members of the International Society of Ministers, honored guests, ohana, kama’aina, malihini, people of many cultures, ladies and gentlemen.
Hawaii greets you all in the name of ALOHA.
ALOHA – The god-like image, endowed to every man, woman, and child in his and her beginning. Aloha – The spirit that binds us all together as people, persons and fellow human beings.
Permit me to pronounce the spirit blessing of Hawaiʻi ALOHA upon each and every one of you gathered here this very auspicious day of January 23, 1984:
A-Ka-Hai – Hawaiʻi meaning: kindness; express it with tenderness.
Lo-Ka-Hi – Hawaiʻi meaning: unity; express it with harmony.
O-Lu-O-Lu – Hawaiʻi meaning: agreeable; express it with pleasantness.
Haʻa-Haʻa – Hawaiʻi meaning: humility; express it with modesty.
A-Ho-Nui – Hawaiʻi meaning: patience; apply it with perseverance.
These words of wisdom, intelligence, knowledge, and understanding express the character and humanness of a people and land – Hawaiʻi ALOHA.
Before I begin my talk on the values of Hoʻo-pono-pono, I, Pilahi Paki, beg humbly to each of you fellow human beings assembled here today for human sympathy and understanding. My reason – because I am about to make statements and utter words which in this day and time in Hawaiʻi-nei may be implied and applied by people as unreal.
I, as a citizen of Hawaiʻi, the 50th state, am concerned. Concerned because traditional concepts and life styles are being deliberately annihilated by the institutionalized concepts that have invaded the land, its culture, history and the language of my ancestors.
The laws that governed the land, its history, culture, customs, and language have in this time passed into oblivion. The peoples and communities
of the 50th State are vulnerable to superficialities and distortions. Too many people have disjointed smatherings of the facts about Hawaiʻi-nei and my ancestors. The people of Hawaiʻi-nei today, Hawaiians all, have a tendency to exaggerate the aspects of my ancestral concepts.
I, Pilahi Paki, as a citizen of the 50th State, can care less for the fairy tale and mythical interpretations of Hawaiʻi’s past. Because, for me, life is a real substance – a blessed privilege and experience.
My ancestors and Hawaii of the past were real. Real in the sense that they were human beings and people like you and me. They thought, they felt, and they spoke words – expressing the emotions of their hearts and the imaginations of their minds.
Hawaiʻi-nei, a land blessed by the elements of nature with beauty, charm and a unique personality, has within the last two centuries accepted and succumbed to western and foreign ideas, culture, and language. The only authentic identity Hawaiʻi today is its aboriginal language. A language unique and distinctive in character.
The intellectual knowledge and understanding ahout Hawaiʻi’s past are materials few and scarce. Most of the history known or written is from the time of Paiea Kamehameha I to the present. Of the Aliʻi, the true spirituals and intellectuals, little is known.
Much of the analysis of past history, the translations of its customs, culture, and language are works compiled and written by people whose comprehension and understanding of Hawaiʻi, her people, culture, history, language, and life-style is nil.
With these few statements and remarks, I now begin to define the spiritual substance of the word Ho’o-pono-pono.
I quote from out of the past. The quotation is from the book of John, Chapter 1, Verse 1. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God. And the word was God.” I emphasize “The word was God.”
In the language of my ancestors, ‘words’ are entities in life – profound and powerful in substance. They are energetic substance – flashing and moving as lightning – whose effect is felt and heard in the natural sounds of the roaring thunder. Words are potent “seeds” implanted into the human mind to create and give vitality to thoughts and feelings. Words are seeds of life.
The language of my ancestors has three very distinct characteristics. They define the poetic, literal, and esoteric aspects in language – each characteristic connotating and defining mind and heart in spirit.
The combination of mind (spirit) and heart (emotion) expressed through “words” was the creative force in the world around the ancestors,
and still is today. An individual in sufficient control of his or her innate intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge, can stand on a shore and speak the “word” SWIM to a drowning person and the person will not drown.
There is no person, walking the face of this earth planet who does not have this capability. But the language of my ancestors is one
that brings the knowledge into the basic framework of life, by structuring the language around the knowledge.
The language, therefore, is the key to the knowledge and it is elementary. Language is and was the basis for Hawaiʻi’s religion.
Word was and still is the natural religion and law of Hawaiʻi-nei.
Let us all for some moments think and feel the traditional word Ho’o-pono-pono. The literal or surface connotation of its meaning
is to correct, revise, or put to right.
I, Pilahi Paki, will share with you the spiritual essence or esoteric connotation of the word Ho’o-pono-pono. It is “to imply and apply the basic ingredient of common sense to correct, revise, or put to right human errors in attitudes.”
Ho’o-pono-pono, a word in the traditional thought of Hawaiʻi’s language, identified the true meaning of justice between natural law and man.
Ho’o-pono-pono – cause and effect, or, mind and heart in perfect coordination motivating positive or negative energy to life.
A person in sufficient control of him or herself (with mind and heart working together positively) can refuse to accept negativity and return negativity to its source.
This knowledge decreased enormously at the time of the introduction of western and foreign ideas and concepts to Hawaiʻi-nei.
I conclude my talk to this august audience this day of January 23, 1984 with hopes in my heart that Hawaiʻi and I, Pilahi Paki, have in some small way contributed traditional guidelines and values for the well-being of all people and inheritors of this ancient land of my Hawaiʻi.
Before I make my exit, I wish to share a thought. It is to be uttered in the traditional language “HE KAMA NA’AUAO. KE KA’I POLOLEI, A HE KAMA HUPO, I KA KA’I OLALAU.” Translated it means “It is a wise person who rights a wrong. But a foolish one who wrongs a right.”
Does it sound simple? Wisdom does sound simple. And all cultures try to train foolish souls who “wrong rightsʻ or who stray from the beaten path. All cultures have some laws to try to train such foolish ones.