1. nvs. Industrious, busy, hard-working; workman, laborer, worker, industry.

2. n. Implement, tool, utensil, furnishings (Nah. 7.1). Mea paʻahana, tool, workman.

This word, when split into two words, gives you the BEST picture of what it means:

Paʻa – stuck, firm

Hana – work

Stuck to your work. If you are paʻa to your hana you must be busy because there is no chance for fooling around, glancing to and fro, getting distracted with all that is going on around you.

Hawaiians know paʻahana. Reflecting on my small kid time, I remember seeing all the kupuna out (and some makua) early in the morning raking up every single leaf on the ground. They were even sweeping the roads and picking up any debris surrounding their yard. They were hanging up clothes and straigtening up, feeding animals and whatever else needed to be done to keep their ʻāina immaculate. And then they had plenty of time to rest during the heat of the day if they so desired.

Foreigners used to see Hawaiians resting during the day and call them lazy, a stereotyping that continues today. But what they didn’t realize was that the work was all pau. Hawaiians are smart. Work when the sun is not blazing hot. Start early. Then relax during the heat of the day. Go beach. Read. Then start again when the sun starts going down. Go water the yard in the evening. It’s better for your plants anyway. And then in the evening, have ʻohana time with your loved ones.

Paʻahana. As my tūtū would say, “when time for work, work.” Stick to your work! Be paʻahana!

Copyright: 2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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