Combined, acting together; to cooperate, act together. 

It gives me great insight into the Hawaiian language when I look at the number of words that express the concept of cooperation.  We commonly hear the value of laulima, literally, many hands.  There are other words: kōkua, huki like, kākoʻo, hana like. Today we learn alu, a little bit different, more in the spirit of working together as a team (and not so concerned with the number of “hands” helping out. E alu like mai kākou – Let us all work together in cooperation.

In Hawaiʻi your ability to thrive depends on the ability to cooperate with others in your community and at work. We like to think that we can live independently but hopefully we find that a daunting task. We SHOULD work cooperatively together. Driving through Waimea (known by many as Kamuela) on the weekends, we marvel at seeing a home being built by what seems to be a big network of family and friends. All the trucks and cars are parked on the grass and we see kids running around and men working, pounding nails, putting up the roof. We have dubbed them The Weekend Warriors. I told my ʻohana to just imagine it. These people are building a family a house that will last them a lifetime! What an accomplishment. What a spirit of alu.

I can hear Haunani Apoliona singing the song, E Alu Like Mai Kākou – Let’s all work together.

He hana alu like kēia – this is a task of cooperation.

E alu ka pule iā Hakalau – combine prayers to overcome Hakalau (Whenever concentration and united effort are required, this saying is used. A sorcerer at Hakalau once created havoc in his own and other neighborhoods. Many attempts to counter-pray him failed until a visiting kahuna suggested that all of the others band together to concentrate on the common enemy. This time they succeeded).

ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia – No task is too great when we all work together.

E ala! E alu! E kuilima! – Up! Together! Join hands! – A call to come together to tackle a given task.

Tomorrow we will learn about a word similar in spelling but totally different in meaning.

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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