n. Getting, acquiring, taking, carrying, acquisition; movement, as of dancing hands. Pehea ka lawena a ka ipo? (song), how to get a sweetheart? Ka lawena a ka maka, flirtatious summons of the eye. (Pukui – Hawaiian English Dictionary)

kik Behavior, as the way people or animals act. Dic., ext. mng. Aʻo kahua lawena. Performance-based learning, kinesthetic-based learning. Lawena ʻike hānau. Instinctive behavior. Lawena ʻapo. Learned behavior.

This word, lawena, is derived from the word lawe, to take or bring. In order to get anything or acquire anything you have to physically take it, get it, bring it. So lawena is really a combination of lawe + ʻana – taking/bringing.

In the Hawaiian dictionary called Māmaka Kaiao, published by the ʻAha Pūnana Leo and the Hale Kuamoʻo (the dictionary for newly coined Hawaiian words), lawena refers to behavior, as the way one acts. Ones lawena is an important part of oneself. It is in how we “behave” that determines what kind of person we are. We, as human beings, have universal lawena, but I also think there are specific behaviors that are unique to our different ethnicities/upbringings. If you were to compare, for instance, a Hawaiian with a German, you could come up with a list of differences in their lawena, in the way they use their eyes or hands, how they approach different situations, etc.

No matter what you are doing, always be aware of your lawena. Someone once told me that your lawena is what you do and how you behave when no one is around to witness it.

It is an interesting discussion to talk about lawena of different people, ethnicities, male female, young child, teenager, kupuna. What are some lawena that are unique to your ʻohana?

ʻO ia ka lawena o ia ʻano poʻe – That is the behavior of those kinds of people.

E makaʻala i ka lawena – Be aware of [your] behavior.

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