Redup. of haʻa 1; low, lowly, minimum, humble, degraded, meek, unpretentious, modest, unassuming, unobtrusive; lowness, humility.  hoʻo.haʻa.haʻa To lower, debase, humiliate, humble (Kanl. 8.2), disgrace, underrate, belittle; humble, lowly, modest. Hoʻohaʻahaʻa aku, to condescend. 

Frequently , the values in which we were raised and the values of the “world around us” differ tremendously. Haʻahaʻa is a good example. Haʻahaʻa means to be humble, live your life with humility, do not go around bragging about yourself. Yet, in our jobs and other areas of our lives, we are often asked to toot our own horns, so to speak. Very difficult for many of us. Cultural differences. Opposing values.

In reality, one shouldn’t have to go around bragging about ones’ accomplishments. After all, your good work will become apparent, eventually, in the results of your accomplishments, in how you treat those around you, and how you choose to behave even when you think no one is looking.

When you are haʻahaʻa you don’t need to talk about what you’ve done because others will do it for you without you even knowing it. When you are haʻahaʻa, you definitely don’t hoʻohaʻahaʻa others. Hoʻohaʻahaʻa means that you humiliate someone or are condescending. Hoʻo- to cause. Ouch. Mai hana pēlā. Don’t do that.

ʻO au nō me ka haʻahaʻa – Humbly yours  (use as a closing in your letters)

He kanaka haʻahaʻa nō ʻo ia – He is a humble man.

Haʻahaʻa haka, pau i ka ʻīlio – The contents of a low shelf can be stolen by dogs (Things carelessly left about can be stolen).

Kuʻia ka hele a ka naʻau haʻahaʻa – Hesitant walks the humble hearted (A humble person walks carefully so he will not hurt those about him.

Copyright: 2016 – 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] gmail.com. 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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