“ʻIke kākou, ʻaʻole hiki ke ola ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi inā mālama wale ʻia ma ka lumipapa, ma ka hale, akā laha ia a ola maoli nō, e like me kākou nā kānaka, ma nā pōʻaiapili like ʻole,” wahi a Kaimana Cabebe, he Hoʻomohala Papa Haʻawina Niuolahiki ma lalo hoʻi o ka ʻAha Pūnana Leo. “A pōmaikaʻi hoʻi ka ʻAha Pūnana Leo i ke ola o ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma KTA, ko lākou komo ʻana no ka mea, ʻike kākou, he ala kēia, he ala hou kēia no ke aʻo ʻana a hele a lilo kēia mea ʻo ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, he mea maʻamau.”
“ʻO ko kākou kuleana kēia. No laila wau i lēpili aku i nā mea o ka hale kūʻai nei,” wahi a Derek Kurisu, ka Hope Pelekikena o KTA.
A ʻaʻohe hōʻole ʻana ko ka ʻAha Pūnana Leo no ka pōmaikaʻi o kēia hoʻokuleana ʻia.
“A ʻo ka maikaʻi o kēia kekahi, ʻaʻole e pau ana. Hiki ke waiho ʻia ma laila, e loaʻa ana no nā kau a kau a hele a paʻa kēia mau huaʻōlelo i nā kānaka a pau.”
“Ke hōʻea mai nā malihini e maʻa ana kēia mau huaʻōlelo Hawaiʻi iā lākou, e like hoʻi me “ʻāpala” ma kahi o “apple”, wahi a Derek.
A no Kaimana, ua ʻike ʻia ka maoli o kēia ʻano aʻo ʻana ma ka Pūnana Leo.
“ʻIke ka maka i ka huaʻōlelo, lohe ka pepeiao a ola. Hiki ke hoʻopili koke a ola ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.”
“He ʻano papa ʻo KTA ma kekahi ʻano,” wahi a Kaleo Visaya, he limahana no KTA.
“He mea kēia e haʻaheo ai ko kākou mau kūpuna i kēia ola hou o kā kākou ʻōlelo a me ko Hawaiʻi ma kona ʻano ʻoiaʻiʻo,” wahi a Lorna Kahauolopua, he limahana hou aku.
“ʻIke ʻia ke ʻano ʻoiaʻiʻo o Hawaiʻi ma ke ʻano e alu like ai ka poʻe. He lāʻana maikaʻi nā hua Mountain Apple Brand, ʻoiai he alu ia o ke 60 i ke 70 kānaka ma ke ʻano nui, a ma ke ʻano ʻohana hoʻi,” wahi a Derek. “A ʻo ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ana ka mea e alu like hou aku ai ka poʻe a laha kēia ʻano maoli o ko Hawaiʻi i waena o ke kaiāulu ma Hawaiʻi a me ka lehulehu ākea no waho kekahi,” wahi a Derek.
A ʻike ʻo Kaimana he kahua kēia i paʻa ma ko ka ʻAha Pūnana Leo ʻaoʻao kekahi.
“ʻO ka maikaʻi o KTA, he pāʻoihana no ʻaneʻi. Hoʻomaka ma ʻaneʻi, no ʻaneʻi. A e like me nā kula Pūnana Leo, hoʻomaka a ʻo ka mea e ikaika ai ma ka paeʻāina, ʻo ia hoʻi ke kaiāulu. A ka nani o ko KTA hele ʻana mai iā mākou me ka walaʻau ʻana no kēia pāhana, he pōmaikaʻi maoli nō. No ka mea ʻo ke kaiāulu ka mea e ikaika ai ka ʻōlelo.”
E ola mau ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma Hilo, ma Hawaiʻi Paeʻāina, ma ka Honua a ma ʻŌiwi TV nei.
After 30 years of ʻAha Pūnana Leo, we now see ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi everywhere.
“Hawaiian needs to thrive everywhere, beyond our schools and homes,” says Kaimana Cabebe, Hoʻomohala Papa Haʻawina Niuolahiki, ʻAha Pūnana Leo. “We are blessed with KTA’s involvement because this is a new venue where our ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi can thrive and be normalized.”
“We all got to take responsibility for that so you know, we sat down and I said, what if we go and put some names, some names of the products here in my store,” says Derek Kurisu, Executive Vice President of KTA.
This taking of action is a blessing to the ʻAha Pūnana Leo.
“What’s good about this project is that it will always be available for everyone to memorize these words.”
“When the tourist or anyone comes here, they’ll start to pronounce the names in Hawaiian instead of just saying “apple” they say “ʻāpala”. Right!” says Derek.
Kaimana understands the reality of how this works at the Pūnana Leo.
“This system will allow for people to learn words efficiently and therefore, instantly.”
“You don’t have to go to an immersion school or Kamehameha schools to learn. You can come to KTA and learn,” says Kaleo Visaya, an employee at KTA.
“These little things we learn from my kūpunas, my kūpunas who have long gone, who would be so proud to see little signs like this, it’s little, but it’s a start. And it gives everyone a chance to know what Hawaiʻi is all about,” says Lorna Kahauolopua, who is another employee.
“What this is all about, as you know, we have the Mountain Apple Brand products and you know, with the Mountain Apple Brand products we got about maybe sixty or seventy different vendors working together and this is what the Hawaiʻi culture is, everybody is just one big family. And for me, the Hawaiian language is going to help glue everybody together and we’re going to know that when we’re on this island or we’re in the state of Hawaiʻi, we’re all going to know that this is Hawaiʻi,” says Derek.
And Kaimana recognizes this kind of strong foundation.
“Much like the Pūnana Leo preschools, KTA is a local business that is built on the foundation of a strong community. Therefore, the coming together of an even larger community is what will truly define the normalization of our language.”
The Hawaiian language shall thrive in Hilo, throughout the state of Hawaiʻi, the World, and right here on ʻŌiwi TV.