Day 6: Kekoa

Kekoa (the warrior) Ever think about what kinds of animals we admire the most? Put it this way: When was the last time you heard of a high school calling its football team the jackals, hyenas, cows, ...

Day 5: Kokua

Kokua (assistance, cooperation, lending a hand) This is another of those Hawaiian words whose true meaning differs subtly from a single-word translation such as “help” or “crew.” Kokua carries an und...

Day 4: Ali’i

Ali’i (Royalty, or rulers) Up until 1893 when Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown by a U.S.-backed coup d'état, the islands were ruled by various flavors of ali’i. There were nearly a dozen classes of...

Day 3: Keiki

Keiki (child, or an immature plant) There’s just too much self-evident irony in that definition to warrant a lot of exposition. But upon reflection, English is also full of anthropomorphisms (my excu...

Day 2: ‘Ohana

Actually, ‘ohana means more than family. Think of it less as a noun than as an imperative. The Maōri cognate of ‘ohana is kōhanga, meaning “nest,” and from that origin flows a set of obligations that...

Day 1: ‘Aina

‘Aina (the land) I was born in Brooklyn. My most intimate tie to the land was descending a staircase on Flatbush Avenue to ride the #2 IRT subway into Manhattan. I thought the only thing under the gr...