ʻŌlelo Noʻeau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings
Mary Kawena Pukui
Hardcover, 372 pp.
This extraordinary collection of Hawaiian sayings—collected, translated, and annotated by Mary Kawena Pukui—offers a unique opportunity to savor the wisdom, poetic beauty, and earthy humor of these finely crafted expressions. The sayings may be appreciated individually and collectively for their aesthetic, historic, and educational values. They reveal ever deeper layers of meaning, giving understanding not only of Hawai‘i and its people, but all of humanity. Since the sayings carry the immediacy of the spoken word, considered to be the highest form of cultural expression in old Hawai‘i, they bring us closer to the everyday thoughts and lives of the Hawaiians who created them. Taken together, the sayings offer a basis for an understanding of the essence and origins of traditional Hawaiian values. This book is the product of a collecting effort that was begun by Mrs. Pukui at about the age of fifteen, around 1910, and continued throughout her long and honored career as a translator and collector of historic Hawaiian materials and as a teacher and lecturer on the language, music, and dance of traditional Hawai‘i.