In collaboration with the Merrie Monarch Festival, Kanaeokana: The Kula Hawaiʻi Network continued its ʻʻʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi ʻOe?” campaign, encouraging the use of the Hawaiian language in everyday contexts. Kanaeokana is supporting vendors and customers in Hilo to conduct their business in Hawaiian.
Vendors offered discounts and free swag to customers who used Hawaiian.
The ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i ‘Oe campaign hopes to enable more people to enjoy using ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi in their daily lives and is an effort by the Kōmike Ho‘okuluma ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i of Kanaeokana, a network of Hawaiian language, culture, and ʻāina-based schools (preschool through university level) collaborating to strengthen Hawaiian education.“Since the 1970s, there’s been a movement to re-establish ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i as an everyday language,” said Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, director of Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani: College of Hawaiian Language and Kanaeokana participant.
“A major goal of the campaign is to increase opportunities for speakers and new learners to use Hawaiian in natural language contexts,” added Kawaiʻaeʻa.
“Our Arts Festival has so much to offer Hawaiian culture enthusiasts,” said Nelson Makua, director of the arts festival. “We’re proud that our vendors were ready to engage customers in ʻōlelo Hawai‘i for a second year,” Makua added. “We hope ʻōlelo Hawai‘i will continue to grow here every year and help make ʻōlelo Hawai‘i an everyday language once again.”
The campaign hopes to expand to interested businesses and hui on all islands, year-round, as part of Kanaeokana’s multi-year plans to bring to reality a Hawaiʻi where ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi is heard everywhere you go. If you are an interested business, group, or individual who wants to join in on the fun, get started at kanaeokana.net/olelo.