“Ma ka hana ka ‘ike” ~ In working one learns
This ʻōlelo noʻeau (wise saying) expresses the value of working hard and being a quality producer no matter what your present status or situation. Ka nohona Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian way of life was to work until the work was done. Our kūpuna valued work because without productivity there would be no means of survival. Each person from kamaliʻi (children) to kūpuna (elders) had kuleana (responsibilities) and contributed to the success and sustainability of the ahupuaʻa (land division from the mountain to the sea).
There was an unspoken understanding between kūpuna and those they were passing their knowledge on to. This understanding also extended from kumu (teacher) to haumana (student). Although at times, no words were exchanged, there was a mutual respect and understanding that when a kūpuna or kumu felt that you were worthy of the kuleana (responsibility) to perpetuate the ʻike (knowledge) being passed on to you, you would know. You would learn through doing. It was not a matter of being told what to do. You would observe, listen and apply as your kūpuna or kumu had done, and when the time was right, you too would be perpetuating that same knowledge on your own with their blessing…(read more)
“Don’t learn to do, but learn in doing.” -Samuel Butler