ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi / Hawaiian Language

Hawaiian Word of the Day for Feb. 8: Hana

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Wednesday is “hump day” or the middle of the workweek for most people. So for Feb. 8, our “Hawaiian Word of the Day” is hana, which mean’s work.

Hahahana also means work.

Some variations:

  • akahana: work carefully
  • pa’u hana: tedious, prolonged work
  • hana lima: work with hands, or manual work
  • hana hihiu: unusual or rare work
  • hana ʻoʻoleʻa: to work hard
  • huli hana: to look for work
  • hana a ka lani: the work of the chief
  • hana wale: to work aimlessly, uselessly
  • And, our favorite — ʻAʻohe hana i koe!: No work is left!

Ilima Shim, who grew up on the Big Island and now lives on O’ahu, works at a construction site. Photo courtesy of Ilima Shim.

Big Island native Ilima Shim knows how to hana ʻoʻoleʻa. She was selected to be one of 12 contestants on Season 4 of the CBS reality TV show “Tough as Nails.

In 2005, Hui ‘O Hana Pono was established. It is a non-profit Native Hawaiian corporation whose name means: “The house that does good work.”

The organization’s mission is to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians through economic empowerment, education and advocacy.

Kō Hana Distillers operates on Oʻahu. Itʻs name means “work of the sugarcane.”

Kō Hana Distillers operates in Kunia on O’ahu. In Hawaiian, kō hana means “work of the sugarcane.” The companyʻs website says: “Kō Hana embraces the natural earthiness and sweetness of the Kō (sugarcane). In stark contrast, the vast majority of the rum in the world is made from molasses — the industrial byproduct of processed sugar manufacturing.”

In the boutique distilleryʻs story, it explains: “Nearly a thousand years ago, the first Polynesians set sail for the Hawaiian islands using only the stars for navigation. Among the canoe plants they brought with them were select varieties of kō.”

Red Sands Beach in Hāna. Photo: Cammy Clark/Big Island Now

Fortunately for visitors on Maui, the Road to Hāna is not a curvy, narrow route to work, but to one of the most pristine and remote locations on the island. The small, traditional village has stunning coastlines, a red sand beach, lush green forests, rich history and Hawaiian cultural practice. A big attraction is the breathtaking 122-acre Waiʻanapanapa State Park with a volcanic black pebble beach and panoramic ocean views.


Editor’s Note: Each day in February, we have a new “Hawaiian Word of the Day” during Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian Language Month. Check out the other words of the day on the Big Island website by clicking here.


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