Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi- Nāʻilima Gaison
Kumu Papa Mālaaʻo ma ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu, Niuolahiki Papa ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Pae Waena & Pae Hoʻomaka, Kumu ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi ma ke kaiaulu o Hilo.
Keaukaha, Waiākea Ahupuaʻa, Mokupuni O Hawaiʻi
Ua komo au i ka papa ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma ke kula nui o Hilo i ka makahiki 1980 a i loko o ka hoʻonaʻauao ʻia ʻana mai, ua aʻo au e pili ana i ke emi ʻana iho o nā mānaleo ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi o ia wā a me ka hoʻopaʻi ʻia ʻana o nā mānaleo e kā lākou mau kumu ke ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi lākou nā kūpuna. Ua kupu mai koʻu minamina i kā kākou ʻōlelo makuahine a me ke kāohi ʻia ʻana o koʻu mau mākua a me koʻu mau kūpuna.
I enrolled in a Hawaiian language class at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in 1980 and I learned that the number of native speakers was dwindling, and that they had been punished for speaking Hawaiian with their elders. This stirred grief within me that our language was withheld from my parents and my grandparents.
Ua lohe au e pili ana i ke kūkula ʻia ʻana o kekahi kula ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a ua nui koʻu ʻiʻini e lilo i kumu ma ia kula nō hoʻi, ʻo ia nō ka Pūnana Leo o Hilo. No laila, ma hope iho o koʻu puka kula ʻana mai ke kula nui o Hilo, ua lilo au i kumu kōkua manawaleʻa no ʻelua mahina, a laila, ua hai ʻia au a lilo i kumu manawa piha. Ua hana au ma ka Pūnana Leo o Hilo a hiki i ka makahiki 2005, a laila, ua neʻe kula au i ke kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu a aʻo i ka papa mālaaʻo a hiki i kēia lā.
I heard about a Hawaiian language school that was being built and I really wanted to become a teacher there, at Pūnana Leo o Hilo. So as soon as I graduated from UH-Hilo, I became a volunteer teaching assistant for two months, and then I was hired on as a full time teacher. I worked at Pūnana Leo o Hilo until 2005, when I moved to Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu to teach Kindergarten, which I still do today.
ʻO kekahi pōmaikaʻi hoʻi, ua aʻo au ma ke kula nui o Hilo no 32 makahiki, a laila, ua pau kaʻu hana ma ka makahiki 2020 ma muli o ka maʻi ahulau. A mau nō koʻu aʻo ʻana ma Niuolahiki ma lalo o ka ʻAha Pūnana Leo, Inc. Mai ka makahiki 1990, ua hoʻomaka au i ka hana pū me nā hoa ʻōiwi ma ʻAmelika, Kanakā, a me nā hoa polenekia ma ka Pākīpika a pēia pū nā lāhui ʻē aʻe nō hoʻi a hiki i kēia lā.
Another blessing, I taught at UH-Hilo for 32 years, and then due to COVID in 2020, I stopped. I continue teaching online with Niuolahiki under the auspices of ʻAha Pūnana Leo, Inc. Starting in 1990, I began working with Native Americans, those in Canada and other Polynesians throughout the Pacific, as well as other races and also continue this work to this day.
No laila, ʻo ia ihola. Ke Akua pū, me ka hoʻomanaʻo pū ē, ʻo ka ʻōlelo ke kaʻā o ka mauli, a no ʻaneʻi ko kākou ola, a e ola mau ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.
That is all. God bless, and remember, language is the fiber that binds us to our cultural identity, and it is here that we live. Long live the Hawaiian language!
naʻu na Kumu Nā'ilima Gaison