Help, I’m Lost

Lost? You’re not the only one.  This website was named ʻauana – “to wander, drift, ramble, go from place to place” (Pukui, Elberts 2003) – for all the many lost or uncertain Hawaiian language speakers seeking direction in life.  However, the one thing that we can rely on to guide us is the culture and language of our ancestors.  That’s why, beyond this help page, this website is almost entirely in Hawaiian language, with no English translation offered other than the occasional English summary.  For non-Hawaiian language speakers, this means that this website is largely inaccessible.

I like to think that we’ve got some pretty good content on here, and those who can’t read Hawaiian language may be missing out.  But even beyond Auana, there is an enormous archive of invaluable Hawaiian language materials that document Hawaiian history, culture, politics, entertainment, and much more.  If you can’t read it, you’re definitely missing out.  As Noenoe Silva writes in her book Aloha Betrayed about the writings found in Hawaiian newspapers, “There is no access to this body of thought except through the Hawaiian language.”  (2003).

With this thought, I hope the obvious path forward is to start learning Hawaiian language.  Below, I list several options for learning Hawaiian language that you may find useful.  If you have any general questions or requests, please don’t hesitate to contact me under the “Kaʻanaʻike” page on the menu above.

Learning Hawaiian Language in the Classroom 

The classroom is probably the best place to learn.  Some classes are slow.  I’m gonna write more on this at some point.

Classes in your grade school

Classes at University of Hawaii campuses

UH Mānoa Kawaihuelani

Other various classes are periodically held in the community.  Supposedly Kamehameha’s Ma’ili Community Learning Center has some.  I can’t think of any others off the top of my head right now, but if you have information, please comment or send an email through the Ka’ana’ike page.

Learning Hawaiian Language Online

Learning Hawaiian online from anywhere in the world has probably never been easier than it is now, given the many online learning programs that have been developed over the years by various organizations and motivated individuals.  The five options I’ve listed below are probably the best options available, with competent instructors/creators and curricula that will take you pretty far as far as language competence.  Some charge a membership fee and some are free.  I recommend picking one course and sticking with it rather than jumping between courses. (Free) (Free)

Learning Hawaiian Language in Books

Learning from a book gives you the most control over the pace of your education.  If you’re someone who can teach themselves the material out of a book, I’ve listed two of the best options I’m familiar with.  Both are textbooks widely used in high school and university classrooms.  As with online classes, I recommend picking one book and sticking with it rather than jumping between books.

Ka Lei Ha’aheo – Published in 1992, Ka Lei Ha’aheo was a widely used text in Hawaiian language classes in the 90’s and 2000’s.  It moves pretty quickly, includes amusing dialogues, and relies on somewhat obscure English grammar terms.  Some Hawaiian language scholars (i.e. my friends/teachers) have pointed out several “mistakes” in the book.  However, most of my early learning came from Ka Lei Ha’aheo, and I still highly recommend it for motivated learners.  You can find it on Amazon here:

Na Kai ‘Ewalu – First published in 1979 and updated most recently in 2012, Na Kai ‘Ewalu is the most current and widely used Hawaiian text in the last decade or so.  It goes into a bit greater depth than Ka Lei Ha’aheo and uses an updated (and sometimes confusing) system of “Hawaiian” grammar terms.  It doesn’t have many practice problems.  You can order it directly from UH Hilo’s Hale Kuamo’o Printing Press here:

Materials for Hawaiian Language Enrichment/Advancement: Databases, Dictionaries, Reference Books, Videos, and Recordings

Papakilo: (database)

Papakilo is a collection of Hawaiian language resources with a powerful search tool.

Ulukau: (database)

Ulukau is Within Ulukau, there are several particularly useful resources that you can browse even if you donʻt know exactly what youʻre looking for (but you can also search them).  Among my favorites are the Hawaiian BibleHawaiian Place Names, and the Hawaiian Newspapers.  The newspaper archive on Ulukauʻs is identical to the one on  The archive is not comprehensive and scans are often blurry; see the section on Hawaiian newspapers below to learn how to access the full archive of high quality microfilms and physical newspapers. (dictionary) is without a doubt the most widely used section of Ulukau,

Wehewehe Wikiwiki: (dictionary)

UH Hilo has its own online dictionary, called Wehewehe Wikiwiki (Wehe2Wiki2) that is supposedly faster and, importantly, offers results from a wider set of reference books by default.  The expanded search, which includes the Andrews and Parker dictionaries as well as Hawaiian Place Names and Place Names of Hawaii.

Hawaiian Language Concordance: (expanded dictionary)

Learning new words by reading English definitions is a really shallow way to learn vocabulary.  This concordance expands beyond the English definition, providing extra sample sentences that use the word.  The sample sentences come out of the Pukui/Elberts dictionary, but often are taken from another word entry that you wouldnʻt have seen while looking for the first word.  This is confusing, but try it out and itʻll make more sense.

The concordance was prepared by Stephen “Kepano” Trussel, a retired UH Professor in Linguistics who continues to take courses at UH Mānoa.  Kepanoʻs website also includes a host of other valuable resources, including a full-text archive of the Honolulu Star Advertiserʻs Kauakukalahale Hawaiian Language column.  The original articles are also on the Star Advertiserʻs own website, but you need a paid subscription to view them.

More Hawaiian Newspapers 

If you want to go beyond the limited and somewhat blurry newspaper archive available on Ulukau/Papakilo, you can find an index of the Hawaiian newspapers and their locations in Helen Geracimos Chapin’s Guide to Newspapers of Hawaiʻi, 1834-2000, searchable at this link.


Mānaleo – Native Hawaiian Speakers 

In the 70’s and 80’s, two motivated scholars both started independent projects to record interviews in  Hawaiian with the increasingly rare native speakers of Hawaiian language, termed mānaleo.  The interview recordings and (some) transcripts have been made available online for the public to access. (UH login required)