William Kauaiwi‘ulaokalani Wallace III and Richard K. Kamoa‘elehua Walk, “Hawaiian Values and the Gospel,” in Pioneers in the Pacific, ed. Grant Underwood (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005) 91–100.

William Kauaiwi‘ulaokalani Wallace III, also known as “Uncle Bill,” was an associate professor and director of the Jonathan Nāpela Center for Hawaiian Language and Cultural Studies at Brigham Young University–Hawai‘i when this was published. He served a two-year mission among the Native American Indian Tribes of North and South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Minnesota.


Kamoa‘e Walk was an assistant professor and assistant director of the Jonathan Nāpela Center for Hawaiian Language and Cultural Studies at Brigham Young University–Hawai’i when this was published.

This chapter presents highlights from a panel discussion that took place on October 8, 1997, as part of the Pioneers in the Pacific Conference. [1] Several major themes emerged from that session. First is the importance of Ke Akua (God) in the life of the Hawaiian people. Second, we focus on pule (the power of prayer). Third, we consider the ‘ohana (family) and how important it is in the life of the Hawaiian people. What comes through in all the presentations is that the Hawaiian people are hard working, not only praying to their God for assistance and having great faith in their religion, but working hard to care for the land, the things that surround them, and their families. We believe that this is the major theme that holds everything together. All Hawaiian values discussed by the presenters focus on “action” words and phrases. Therefore, it is important as we discuss each of these themes that we portray our people as not being merely passive, but active people who understand what James meant when he said, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). We will conclude our chapter by discussing in more detail the importance of faith and works and how our Hawaiian people understand this and make it a very important part of their everyday life. Holo Imua! Let us journey forward!


The words of Kumu Hula (hula master) John Kaimikaua rang out as a call for all of us to reflect upon our identity and our relationship with our ancestors and with our Heavenly Father as an integral part of being saviors upon Mount Zion when he said:

I would like to state that for all of us who are descendents of Father Lehi, it is very important that we learn the language of our forefathers, and it is very important that we learn the culture of our forefathers. Because if we do not, we will not be able to fulfill all the reasons why the Lord has saved us, the descendants of our ancestors, to be born in these last days. Without the knowledge of the language, without the knowledge of the culture, it will be impossible to do genealogy work. Because when our ancestors shall come forth to help us in genealogy, they will be speaking the language they spoke upon the earth, and they will come in the manner and how they lived upon the earth. That is why it is important for all of us to make it a value to learn these things of our ancestors that we are able to save them in the spirit world. Mahalo. [2]

“If You Go to the Source, It Comes from God.”

We begin our discussion by reviewing the words of Uncle [3] David Parker, who opened the conference by stating, “If you go to the source, it comes from God. And so for me the rock-bottom foundation for all Hawaiian values is the word aloha.” [4] He explained that “the word aloha, when used by Hawaiians is very well understood; if you are coming or going you use the word aloha. If you have a great love for someone, the word aloha is used.” [5] Uncle David also discussed the importance of understanding the many ways in which aloha symbolizes all that is given to us from God. He stressed that the ha in the word aloha is cherished by the Hawaiian people since it represents the “breath of life” and the essence that is in all things and that is in tune with all things; it demonstrates that there is a oneness with God. For him, aloha is the root word of all values for Hawai’i and the Hawaiian people and that it should also be the same for all those who are members of the Church. [6]

Kupuna (respected senior) Albert Like explained, “Aloha is a philosophical approach to living based on service rather than exploitation, giving rather than taking, selflessness rather than selfishness, conservation rather than wastefulness, respect rather than oppression, love rather than hate. These insights prompt one to think of his Hawaiian heritage and identity.” [7] Kupuna Like went on to say that “there is a yearning today among the young people for some kind of unification that will bring the older and the younger generation together and give the young people some cause for identification other than color, dancing the hula, or singing songs.” [8]

Throughout his discussion of Hawaiian identity, Kupuna Like stated, “The motto of the State of Hawai’i, which is ‘Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Ā ina I Ka Pono’ (the spirit of the land is preserved in righteousness), is sacred to the Hawaiians. It represents the noble ideals and traits of Hawai’i, and should that priceless word aloha be desecrated and trampled under foot, Hawai’i would no longer be Hawai’i. The present-day Hawaiian family is fully aware of its heritage and will endeavor in every way to preserve its Hawaiian identity and appreciate its Hawaiian heritage.” [9] Kupuna Like is right. We must live with aloha in our hearts, and we must know who we are and what we stand for as a people, and we must keep our relationships strong and spiritually based and care for everyone.

On the Hawaiian people’s relationship with God, Aunty Kapua Sproat Fonoimoana stated that we must “ho‘omākaukau, which means to be prepared at all times. . . . And so in our quest to be prepared at all times this requires, as is true in the gospel . . . ho‘olohe that we listened with our eyes, and with our heart, and with our spirit, and with our whole being. It required a total immersion of our surroundings, so that we could truly hear and, even more important . . . listen to what was not said as well as [to] what was said.” [10] Aunty Kapua asked what are we “being prepared for?” Her response was that “we were not just preparing for disaster, but we prepare so that we are more capable of meeting the demands of life in general. To be prepared in this total sense requires of course harmony with our environment.” [11]

How can harmony with our environment help us establish a closer relationship with God? Aunty Kapua’s example on being prepared shows us how we can establish this closer relationship with God. She stated,

I spent the whole morning preparing to tell you about being prepared. I went to the mountains and helped gather materials for leis for my daughter’s hālau (hula school) that will be performing on Saturday in Honolulu and also communicating and listening to the spirit of all things. As we gathered ferns . . . we prayed [which] exercised another great value; . . . that was ho‘omaika’i, which means respect or [to] practice proper protocol for whatever the activity was at hand. And so as we approached the mountain scene, my daughter and I said a prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for the abundance of la‘au [plants] that were there and for the beauty of the la‘au; we asked that we could pick them and then we proceeded to pick. We got to a certain point, and then I said to my daughter, ‘Uhane [the spirit] says it is enough, it is time to quit.’ She said that she had that same message too. So we quit and we proceeded about our activities. [12]

Aunty Kapua and her daughter were both guided by the spirit in how much they should gather and take from the forests. She also followed the protocol of not only taking and gathering but also the importance of making gifts, or ho‘okupu, which she could share with everyone as she explained in her presentation,

As I came to this gathering today, I came with a ho‘okupu [gift] for all of you. And so when the panel is over, I invite you to come and eat the gift of food that I have brought for you. And in preparation I brought you some of my favorite things. And because Hawaiians recognize that Heavenly Father created all things, they were created in the spirit first, they have a spirit, and they have a name. And so we treat them as if they were an entity. Everything we gather, we don’t just go in there and help ourselves, but we approach it with respect and protocol. For that which has been provided we seek permission from our fellow creations of our Heavenly Father. I wish you could be closer. In being prepared we not only prepare for the mind and the body but also for joy. . . . I wish you could smell the intoxicating aroma of the white ginger. I wonder how anyone would want to sniff glue when they could sniff ginger. I also brought this poi pounder. It’s been in my family for I don’t know how long. People I know often work in the farm or go to the mountains alone and people say, “Don’t you feel lonesome being all by yourself?” Why should I feel lonesome; these are all my friends. I talk to the plants, and when I leave them I let them know they are there for me. [13]

In her summary of preparedness as a means of being close to God, Aunty Kapua stated that “part of our total preparation of course if we are in tune, listening to the spirit, we will know how to prepare and what to prepare. Therefore we are always ready. Ready for what? Ready for anything because we have made total preparation.” [14] The story shared by Kumu Hula John Kaimikaua ties all of these experiences together. He stated, “My great-grandfather had many spiritual abilities that enabled him to heal the sick, command the elements of nature, and to know of past and future events. With the spiritual powers that he possessed, my great-grandfather had the ability to cast out unclean spirits and to protect his family from unclean spiritual influences.” [15] He went on to say,

In the 1930s, my great-grandfather met and became a close friend with Elder Castle B. Murphy, who served as the mission president on the island of Hawai’i at that time. During the course of their friendship, Elder Murphy witnessed great-grandfather’s spiritual gifts and abilities, and he was also taken into the family burial cavern by my great-grandfather. Knowing the purpose of his friend’s mission in Hawai’i, my great-grandfather never showed interest in the Church until Elder Murphy one day spoke to my great-grandfather about the Melchizedek Priesthood. Upon hearing that the Melchizedek Priesthood once existed on the earth and then [was] taken from the earth after the death of Jesus Christ and His apostles, and then the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, my great-grandfather began to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ and he greatly desired to be baptized. With a full understanding of the prerequisite before he could enter into the waters of baptism to discontinue his spiritual prophecies as the kahuna [priest], my great-grandfather met difficult opposition from family and friends. By detaching himself from the ancient practices as bestowed upon him from birth, my great-grandfather had a full understanding and acceptance of the spiritual consequences of his actions. Nonetheless, great-grandfather ended his obligations to the ancient family’s practices by severing all spiritual ties as kahuna, and he was baptized and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [16]

picture of taro ground upFig. 1. The taro plant can symbolize the importance of connecting the past with the present, and the poi bowl can symbolize the sustaining nourishment from ancestors and family. Courtesy of BYU–Hawai‘i

In further discussion of his great-grandfather’s decision to join the Church, John stated,

Several weeks after great-grandfather’s baptism, Elder Murphy visited my great-grandfather and asked, “Why, with all the marvelous spiritual gifts and abilities that you possess, why did you throw away those things for the Church?” My great-grandfather sat him down and explained, “When I was a child, I was trained by my father and grandfather. They taught and bestowed upon me the gifts and responsibilities of the kahuna. In my training they cautioned me that the power that they gave me was a lesser power. They went on to explain that our ancestors once possessed a greater power, but it was taken from our people and they were given a lesser power, the very power that we have given to you. My father and grandfather foresaw the return of the greater power to the Hawaiian Islands and warned me that one day soon, I would recognize the greater power that our ancestors waited for centuries to return. That greater power that our ancestors once possessed and waited for many generations to return was the Melchizedek Priesthood.” My great-grandfather remained steadfast and unchanged in his belief and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was through his sacrifice and examples that inspired me to know of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the earth. [17]

What great and remarkable principles of faith and full conversion to the gospel are found in the conversion story of Kumu Hula John Kaimikaua’s great-grandfather, and it does not end there. For, as John stated,

It has also brought me to know my true heritage as a descendent of Father Lehi, and through the hand and guidance of the Lord, our forefathers were brought across the oceans with the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ to settle upon the beautiful and blessed islands of Hawai’i. I know that there was a falling away from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ among the descendents of those who first came to Hawai‘i. And through the knowledge that I have received from my great-grandfather’s lineage and cultural traditions and by his example of embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ and being baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a great restoration of truth and light has occurred within my family lineage, and I know that it comes with a great responsibility to my ancestors and to do temple work for them. [18]

Uncle Ambrose Velasco shed more light on the importance of missionary work for our kindred dead when in his paper he discussed how Benjamin F. Johnson, a branch president in Honolulu, noticed that while many non-Mormons who received priesthood blessings recovered from smallpox, an alarming number of Mormons (Hawaiians) did not. Over two hundred members died in the smallpox epidemic in the early 1850s. Uncle Ambrose stated that after fervent prayer, Brother Johnson received a vision and made this statement, “I saw multitudes of their race (Hawaiians) in the spirit world that have lived before them, and there was not one there with the priesthood to teach them the gospel. The voice of the spirit said to me, ‘sorrow not, for they [those who died] are now doing that greater work for which they were ordained, and it is all of the Lord.’” [19] It is clear that those Hawaiian members of the Church who died during this period of time had special missions to fulfill in the spirit world as both Kumu Hula John Kaimikaua and Uncle Ambrose Velasco have testified. Understanding the language, the culture, and the way of life of our people surely helped in the lifting of the veil that separated the spirit world from this sphere of our earthly existence.

In the discussions that followed the presentations, questions were raised concerning the importance of learning the Hawaiian language. Kumu Hula John Kaimikaua counseled,

When we are going to study the language, when we are going to do genealogy, let’s take the language and we’re going to study the language. You are going to read material. Before going and studying those things of our ancestors you have to prepare the way spiritually. And the way to prepare spiritually is to pray and to help Father in Heaven to guide us and to help us that if it is His will to show us where we can go to learn of our kupuna [elders]. And to ask Him for His Spirit to guide you and also to ask Him if it His will that the righteous of our ancestors will come forth and also be guardians to guide you to the places, whether it be in dreams or whether they will direct you to an individual or a place to find this knowledge. When asking the Lord, you have to also tell the Lord what is your reason for learning, for there has to be a reason, and the reason has to be pono [or right], and when the reason is pono, then you will be led by the Lord where to go. [20]

Another question was asked concerning how we can be Hawaiian and also be members of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Kumu Hula Keith Awai gave a good analogy in answering this question by stating,

We go back to stories, stories that were told. All of us, or most of us know of poi. Poi is the staff of life. In Hawaiian homes we have a poi bowl, like how other people have fruit bowls. I was raised in a happy way that we have poi all the time. When you eat poi, you eat from the middle of the bowl and it symbolizes going for the best in life, but you always eat from the middle. That is one lesson we learned just by sitting at the table. The other was that as we ate like that it keeps the bowl clean. As we keep the bowl clean, we keep our family clean because that is us in that bowl. So two lessons [are to] go for the best in life and keep clean. The same bowl is used, another lesson, because the same is used you cannot always take and not give back. So as you make new poi and put it into the bowl what you take from life, you also give back. Those lessons we learned just by sitting around a bowl of poi. Also, when the meal is over, what do we do with the bowl? What does kahi mean? Kahi means to repent from sin, to clean that which you have done wrong, so as grandpa and grandma or dad or mom clean the dinner up they kahi the bowl of poi and tell us, did you do anything wrong today? If so, you must fix that for tomorrow.” [21]

Following correct principles in both Hawaiian culture and the gospel will bring us closer to God and to all of those around us.

“The Song of the Righteous Is a Prayer unto Me.”

The power of prayer is significant to the Hawaiian people, and it gives them strength in all aspects of their life. Prayer to the Hawaiian people can be uttered in many different ways through chants, songs, genealogies, and deep personal feelings. Kumu Hula Keith Awai began his presentation with a traditional Hawaiian chant with full interpretation and explanation given in the transcript. [22] He said, “Our Heavenly Father delights in the song of the heart, because a song of the heart is like a prayer unto Him.” [23] Keith went on to say that “the Hawaiian people greet each other in song. . . . And whenever we start our Church meeting, how do we start? With a song. You know that these simple things, as far as I am concerned, show me how much of the gospel our people knew.” Discussing the importance of music as a spiritual connection for our people, he stated, “We know that music that is composed by our elders and our people . . . would be uplifting and positive. None of the music that was composed was negative because in proper culture you did not use negative terms, you used positive terms. . . . You should always uplift; you always do things like this in order to help our cousins and our brothers and sisters.” [24]

Fig. 2. “Aunty” Gladys Pualoa and “Uncle” Joseph Ahuna Sr. Courtesy of BYU–Hawai‘iFig. 2. “Aunty” Gladys Pualoa and “Uncle” Joseph Ahuna Sr. Courtesy of BYU–Hawai‘i

In his own efforts to teach his family members, Keith stated, “As I try to . . . teach my nephew and nieces Hawaiian songs . . . I try to instill in them the value of these songs . . . because of what the songs say and what they tell. So many of our songs that we do are prepared for the great things that helped our Saints cross the western plains, it was these hymns that gave them this energy and perseverance to continue and go on. . . . Same with us as Hawaiian people, when we do things . . . we create a song for them. We use music to uplift us in everything that we do.” [25]

Keith further explained that his grandfather taught him faith and that when you do not exercise faith then you can get into trouble. Keith also said that there is a definite connection between our people who crossed the Pacific and the early pioneers who crossed the plains and that connection was their faith and their prayers and their steadfastness in their testimonies and their understanding of the “gospel principles and the culture.” [26]

Aunty Gladys Pualoa told us that in addition to the importance of song as a symbol of faith, the Hawaiian people said prayers on many different occasions. Because the strength of the Hawaiian people was centered in the ‘ohana, or the family, it was important for them to be able to have the prayers of all family members. Aunty Gladys stated, “Everything was done in prayer, you said prayers for everything that you did, you till the soil, you go fishing, and whatever you did was done in prayer. The happenings of the day were something that encumbered the whole family. And there was so much love given, there was so much that was expected of you.” [27] The prayers of family members, individually as well as collectively, in secret or in concert with the ‘ohana, are important to the overall stability and state of pono for all Hawaiian families and more so for those who were members of Church.

‘Ohana, the Strength of the Family

To complete his assignment for the conference, Vonn Logan enlisted the help of his daughters, Abby and Liz. Both of them were anxious to help their father prepare to share his thoughts. [28] It was a good idea for Vonn to seek out the assistance of his daughters, since they were able to share many valuable pieces of information with their father. Some of the Hawaiian values that they mentioned included: ‘ohana (family), ha‘aha‘a (humility), laulima (working together), ho‘oponopono (to set things right), lōkahi (unity), hō‘ihi (having respect for all living things), and finally aloha (love). [29] This is a good example of a family coming together to help each other on a major family project.

In seeking more information from his daughters concerning their own personal understanding about these values, Vonn explained that his daughters’ responses were alarming. They talked about the turmoil that currently grips the Hawaiian community involving individuals and institutions, the accusations that are flying back and forth, the constant bickering and political maneuvering, and the social problems that entangle our communities and our families. The picture began to look very bleak indeed. Vonn explained that as he thought about the picture that began to emerge from this very visible segment of our Hawaiian community, he could not help but think how different they all were from his own pattern of what he thought a good Hawaiian that truly understood every Hawaiian value was like.

In so doing, Vonn reflected upon his memory of his grandmother Eugenia Logan. To him, his grandmother truly embodied the values that the Hawaiian culture cherished. Each of the values selected by his daughters clearly described his grandmother. He asked himself the question, “Why was she able to achieve what is proving to be so difficult for so many of us?” In reflecting on this question, Vonn stated that his grandmother would say, “I was able to become the person I was [am] because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Vonn went on to say,

To explain the relationship between living Hawaiian values and the gospel, let me draw a parallel between any of us that have believed better than we have lived can relate to. One of my heroes from the New Testament is the Apostle Peter. There have been many times in my life when I have felt just like him. Filled with enthusiasm and determination, only to dive in then find my faith inadequate to complete what I started. How was Peter able to go from sinking beneath the waves and denying three times that he even knew Christ to becoming a martyr for the cause of truth? Well, it is my belief that the reason Hawaiian values have such a strong fit with the gospel is because they share common roots. Our ancestors joined the Church in large numbers after it arrived here because it was familiar to them. But living up to the values that our culture cherishes prove to be very difficult. What then is the relationship between the gospel and these values? [30]

Vonn concluded by stating, “The example that my grandmother was to me can exemplify these values and was also possible for her because of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Like the transformation of the sometimes timid and many times emotional and always well-intentioned Peter, our individual ability to live as we believe may be attainable only with outside help. The expectations that our culture has on us, by way of readily acknowledged values, puts a heavy responsibility on our people.” [31] Vonn stated, “As we look to our community in general, we need to ask ourselves, ‘why is it so hard to live like we believe?’” The answer he gives is this: “To me it is very simple, and it was very simple to my grandmother as well. The way to become a good Hawaiian is to become a good Latter-day Saint.” [32]

According to Aunty Gladys Pualoa Ahuna, “The family was the center of the whole community. It was of major importance. We, today, have family home evening on Monday nights. They had family [home] evening at the end of the workday, every day. They would have the family gather. The elders were at the head of the room with the makua (parents), the ‘ōpio (older children), and the keiki (younger children), and they would counsel. They would talk about the happenings of the family, what needed to be done, how things were going, and they took care of anything that was happening with the [practice or implementation of] ho‘oponopono.” [33] Aunty Gladys went on to say that it was “so important that everything was done within the family unit. As kupuna [or elders] you had your job in the family community, the work you performed on a daily basis. When you reached an age when it was time for you to retire, when you were told that you were too old and to get out of the workplace, when you felt that, you simply removed yourself from that task and that task was filled by someone else. From that time on you were taken care of by the family. There were no rich, there were no poor, and there was no crime. The family unit was so important that if you broke a law, your name was simply removed from the family.” [34] Aunty Gladys also stated that it was important not to bring shame upon the family and that breaking the law did bring shame upon the family and as such the family worked hard to support one another and make sure that all things within the family were pono or right. She also said that the family is “built around Heavenly Father.” [35]

Uncle Sam Kekauoha added to the importance of the above stories by admonishing, “‘Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land’ (Exodus 20:12). This commandment carries a special promise that if you love your parents, you respect your parents, you will be blessed.” He further stated, “Today many of us are looking for our beliefs and if you do this, you honor your parents. But the most important part of knowing where you come from is what you do with this information. Many have searched and many are still searching, but what do we do with this information? The reason that we do genealogy and do research is so that we can honor our parents.” [36] Uncle Sam went on to share some stories about growing up in Lā‘ie: “I had an uncle dad, or an auntie mother, and if you got out of hand and you were with auntie or uncle you got hit. And so everyone, all of the relatives, we all took care of each other. Today many of us are afraid to go over to uncle’s house, because uncle’s going to say, ‘What you want?’” As Uncle Sam explained, things have changed and today’s families in many cases are not as close as they used to be, and this is a concern for all of us. However, if we continue to do our genealogy and honor our ancestors, Uncle Sam stated, “As you start to see your family’s face, then you honor your parents. Then the commandment, it comes true, it gives you all the promises that your days may be long upon the earth. And it is necessary that in your searching that you seal yourself to your family. The end result is that families are indeed forever.” [37]

“Faith without Works Is Dead.”

Aunty Gladys Pualoa explained, “When a child was born into this family unit, much care was given to the name that would be given to this child. According to the size, the time, the place of the birth of this child, a name would be picked. The name was a very sacred name. Because . . . the time of birth determine the future of this infant. The name that was given was held sacred; it [the child] was not called by that name. From that point on this infant was trained to do that work that would be his future. He was trained by his makua (parents) and his kupuna (elders) and if as a child grew it seemed that he would fulfill his calling, then the name was revealed. If this child was not to fulfill the calling that was given at the time of birth, a new name was given and the sacred name was never revealed.” [38] The people of this time according to Aunty Gladys, “lived the law of consecration. . . . Their faith was so strong.” [39]

Fig. 3. “Uncle” Samuel Kekauoha Courtesy of BYU–Hawai‘iFig. 3. “Uncle” Samuel Kekauoha Courtesy of BYU–Hawai‘i

Aunty Gladys continued to share her own personal experiences on faith and commitment to family through the example of the following story that happened to her while visiting ‘Aotearoa (New Zealand). “I received word that my husband had been quite ill. . . . His health was not good; . . . he had to go to the hospital. [A Maori elder] said, ‘That’s all right, Gladys; we’re going to go on tour today, and when we get to my home you can call.’ So we went on our tour and as we got there, I called home to find out that he had gone to the hospital but that he was at home and everything was pretty much all right. [The Maori elder] had a huge smile on his face, and . . . in a circle we held hands and he was going to do a prayer. And for the longest time he said nothing, and then he began his prayer. [He later told me] I went to see your husband, and he is fine and he will be all right . . . And everything is okay at home. And it just astounded me.” [40]

It is important to note that in all of these examples, the elements of faith and works were always present. In addition to faith, prayer and supplication and intervention by others were also critical in making things pono (right). From the Hawaiian cultural perspective, it is important that people take action before the Lord will intervene with any spiritual blessings and such blessings are given both here in this life on earth as well as in the spirit world, for there is closeness to both realms of life for we all live in different stages of transition. Our faith and our works will determine our point of progress both in this world and in the world of spirits.


There is no doubt in our minds that God lives and that He hears and answers our prayers. All that has been shared has come about by faith, prayer, meditation, and humility as we tried to leave ourselves open to the promptings of the Spirit, for we know that the Spirit of the Holy Ghost can teach us the truth of all things. And, while imperfect, we can still move forward to accomplish tasks that may far exceed our own personal abilities and vision. The words of our kupuna and those who participated in the conference continue to resonate within our hearts and minds and will continue to give us strength in the days to come. We hope that each of you who read this chapter will do so with a prayer in your heart that will help us to preserve the language and culture of our Hawaiian people. This is not a selfish request but, instead, a humble one as we understand the significance of the work yet to be done for so many of our ancestors who did not have the opportunity to hear the gospel and are still waiting in the spirit world to be taught by missionaries who have an understanding of their native tongue.

We join in the words of Uncle Ambrose Velasco by saying, “With gratitude and much thanksgiving we acknowledge the many pioneers for their great sacrifice, their great courage, their labors, their faith, their devotion to truth, and their love, to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ not only to the Hawaiian people in this dispensation, but also, to those who were in the world of spirit thousands of years so they too may receive that greatest gift we may receive, eternal life.” [41]

How will our ancestors who have passed on receive eternal life? The following chant, written in October 1997 for the Pioneers in the Pacific Conference by Kumu Hula Cy Bridges, calls to all the descendants of these pioneer ancestors to come forward, to be proud of their heritage, to complete the work that needs to be done on their behalf, to make the right choices, and to constantly listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd:

Come forward and appear, you precious flowers arising in the calmness of this special day,

Each of you are taking up the challenge of not simply climbing a high mountain but you have chosen to climb the highest and most majestic mountain of all,

For is it not so that you our children are so very precious; in fact, you are the most precious adornment worn around the neck of your ancestors,

Come forward, come forward, for there are many roads for you to choose,

Be sure to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd, for He will always keep you, protect you, and show you the way.

This chant ties the past with the present and gives the present generation clear kuleana (responsibility) to come forward and to do what is necessary to save their family members who have not yet received the gospel of Jesus Christ. By so doing, we will magnify our own testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and become filled with joy. A hui hou, e mālama pono. Until we meet again, may all be well and right with each of you.


[1] “Hawaiian Values and the Gospel: Key Concepts” was a session consisting of nine speakers at the Pioneers in the Pacific Conference at Brigham Young University–Hawai’i in Lā’ie, Hawai’i on October 8, 1997, transcript in author’s possession. Unless otherwise cited, all quotations herein come from this transcript and will be hereafter be cited by speaker name and corresponding transcript page number.

[2] Kaimikaua, 11; emphasis added.

[3] “Uncle” and “Aunty” are terms of respect and endearment used in addressing senior members of the Hawaiian community. They do not imply blood relationship.

[4] Parker, 2–3.

[5] Parker, 2.

[6] Parker, 3.

[7] Like, “Preservation of the Hawaiian Identity,” 391.

[8] Like, “Preservation of the Hawaiian Identity,” 391.

[9] Like, “Preservation of the Hawaiian Identity,” 392–93.

[10] Fonoimoana, 8.

[11] Fonoimoana, 8.

[12] Fonoimoana, 8.

[13] Fonoimoana, 8–9.

[14] Fonoimoana, 9.

[15] Kaimikaua, 10.

[16] Kaimikaua, 10–11.

[17] Kaimikaua, 11.

[18] Kaimikaua, 11.

[19] Velasco, “Leaders from the Past,” 8–9.

[20] Kaimikaua, 12.

[21] Awai, 14.

[22] Awai, 4–5.

[23] Awai, 5.

[24] Awai, 5.

[25] Awai, 5.

[26] Awai, 5.

[27] Pualoa, 6.

[28] Logan, 3.

[29] Logan, 4.

[30] Logan, 4.

[31] Logan, 4.

[32] Logan, 4.

[33] Pualoa, 6.

[34] Pualoa, 6.

[35] Pualoa, 6.

[36] Kekauoha, 9.

[37] Kekauoha, 9–10.

[38] Pualoa, 6–7.

[39] Pualoa, 7.

[40] Pualoa, 7.

[41] Velasco, 9.