Maui News

Hawaiian Airlines Celebrates ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Month

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Hawaiian Airlines is celebrating mahina ʻōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language month) by partnering with local designer Keola Nakaʻahiki Rapozo to launch the ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Collection, a co-branded line of clothing and accessories whose sales proceeds will benefit Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School.

Hawaiian Airlines Celebrates ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Month. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

The collection, created by Make®eady Owner and FITTED Co-Founder Rapozo and available for pre-sale on Hawaiian’s online logo store, features seven items ranging from T-shirts to totes and mugs.

The inspiration behind the collection focuses on Ōhāhā, meaning “flourishing, fully developed, and healthy,” and was influenced by Rapozo’s own children with a goal to mālama the younger generation and encourage the normalization of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

All proceeds from the collection will be donated to Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau to support the windward O‘ahu school’s teaching of ʻōlelo Hawai‘i traditionally and digitally through innovative concepts.

Hawaiian Airlines and local designer Keola Nakaʻahiki Rapozo collaborate on the ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Collection. PC: Hawaiian Airlines.

Employees from Hawaiian’s volunteer program, Team Kōkua, will also work closely with teachers at Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau to develop Hawaiian language lessons for the airline’s Ke Kumu class, which is currently offered virtually to employees and retirees.

“We are proud ambassadors of our island home, and our employees embrace the opportunity to share the Hawaiian culture with each other and our guests,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community and cultural relations at Hawaiian Airlines. “We’re excited to grow mahina ʻōlelo Hawai‘i this year with a new design collaboration and school partnership while continuing to engage our guests with a unique onboard experience.”

Hawaiian kicked off mahina ʻōlelo Hawai‘i celebrations yesterday with an ʻōlelo Hawai‘i flight, a tradition now in its third year aimed at engaging its guests, employees and community members in the normalization and perpetuation of the Hawaiian language.


Hawaiian Airlines employees took guests by surprise when they conducted gate and inflight announcements in ʻōlelo Hawai‘i and English on four flights between Honolulu and Kona. Guests also received an ʻōlelo Hawai‘i interaction card with useful phrases for requesting beverages in ʻōlelo Hawai’i from the  Hawaiian language-certified flight attendants who crewed the flights.

Now in its third year, Hawaiian Airlines celebrated mahina ʻōlelo Hawai‘i with special Hawaiian language flights. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

“ʻO nā holo mokulele ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, he ala ia e ola ai ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi i lohe nā pepeiao o nā malihini a o nā kamaʻāina i ka ʻōlelo o ka ʻāina a ʻo ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian, nui ka poʻe lele me mākou kēlā lā, kēia lā,” wahi a Mālia Kruger, he kuene mokulele ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi hoʻi ma ka Hui Mokulele ʻo Hawaiian. “A no laila ka hiki ke hoʻomau i ka mālama i kēia ʻano holo ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a ʻoi aku ka poʻe e lohe nei i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, a he lanakila kēlā.”

“Our Hawaiian language flights are a great way to normalize the Hawaiian language,” said flight attendant Mālia Kruger, who worked yesterday’s ʻōlelo Hawai‘i flights. “We have hundreds of kamaʻāina and malihini (new) guests that fly with us every day so it’s a way for us to reach a broader community and get their ears used to hearing the language of our land.”

Throughout the month, Hawaiian will feature stories of its ʻohana who are fluent in ʻōlelo Hawai‘i and incorporate the language into their daily lives both at work and at home with their families. Their stories will be shared in a video series on our social media channels. As a fun way to engage viewers, the airline launched a weekly social media sweepstakes to encourage followers to post videos of themselves using ʻōlelo Hawai‘i for a chance to win ʻōlelo Hawai‘i collection items.


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