The best Hawaiian quotes, proverbs and sayings

March 20, 2020 | Surfing
Hawaii: the Polynesia culture is rich in proverbs and sayings | Photo: Shutterstock

The Hawaiian culture is rich in proverbs and sayings about life, emotions, and daily activities.

The preservation of the ancient Hawaiian language is also a sign of the continuation of its tradition, lifestyle, poetry, and phraseology.

Profoundly inspired by its spiritual and religious roots, the ocean, natural environment, and volcanic ancestry, Hawaii is a philosophical epicenter for blending the power of the elements with the essence of Humanity.

That is one of the reasons why so many people from all over the world fall in love with the Pacific Ocean archipelago.

Travelers, explorers, artists, tourists, and writers always leave a part of their hearts in Hawaii after discovering its magical and inspirational vibes.

Take a look at some of the most popular quotes about Hawaii.

Explore the oldest, most iconic and relevant Hawaiian adages, aphorisms and maxims passed on through generations.

Hula: the traditional Hawaiian dance is performed for entertainment purposes, but is also has religious and spiritual goals | Photo: Shutterstock

The Most Famous Hawaiian Quotes

Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.
Paul Theroux

I left my heart in Hawaii.
Unknown Author

The history of Hawaii may be seen as a story of arrivals.
Susanna Moore

The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.
Mark Twain

Hawaii is a paradise born of fire.
Rand McNally

I believe Hawaii is the most precious jewel in the world.
Don Ho

Coming to Hawaii is like going from black and white to color.
John Richard Stephens

I feel very honored that the Hawaiian spirits chose to contact me.
Steven Magee

Let the old men, the old women, and the children go and sleep on the wayside; let them not be molested.
King Kamehameha I

Incredible as it might seem, Hawaii is like a gigantic raft, drifting slowly with the centuries.
Terence Barrow

The only good thing about leaving Hawaii is that you really appreciate it when you return.
John Richard Stephens

You don't have to live in Hawaii - or even be Hawaiian - to embrace the Aloha Spirit.
Mark Ellman

Hawaii is a paradise - and I can never cease proclaiming it. But I must append one word of qualification: Hawaii is a paradise for the well-to-do.
Jack London

Being in Hawaii, it's almost impossible not to be fit, I think.
Henry Ian Cusick

Hawaii is still the single most frequent fantasy destination, not because of political stability or conveniences, but because Hawaii seduces the imagination. It's the perfect postcard - no props, no fillers.
Robert Wintner

Beating the drums for Hawaii is not hard to do - the place just grows on you.
James MacArthur

Hawaii is the island of big dreams for both islanders and guests. Those dreams born in paradise can indeed come true.
Sharon Linnea

For me, the magic of Hawaii comes from the stillness, the sea, the stars.
Joanne Harris

Hawaii is the only place in the 50 states where you can see the stars of the entire northern and southern hemispheres.
John Richard Stephens

Hawaii is paradise. It sounds cheesy to say it, but there's music in the air there.
Bruno Mars

Any frequent visitor to Hawaii is fixated on mapping how the islands have changed since their last visit.
Hanya Yanagihara

People should know that Hawaii is a country and should be respected as such. Because it was forcibly annexed to the United States does not mean that it is the US, except by conquest.
Alice Walker

Hawaii is the only place I know where they lay flowers on you while you are alive.
Will Rogers

The Hawaiian people have been from time immemorial lovers of poetry and music, and have been apt in improvising historic poems, songs of love, and chants of worship.
Lydia Kamekeha Liliuokalani

Even the sweetness of a freshly cut pineapple from Hawaii is a sermon.
J. A. Medders

The hula is the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.
King David Kalakaua

Nature is where it all begins for the Hawaiians. In fact, they call themselves keiki o ka 'aina, the "children of the land."
M. J. Harden

We, the Hawaiian people, who are born from the union of Papahānaumoku and Wakea, Earth mother and sky father, and who have lived in these islands for over 100 generations, will always have the moral right to the lands of Hawaii now and forever, no matter what any court says.
Lilikalā K. Kame'eleihiwa

That greeting is Aloha - love, I love you, my love to you. Good day - what is it more than an impersonal remark about the weather? How do you do - it is personal in a merely casual interrogative sort of way. But Aloha! It is a positive affirmation of the warmth of one's own heart-giving. My love to you! I love you! Aloha!
Jack London

Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind.
Lilo & Stitch

Hawaiian English is like kahiko - the ancient dance - the kanaka dance of tradition, she says, harsh moves, slaps, and full of pounding force.
Garrett Hongo

In Hawaii, we have something called ho'oponopono, where people come together to resolve crises and restore peace and balance.
Duane Chapman

Hawaiian music is the roots for the Hawaiian people. It tells the history of where we came from. Not having Hawaiian music in my life would be like losing half of my body - because Hawaiian music helps me to be a better person.
Kevin Brown

I have always been proud to have been born in Hawaii.
Barack Obama

No one has family in Hawaii. Everyone is family in Hawaii.
Richie Norton

Hula is the language of the heart and, therefore, the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.
King David Kalakaua

Be the Aloha you wish to see in the world.
Unknown Author

Aloha is the unconditional desire to promote the true good of other people in a friendly spirit out of a sense of kinship.
Abraham Akaka

Hawaii: home of the Aloha Spirit | Photo: Shutterstock

Popular Hawaiian Proverbs and Sayings

A bad one breaks his board.

A child behaves like those who reared him.

A coral reef hardens into land.

A fisherman of the shallow sea uses only a short line; a fisherman of the deep sea has a long line.

A full sail helped him to arrive.

A good surfer will not get wet.

A heart as big as a house.

A humble person walks carefully so as not to hurt others. Don't walk all over people!

A stranger only for a day.

Abuse is like a god that destroys his master.

All knowledge is not taught in one school.

All power comes from within.

An expert is recognized by the altar he builds.

Be one in love.

Be patient. Don't give up too easily.

Be thankful for what you have.

By listening, one understands.

By observing, one learns. By listening, one commits to memory. By practice one masters the skill.

Come! Come! Come inside here. Sit down and rest till your weariness is gone from you, then have something to eat.

Continue to do good, and heaven will come down to you.

Dare to dance, leave shame at home.

Dashing of the waves in different directions.

Dip your paddle in and join the effort.

Distance is ignored by love.

Do not allow sins to get beyond creeping.

Do not disturb the water that is tranquil.

Don’t fear work, fear laziness.

Effectiveness is the measure of truth.

Energy flows where attention goes.

Enjoy the beat of other drums, but this is my song.

Everybody paddle the canoes together; bail and paddle, paddle and bail, and the shore is reached.

Go inquire of the other birds.

Hush, lest the wind arise.

If you do not take care of possessions, it will be stolen by rats.

If you plan for a year, plant kalo. If you plan for ten years, plant koa. If you plan for 100 years, teach the children.

If there is no surf, invoke seaward in the following manner:
Arise, arise great surf from Kahiki, the powerful curling waves.
Arise with the pohuehue.
Well up, long ranging surf.

In language, there is life; in language, there is death.

In the end, we will take care of only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.

In the language is life. In the language is death.

In the word is life, in the word is death.

In working, one learns.

It is through the way you serve others that your greatness will be felt.

Jealously belongs to the ugly.

Joy is in the voice of love.

Know the big currents, and the little currents.

Knowledge is gained in many schools.

Life is in speech; death is in speech.

Little work, little gain.

Live your life while the sun is still shining.

Love all you see, including yourself.

Love gives life within.

Love is like a cleansing dew.

Love is like fog - there is no mountain on which it does not rest.

Love is worn like a wreath through the summers and the winters.

Love one another.

Make every person, place, or condition better than you left it always.

May I be devoured by Pele, may I be devoured by a shark.

May there always be trade winds behind you, rainbows above you, and Aloha all around you.

May there always be warmth in your hale, fish in your net, and Aloha in your heart.

Never turn your back on the ocean.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.

No canoe is defiant on a stormy day.

No cliff is so tall it can't be climbed.

No deed lacks a reward.

No one is hurt by doing the right thing.

No one who takes care of his possessions has ever found them eaten by rats.

No task is too big when done together by all.

No youth of Kohala goes empty-handed.

Now is the moment of power.

Observe with the eyes. Listen with the ears. Shut the mouth.

One voice is enough.

Only when your face is slapped should you tell who your ancestors are.

Paddle together, bail, paddle. Paddle, bail. Paddle towards the land.

Put forward the paddle and draw it back.

Put in your dip of the paddle.

Rains always follow the forest.

Remain among the clumps of grass and do not elevate yourself.

Someone who speaks about "my inferiors" doesn't have them.

Strive to reach the highest.

Sweet tongues buy horses on credit.

That is what it should be - to turn the hands palms down, not palms up.

The awkward person always breaks the board in riding on the surf.

The fish at the top edge of the fire.

The future is in the past.

The goodness of the taro is judged by the young plant it produces.

The great night that provides, the great day that neglects.

The growth of love is the essence within the soul.

The land is a chief; man is its servant.

The Lehua blossom unfolds when the rains tread on it.

The leopard does not change his spots.

The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.

The parent is the support that holds the household together.

The prize goes to the quick one.

The Pu'ulena wind of Puna has passed.

The rain follows after the forest.

The rippling water where birds gather.

The sea is very calm. All is peaceful.

The secrets within me are seen through Aloha.

The site first, and then the building.

The sovereignty of the Kingdom is perpetuated by justice.

The stars are the eyes of heaven.

The tide recedes but leaves behind seashells on the sand. For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.

The traditions of the land are preserved by the youth.

The world is what you think it is.

There are no limits.

There is life in a gentle breath of wind.

There is life in a kindly reply.

There is life in the rain.

There is life in the water from the clouds.

Those above are going down, those below are going up.

Through work, one learns.

Tiny is the flower, yet it scents the grasses around it.

Treat a person who comes in kindness with kindness.

Try as you may to undo the good I have done, you cannot.

Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers.

Unite to move forward.

Walk softly along the trail and don’t touch anything, don’t look in places you shouldn’t or else the god(dess) will be angry.

Watch, and you will learn how to do it.

Watch out lest the canoe land on a rocky reef.

Watch your step, and don't let things you can see lead you into trouble.

Watch, observe. Help others and accept help. That is the family way.

We only love what we understand. We only understand what we are taught.

When love is given, love should be returned. Anger gives no life.

When one dreams of a canoe, there will be no luck the next day.

When one wants to dance the hula, bashfulness should be left at home.

When the heavens weep, the Earth lives.

When the surf rider is unskilled, the board is broken.

When the rain fell at Puuohaloa, where were you.

Where the hands move, there let the eyes follow.

While the sun is still up, let people work that the earth may live.

Wield the paddles together.

You are a chief because of your people.

You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.