ALOHA AND GRIT

ALOHA AND GRIT

And now…we interrupt our regular post-building for an important public service announcement:

As Hawaii trudges through the COVID-19 pandemic, PBS Hawaiʻi is reaching into our vast video archive to share pearls of wisdom about living with and getting past adversity. This campaign features brief but potent manaʻo online, on social media and on-air between regular programming.

The non-profit, statewide television station, with support from the Kamehameha Schools, are building what they are calling “a community resilience program.”  They are calling the program, “What’s It Going to Take: Aloha&grit,” and it is a beaut.

Apparently, the crew at PBS Hawai’i raided their film archives to find tidbits of wisdom that they’ve made into very short videos that are all uplifting and food for thought.  It is a lovely effort.

Since the station has been around since the 1960’s, that is one big film archive!

Click on the button and you’ll be taken to the Aloha&Grit newsletter.

click-here

In their first online newsletter, they included words of wisdom from four mana wāhine, women of great presence, who are among the most beloved of our modern Hawaiian cultural heroes.

The first was a lovely bit from Auntie Nona Beamer, the late kumu hula, exemplary educator, song composer and musician, who talks about gratitude and the beauty of life.

Auntie Nona is an icon.  From her youngest days she was an advocate and champion for authentic and ancient Hawaiian culture.  It was she who coined the word, “Hawaiiana,” for the study of all things Hawaiian.

For me, it was lovely to see her again and remember her always-shining beautiful spirit.

The second video was of Puanani Burgess, poet and community mediator, and her thoughts on the importance of behaving like ‘ohana, family, during times of adversity and crisis.  She says that in this time of crisis we are called upon by our ancestors to “behave as family.”

Burgess was the editor and a contributor for one of my favorite books, FROM THEN TO NOW:  A Manual For Doing Things Hawaiian Style,” which was originally written and produced in 1987 as part of the ‘Ōpelu Project, a community development grant.

The lady is many-faceted.  At one time she was a committed protestor and resister in the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement.  She is a Zen Buddhist priest, and a poet as well as a community mediator from Waianae, Oahu.

I love the description of her work with “Building the Beloved Community”, a community-building and conflict transformation process that she uses in her work as a mediator.  The process, it says here, is “based on bringing people face to face for ceremony, storytelling and healing circles of trust and respect.”

Chee wow!  Way, way cool!

In her Aloha&grit segment, native Hawaiian scholar and teacher Maenette Ah Nee-Benham explains the Hawaiian expansion of the definition of the concept of “family” beyond clannishness to include everyone sharing the same basic humanistic ideals.  It is an inclusive vision.

She says that “…’ohana does not always mean we are of the same blood” but that “we can agree on a set of principles and a mission for the work that we’re doing.”

Ah Nee-Benham currently serves as the chancellor for the University of Hawaii – West Oahu.  She has been doing that since 2017.

The last of the featured speakers in this episode is slack key guitarist Ku’uipo Kumukahi, “The Sweetheart of Hawaiian Music,” who is noted for her soothing nahenahe style of singing.

Kumukahi talks about how we Littles were taught to “help others when you can” by the Bigs in our lives.

She tells us what her mother said:  “If you can help, you help.  If you can give, you give.  And when you do something you put a lot of love into what you do.  And when you give, you give freely; you don’t expect anything back.”

It is a good, most pleasing reminder.

The first episode of this new PBS Hawaii series is a winner, I am thinking, and the series is one worth following.

MORE THAN JUST A TV SHOW

PBS Hawai’i is the only locally owned, statewide television station in Hawai’i which is also the sole Hawaii member of the Public Broadcasting service and the only licensed educational broadcaster in the state.

A nonprofit educational organization, it is supported by donations from their audience – individuals, families, businesses and charitable foundations. The federal government kicks in about fifteen percent of the operating budget through the nonprofit Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Their mission is marvelous: “We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches lives.”

What I especially like is the listing of the values that the group espouses.

  • PONO – rightness and balance
  • ‘IMI NA’AUAO – knowledge and wisdom
  • ALOHA KEKAHI I KEKAHI – respecting the dignity of others
  • KŪLIA I KA NU’U – strive for excellence
  • LŌKAHI – collaboration and unity
  • MĀLAMA – protect and care for

The values are similar to my own.

Here’s a poem.


THEY CAME

They came,

These women from

My past.

They came,

With old stories

And new.

 

They came,

Bringing with them

The breath of old dreams.

They came,

Bringing with them

Hearts full

Of long-standing love.

 

They came,

Reminders of where

I’ve been.

They came,

Memories of me

Now done.

 

They came.

 

I am grateful

They came.

By Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Maui sunset” by Ālvaro Reguly via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

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8 thoughts on “ALOHA AND GRIT

  1. As much as I could resonate better with the whole story here. I was forced to give or share a comment for the first time on your website because I actually got intrigued by the way the structure of the poem was and the message passed seamlessly alongside the whole concept of the article. 

    This is really great to see. Thanks for sharing such a worthy piece.

    1. Kimberly, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do thank you for noticing the understructure of this thing.  

      Please do come again.

  2. I hope this comes out right.

    Why should I care about Kekahi of others? They have no Lokahi for me. When I was at my lowest did anyone try Malama for me?

    My creator is a hard one. To be closer to him I have to find my own Pono. I have to take Imi Na’auao as I can find and find my way to Kulia.

    But I do secretly yearn for the community to come together and grant me the Lokahi they talk about.

    Pono, Pono!!!!  Creator! Grant me!
    Show to me someone I can be glad “They Came”. And I shall grant Malama to those who have need of it.

    Pono,…. Pono,… I cry… Pono,…. pono,… it rains… pono… pono… I am so far from…….

    1. Howzit James:

      Thank you for your piece, James. It points up one of the great divides between Western mindset and Polynesian mindset, I am thinking.

      In the Polynesian one, you give FIRST, rather than waiting on somebody else to make the first move. (It can be a hard one to fathom and an even harder one to do, it seems, if you are not raised up in it.)

      I suppose it does require a certain level of trust in other people to actually do it that way too, and, yeah, sometimes by doing it first you get egg all over your face because the other guys are just plain ol’ takers and don’t know how the giving thing is supposed to work.

      Historically, Hawaiians who live and walk in the real old-style have been taken advantage of badly as a result of this way of doing things.

      We keep doing it anyway, but more cautiously, watching the reactions of the ones who get what we can give. The world just works better for us when we do the old way, and we’ve learned to pay close attention to the results of our actions among people who have not been raised like us.

      One of the best explanations about an effective way to do this walk in these postmodern times was a book written by Wharton professor and organizational psychologist Adam Grant. His book, GIVE AND TAKE: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. It was a best seller.

      My own feeling about all of this is that “pono ” is NOT a gift from God. It’s something us humans have to work out for ourselves, together. The first step, it seems to me, is caring and sharing and doing old-style.

      Thanks for the visit, James. Please do come again…. I really do find your viewpoints valuable.

  3. Lucas Moore says:

    I do think that in times like these, we need more effective ways to lift our spirit and then the spirit of others. I was a bit confused when I first heard the term Aloha and grit. 

    Thank you for bringing to our knowledge, this public service announcement. it is indeed helpful.

    1. Thanks for your visit, Lucas.  I’m glad you found the post helpful.

      Please do come again.

  4. Netta,

    It is so wonderful to see a community coming together during this time of crisis and when our country itself seems to be tearing apart.  Your poem really engaged these beautiful stories.  Thank you so much for this post!  

    I wish I lived in Hawaii right now but I hope to visit my grandmother there soon as she does live there! 

    KARA

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Kara.  I do appreciate it.  

      Please do come again.

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