Corporate Anniversaries 2013: ‘Aha Punana Leo
E Ola Ka ‘O–lelo Hawai‘i, The Hawaiian Language Shall Live.
He Huliau. A turning point for the survival of ‘O–lelo Hawai‘i began on January 12, 1983 when seven Hawaiian language teachers met on Kaua‘i to discuss the state of the Hawaiian language. They knew that, with fewer than 50 speakers under the age of 18, the Hawaiian language was on the brink of extinction. Modeled after the Maori Kohanga Reo, they formed the grassroots organization ‘Aha Pu–nana Leo, Inc., “The Language Next Corporation”.
In the years that followed, barriers created after the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom – prohibiting education through the Hawaiian language, and skepticism regarding the academic performance of children educated through the medium of the Hawaiian language – were formidable obstacles to overcome for the vision to be realized. Today, the thousands of speakers of Hawaiian under the age of 30 are a testament to the success of the movement, but much more needs to be done to spread knowledge and use of Hawaiian in our islands.
He Huli Au. I am a source of new growth. Over the past 30 years, thousands of individuals have joined the movement to save the Hawaiian language. Parents, teachers, students and generous individuals have believed, invested, fought alongside, and become ‘Ohana Pu–nana Leo. Today, the success of Pu–nana Leo is recognized around the world as the foundation to a Hawaiian language education system that runs from infancy through the doctorate level. That success is evidenced in our students’ early reading fluency, in our teacher’s educational leadership, and in a 100 percent family participation in direct service to the school that results in over 13,000 in-kind service hours contributed annually. Mahalo nui loa. He mana ko ka ‘o–lelo, there is power in our language, and it is changing communities here in Hawai‘i and inspiring indigenous people around the world.
On March 16, 2013, ‘Aha Pu–nana Leo will hold it’s 9th annual Ne‘epapa I Ke O– Mau fundraiser. This year’s theme, He Huliau, He Huli Au, celebrates all the individuals who have contributed to the turning point for the Hawaiian language. Join us at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and commemorate your own story of how the Hawaiian language has shaped your identity through values, relationships, and pride in the Hawaiian culture.
For more information, call 1-800-498-4979, or visit www.ahapunanaleo.org.
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