How to Pronounce Words in Hawaiian (‘Ōlelo Hawai’i)

A“ah” like “Car”
E“eh” like “Met”
I“ee” like “Feet”
O“oh” like “Hole”
U“oo” like “Boot”
AE“ah-eh” like “Wyatt”
AI“ah-ee” like “Bike”
AO“ah-oh” like “Cow”
AU“ah-oo” like “Out”
EI“eh-ee” like “Babe”
IU“ee-oo” like “Few”
OI“oh-ee” like “Toy”
OU“oh-oo” like “Row”
In general…
If a word begins with “W” or if it follows “U” or “O”, it is frequently, but not always, pronounced as in “Water” (e.g. Wailuku – Wahyee-loo-koo).

If “W” follows “I” or “E”, it is usually pronounced as “V” as in “Valor”.
(e.g. Ewa Beach — Eh-vah)

If “W” follows “A”, it might be pronounced as “V” or “W”.
(e.g. Lawa — Lah-vah;
Makawao — Mah-kah-wow)
The ‘okina, which is often written with an apostrophe (‘), signifies a glottal stop. The ‘okina breaks-up vowels, so they don’t become diphthongs. It is almost like there are semicolons in the middle of words which separate syllables. The ‘okina can totally change the meaning of a word.
(e.g. Lānaʻi — Lah-nah-ee = Name of Island off the coast of Maui;
Lānai — Lah-naee = Porch or balcony;
Ka’i –Kah-ee = To coach, train, march;
Kai = Kaee = Saltwater, ocean water)
The kahako is a macron which is written as a line above certain vowels that indicates a vowel that is held creating a stress in the pronunciation of a word. (e.g. Haleakalā – Ha-le-a-ka-LA)

Club Oli

This oli (chant) was composed by Uncle Lloyd and chanted at the end of practices and before races.

Pa’a KamoleOne with the Earth
Pa’a KalaniOne with the Heavens
Pa’a BeniciaOne with BOCC
I’i Ke KuakahiAll Together Now

Usually, we would all put our hands together while chanting the oli and lift them as we say, “Hu!” However, as part of our COVID-19 Protocol, we stand 6 feet apart in a circle and throw a shaka out out towards the middle.

Photo of us chanting the oli by Ant Gutierrez after the Memorial Paddle for John “Keoni” Cancino.

Hawai’i Aloha

Lyrics written by Rev. Lorenzo Lyons (also known as Makua Laiana), and the music was composed by James McGranahan.

E Hawaiʻi e kuʻu one hānau e
Kuʻu home kulaīwi nei
ʻOli nō au i nā pono lani ou
E Hawaiʻi, aloha ē

E hauʻoli e nā ʻōpio o Hawaiʻi nei
ʻOli ē! ʻOli ē!
Mai nā aheahe makani e pā mai nei
Mau ke aloha, no Hawaiʻi

E haʻi mai kou mau kini lani e
Kou mau kupa aloha, e Hawaiʻi
Nā mea ʻōlino kamahaʻo no luna mai
E Hawaiʻi aloha ē

Nā ke Akua e mālama mai iā ʻoe
Kou mau kualono aloha nei
Kou mau kahawai ʻōlinolino mau
Kou mau māla pua nani ē

O Hawaiʻi, O sands of my birth
My native home
I rejoice in the blessings of heaven
O beloved Hawai’i

Be joyous, O youth of Hawai’i
Rejoice! Rejoice!
May gentle breezes blow
Love for Hawai’i is eternal

May your divine throngs speak
Your loving people, O Hawaiʻi
The holy light from above
O beloved Hawai’i

May God protect you
Your beloved mountain ridges
Your ever glistening streams
Your beautiful gardens of flowers

Download and print a better version of this sheet music at Musescore

This mele is often sung at regattas, long distance canoe races, and at NCOCA meetings. Following popular custom, you hold hands and gently sway with the person next to you while singing only the first verse once and the hui (chorus) twice, tagging the last line to end the song. As you repeat the last line of the hui, it is also tradition to raise your arms.

NOTE: For the closing tag, instead of repeating the last line of the hui, Mau ke aloha, no Hawai’i, the last line of the first verse is often repeated instead: E Hawaiʻi aloha ē.

Here is a video of students from schools in Hawai’i as well as local recording artists singing the entire song.

Click the button below to download the ukulele chords so you can practice this mele at home. Hawai’i Aloha is also often sung at by kanikapila groups at the end of the uke jam.

Here is a tutorial video by Steven Espaniola to help teach you to play Hawai’i Aloha on the ukulele.

You can also play and sing along with Keiko.

I Ku Mau Mau

Alaka’i = Leader
Pane = Response by all

I ku mau mauStand together
I ku waStand, shout!
I ku mau mauStand together!
I ku huluhuluHaul with all your might!
I ka lanawaoUnder the mighty trees!
I ku waStand, shout!
I ku lanawaoStand among the tall forest trees
I ku waStand, shout!
I ku wa hukiStand, shout, pull!
I ku wa koStand, shout, push!
I ku wa a mauStand in place and haul!
A mau ka euluHaul branches and all
E huki, ePull, now!

This oli was chanted when hauling logs from the forests to build canoes. The chant calls a community to join together and accomplish a common goal, all members striving to the best of their ability. In the year 2000, the Kihei Canoe Club on the Island of Maui began a project to build a koa canoe. Here is a video of some club members chanting I Ku Mau Mau as they hauled the fallen koa tree from the slopes of Haleakalā.

Mahalo Oli

Composed by Kēhau Camara

ʻUhola ʻia ka makaloa lā
Pūʻai i ke aloha lā
Kūkaʻi ʻia ka hā loa lā
Pāwehi mai nā lehua
Mai ka hoʻokuʻi a ka hālāwai lā
Mahalo e Ke Akua
Mahalo e nā kupuna lā ʻeā
Mahalo me ke aloha lā
Mahalo me ke aloha lā

The makaloa mat has been unfolded
Food is shared in love
The great breath is exchanged
The Lehua honors and adores
From zenith to horizon
Gratitude to God
Gratitude to our ancestors
Gratitude with love
Gratitude with love

Ho’onani I Ka Makua Mau (Hawaiian Doxology)

Words by Rev. Hiram Bingham & Theresa M. Haunani Bernardino, Music by Louis Bourgeois

Hoʻonani i ka Makua mau
Ke Keiki me ka ʻUhane nō
Ke Akua mau, hoʻomaikaʻi pū
Ko kēia ao ko kēlā ao.

Kūnou haʻahaʻa ko ka honua
Nā uliuli o ke kai
Nā ʻano lani kau hōkū
Nā nani o ka ʻōnaeao


Let us give praise to the eternal Father,
To the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
To God everlasting, let there ring praise
Both in this world as well as the kingdom

All the earth bows in tribute,
As do the riches of the sea,
The celestials among the stars
And the splendors of the universe.


Usually, only the first verse is sung of this short himeni often as pule before meals, at memorial services, and at other occasions.