"World View" provides the social framework within which values such as "Good" or "Bad" are defined. These values direct the manner in which humans conduct their daily lives.
The limited space on a canoe physically and mentally confines people of different temperamants into very close quarters. If the people on the canoe do not have a common set of values or patterns of expected behavior, differences of opinion and perceptions can quickly erupt into conflict. Unresolved conflict on an ocean voyage very likely will lead to death.
"Core Values" carry with them expected patterns of behavior. This predictability reduces stress, misunderstanding, and conflict. Many of the "core" Hawaiian values developed over the centuires were designed to reduce conflict. The few examples listed below are well known today but their deeper meanings are often lost or not acknowledged. Understanding the deeper meaning of these core value words gives an inside look in how Hawaiians related to each other, their environment and their canoe.
Aloha: Aloha is generally translated as "hello" or "goodbye" or "love". But Aloha is actually a two part word.
"Alo" means to "face", suggesting presenting one's self without defense or obstructions.
"Ha" is the breath of life, it is an individual's life force. It could be translated as a person's soul.
Aloha is a serious action in which one person presents themselves undefended and shares one's life force "Ha", with another person. It is a process where one lowers one's guard, extends trust and opens their soul for interaction with another person on a spiritual level. Sharing one's Aloha should not be taken lightly. To simply say Hello, Ano Ai or Welina are appropriate greetings. Aloha requires commitment and carries with it obligations.
Mālama: The present translation refers to taking care of...preserve, protect. Mālama is also a two part word.
" Mā" is a contraction of the word Ma'a which means to be accustomed to, used to, knowing
"Lama" means torch, light or lamp in turn suggesting enlightenment.
In order to Mālama anything, one must become Ma'a to it. Becoming Ma'a takes time and patience and to have an open mind so a true understanding of a place or issue can be had. This understanding is "Lama" or enlightenment. Only when one is Ma'a with something can it be properly cared for.
Pono: "Pono" is translated as goodness, uprightness, correct or proper, true, right, fair, just... But the deeper
meaning of Pono is balance.
It was apparent to early Hawaiians that things in nature appear in paired opposites and that these opposites depend on each other to complete a function or create a whole. When imbalance occurs things go bad. But this balance does not mean physically equal. The most effective example of this "unequal balance" is the Wa'a Kaukahi (single outrigger canoe).
The Ka'ele (Hull) of the canoe is much longer, wider and heavier than the ama (float). Yet the Ka'ele cannot float upright without the ama. It is the combination of the attributes of these totally different sized objects, that when joined together allow a canoe to not only float but carry people and cargo to where they need to go. The result of the ama and the Ka'ele balancing each other describes the balanced state called Pono.