Hawaiian culture is famous for the positive values which are a big part of how people talk and act across the island.
Each of these values has a distinctive Hawaiian name - for example, everybody knows that aloha isn’t simply a form of greeting, but is part of a deeper philosophy that revolves around treating people with love and compassion.
Mahalo is another Hawaiian word, encompassing the spirit of gratitude and admiration but what is the meaning of kokua?
The Hawaiian word kokua is another one of these words with a deep and rich history and meaning; here’s a little about what Hawaiians mean when they say kokua.
Here is a short video on the meaning of kokua:
Kokua is an important concept that is taught to children from a very young age. Kokua is the word we use to describe the spirit of kindness accompanied by a desire to help one another, without expecting anything in return.
More specifically, it translates to extending loving and sacrificial help to others for their benefit, and not for personal gain.
This breaks down into three parts – a desire to help, mutual assistance (or pitching in wherever you can), and acts of kindness that don’t require any goodness in return. Essentially, kokua is a concept of selflessness that has helped Hawaiian people keep their communities and relationships intact for centuries.
You might find it hard at first to pronounce it correctly; but in the spirit of aloha, keep trying, and listening to anyone who is helping you to pronounce it. Start by saying koh-koo-ah, and then practise from there! Next up, we're going to answer the question of what does Kokua mean?
What does Kokua mean in the Hawaiian culture?
Hawaiian culture has always placed a huge amount of importance on social interdependence. Put simply, Hawaiian people genuinely believe that for their community to thrive, people need to relate healthily and generously to one another.
Everywhere in Hawaii, you’ll see people practising this way of life: giving back to their society selflessly, because only when every individual citizen helps out their neighbor without expecting anything in return, will the community stand strong.
Kokua has been around for nearly as long as Hawaii itself. Over time, it’s become one of the important foundations of Hawaiian society.
Everywhere in Hawaiian society, you can see specific examples of how the spirit of kokua is translated into everyday life in Hawaii. Businesses, workplaces, and schools are all built by collective team efforts, where people and communities come together to do more together than they ever could alone.
When you visit the islands, you’ll probably find the term kokua scrawled across signboards in marketplaces and on trash cans on street corners.
If you come across these signs when you’re there, remember that it’s more than a label, and more than an idea; it’s a timeless philosophy that binds Hawaiian communities together.
What about the other Hawaiian language words?
Another similar phrase to Kokua is aloha. We love that the hawaiian culture has so many awesome saying and phrases that embody the Hawaiian language and culture. If you are interesting in learning more about the meaning of aloha, you can click that link and see our other post.
We also talked about another awesome phrase in the Hawaiian culture: Mahalo. Mahlo is another great word that literattly translates into "thank you". The word Mahalo means so much more and it has a much deeper meaning.
If your interested in learning about what the mahalo means, click that link and you will directed to the blog post about Mahalo!
Also one more phrase that is commonly used in Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian language is "Pau hana" which translates to finished work. According to urban dictionary, the word "Pau Hana" more accurately describes the act of leaving work early on a Friday to go home and chill.
All in all though, this blog post is about the word kokua and it's meaning.
So what exactly does Kokua mean?
In hawaiian cutlure, Kokua is an important word but it's an even more important concept. Kokua can be best described as a way of living, characterized by a selfless desire to help others.
Some people find it difficult to do something for others without thinking of what they're going to get in return. The concept of Kokua also doesn't nessecarily have to mean giving something away.
It can also mean pitching in and helping out when others are in need. The key point is that you are doing these actions selflessly and not for personal gain.
The spirit of Kokua refers to the act of giving help, aid or some kinds of personal assistance to someone.
That someone can be a stranger, a family member or a friend. There are no limits to the spirit of Kokua. In fact, this is one of the reasons why native Hawaiian culture places high value on the spirit of Kokua.
Having a healthly community where people all of shapes, colors and sizes help and assist we other is an admirable way of living and certaininly one of the many reasons why native Hawaiian culture promotes the spirit of Kokua amongst it's children and community.
All around you, you can expect to see the fruit of kokua, and it’s important, as a visitor to the islands, to remember to act with kokua as well. However you can, remember that even if you’re on the islands for a short time, you’re part of the community. And enjoy your time! Remeber the meaning of Kokua!
Lastly here is an awesome track by the band Kokua that is beatiful. Check it out! Have a good rest of your day!