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 He Leo Hoʻolaha No Nā ʻŌlelo Noʻeau

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, published on August 21, 1924.

Today’s post was contributed by team member, Kapaiaʻala Earle.

Aloha Mahina ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi!

In continuing our celebration of Hawaiian language month, we are spotlighting an effort of language and cultural preservation. In 1924, Ka Nupepa Kuokoa published a call out to its readers to forward any ʻōlelo noʻeau, or Hawaiian proverbs to the Archives at the Bishop Museum. As Hawaiian language had been on a decline in the early 20th century, there became a need to conserve this knowledge in all its forms for the future generations. It was stressed that students in Hawaiʻi had been exclusively learning English in schools, losing the ability to comprehend any of the Hawaiian language resources in the archives.

It was requested that all ʻōlelo noeʻau be directed to Henry P. Judd in the Archives at the Bishop Museum. Judd was a man of many hats who served as an associate in Hawaiian linguistics at the museum, a full-time professor in Hawaiian at the University of Hawaiʻi, the secretary of the Hawaiian board of missions, and a pastor at his local church. At the time, Judd was compiling Hawaiian proverbial sayings, riddles and learned expressions of various kinds from an assortment of resources in the archives but wished to receive input from the community. An iteration of Judd’s collation of ʻōlelo noʻeau was later printed in 1930 in Bishop Museum’s annual bulletin and titled, “Hawaiian Proverbs and Riddles.” The call out in the newspaper appeared to be a success as Judd gave thanks in his introduction of the publication to those who made the work possible by sending in ʻōlelo of one kind or another.

Image: “Ua Makemakeia Na Olelo Noeau Hawaii,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, August 21, 1924, p. 6

Hawaiian Proverbial Sayings Wanted,

The work pertaining to the collecting of proverbs, riddles and intelligent witty sayings of the Hawaiian people in the Archives of the Bishop Museum under the leadership of Henry P. Judd is nearing its completion in its work. Because of the joining of Hawaiian friends from Hawaiʻi to Kauaʻi, there are nearly one thousand of these ancient sayings and it is anticipated that there are more riddles, proverbs, and intelligent witty sayings that have not been found, there is nearly enough to compose a book to publish this subject.

It is understood that there is a multitude of Hawaiians that have not been requested to send these ancient wise sayings of Hawaiians; if that is true, the Archives will be happy to bring some of these sorts for summarizing and preservation in the Bishop Museum for the benefit of the new generations.

The value of this broadcasting is that there has been a dependency on the success of memorizing by way of correct translations. If Hawaiians desire for this endeavor to help the future generations, they should be preserved, since the Hawaiian people are decreasing, and the Hawaiian language resources are vanishing, because English is the language that is primarily being taught in the schools these days, searching Hawaiian language resources has greatly decreased, and these wise sayings of Hawaiians are greatly lacking in conversations by the young generations, so proverbs, riddles, witty sayings, and intelligent sayings are wanted and to send to Henry P. Judd to be preserved in the Bishop Museum. It is believed these will be published in a small book in the first days of 1925.

There are an abundance of antiques of Hawaiians and other people’s that have been collected internationally, and are on display inside Bishop Museum today for the benefit of being seen by those coming and visiting these items, there are also items in this place being collected from the younger generations of today that have not been seen that they should come and see and wonder the reason for these items being made and their value.

Image: Henry P. Judd, Men of Hawaii, Vol. 1, 1917, p. 156. SP 222654

Image: Hawaiian Proverbs and Riddles, by Henry P. Judd, Bishop Museum Bulletin 76-79, 1930. SP 222655

Image: Table of Contents, Hawaiian Proverbs and Riddles, by Henry P. Judd, Bishop Museum Bulletin 76-79, 1930, p. i. SP 222656

Image: Hawaiian Proverbs and Riddles, by Henry P. Judd, Bishop Museum Bulletin 76-79, 1930, p. 6. SP 222657

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact, Bishop Museum Archives.

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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