APEC 2011 and the Meaning of ALOHA

“The world will turn to Hawai’i as they search for peace because Hawai’i has the key…and that key is ALOHA.”

In 1970, Pilahi Paki made this statement at the annual Governor’s Conference which would turn out to be a modern day prophecy.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) convenes in Honolulu this November for the first time on US soil since 1993. This summit will bring together leaders from 21 countries that touch the Pacific Ocean. These economies represent more than 50% of the world’s GDP.  APEC leaders will meet on O’ahu, known as “the Gathering Place”, and birthplace of President Barack Obama. They will experience the beauty of Hawai’i and hopefully they will be touched by the Aloha of its people.

Aloha can mean both hello and goodbye but there is greater meaning to it than a simple salutation. Affectionately known as Aunty Pilahi, Paki was a teacher, community leader and respectfully considered a living treasure as a proponent of the spirit of Aloha. Together with Alvin Shim, Aunty Pilahi wrote and passed The Aloha Spirit Law, Hawaii State Statute 5-7.5 as traits of character for its people and a way of life.

A – Akahai meaning kindness expressed with a feeling of tenderness
L – Lokahi meaning unity (unbrokenness) expressed with a feeling for harmony
O – ‘Olu’olu meaning agreeable (gentle) expressed with a feeling of pleasantness
H – Ha’aha’a meaning humility expressed with a feeling for modesty
A – Ahonui meaning patience applied with a feeling of perseverance