The final night of the official Road Scholar Tour we were entertained by The Ladies of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I. There was a small band that played Hawaiian music and any other songs requested that they knew, interpreted with a Hawaiian flare.
They started the evening by introducing themselves. Each person explained how he/she got their names and what they meant. Usually a baby is named by relatives - grandparent, aunt, etc. In many cases the name came in a dream. They don't have a family name but the names are usually distinctive enough to know who is being addressed. I can't remember any specifically but it would be the Hawaiian for "albatross that ate the fish at the royal shore" for example - that would be four of five words to make the name. Sometimes the family always had a certain word in the name. For example if the parents were fishermen then all the children might have the Hawaiian word for fish somewhere in their name. Most of the people in this group were in their 60s or 70s or older and at the time they were in school they were not allowed to use Hawaiian names so most had both a Hawaiian name and a name in English.
As each of us arrived they gave each of us a card with our name on it with its meaning and what the Hawaiian interpretation of that would be. Mine read: Pam... of Greek and old English origin, it is said to be a variant of Pamela whose meaning is honey, all sweetness, loved one. PAMA Meaning: Kaipo (loved one).
There were tables set up with crafts that were common to Hawaiian people. I made a bookmark of leaves of the Pandarus Tree. Other crafts were: jewelry using feathers and a children's (or cat) toy with a woven fish on the end of a whip that bobs.
They talked about the true meaning of aloha. We know it can mean hello or goodbye - until I see you again but it also means to them a spirit of giving of themselves. There is certainly that kind of aloha spirit in Hawaii. The people that have obviously been here for awhile - you can tell by their dress, speech or tans - are very friendly and will go out of their way to help you. Everyone speaks on the streets and in the shops. At the airport I asked a shopkeeper where a mailbox was to mail a postcard (several people told me throughout the islands that you have to take it to the post office and I never saw a corner box) and she said she would take it and mail it for me because the post office was on her way home and she was mailing something else.
We did hear how the aloha spirit was being diminished as recently Chinese people were coming over to Hawaii to buy up property here and seem to look down on native Hawaiians (whether Polynesian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese or ex-pat mainlanders).
The Ladies ended their program with a demonstration of the hula and we all sang Aloha Ohe in Hawaiian - until we met again.