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For Immediate Release:  February 18, 2011 (11-04)

HONOLULU-The Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, unveiled the first-ever Hawaiian language greeting to be played throughout the Honolulu International Airport today.  The message greets visitors and kama’āina in Hawai’i’s native language, showcasing our island hospitality and host culture.

“Through our Hawaiian Culture Initiative, the HTA is honored to be able to support the perpetuation of the Hawaiian language and its integration into the visitor experience,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Hawai’i’s host culture is what makes our islands unique and sets us apart from any other destination in the world. For visitors and residents, hearing the Hawaiian language at the airport is a special way to celebrate our host culture.”

Today’s ceremony was scheduled in honor of Princess Ruth Ke’elikōlani’s birthday month.  Princess Ruth, born Feb. 9, 1826, is recognized as one of the royal family’s strongest perpetuators of the Hawaiian language.  In attendance for the unveiling at the Honolulu International Airport was Governor Neil Abercrombie and representatives from the Hawaiian community and visitor industry.

The 40-second welcome message, recorded in Hawaiian and English, will be broadcast throughout the Honolulu International Airport every 30 minutes beginning today.  The message is as follows:

Aloha e nā makamaka kipa mai i ke Kahua Mokulele Kau’āina O Honolulu!  E nā ‘ōhua e ha’alele ana, no ‘oukou ka maluhia o ka holo ‘ana a ho’i hou mai.  E nā malihini i hō’ea mai me nā kama’āina pu kekahi, ke aloha o ka ‘āina iā ‘oukou a pau!

English Translation:

Welcome to the Honolulu International Airport. If you’re headed out, travel safely and come back soon. Kama’āina, welcome home. And if you’ve just arrived, we hope that you enjoy your stay in our islands!

Also unveiled today, a Hawaiian language video message created for in-flight programming use to welcome visitors to our islands.  Copies of the video will be made available to all airlines with service to Hawai’i.  The HTA will also coordinate the production of subtitle translations for flights arriving in Hawai’i from international destinations.

The welcome message and video was produced by Paliku Documentary Films and features Amy Kalili from Aha Punana Leo.  The HTA worked in collaboration with both organizations to produce the messages.

“We want to say mahalo to Governor Abercrombie and the State Department of Transportation, Airports Division, for embracing this project and helping us to implement it at the Honolulu International Airport. We look forward to unveiling Hawaiian language welcome messages at all airports statewide by the end of 2011,” added McCartney.

The Hawai’i Tourism Authority was created in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry well into the future. Its mission is to strategically manage Hawai’i tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with our economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs. For more information on the HTA, please visit

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Media Contacts:

Keli’ihoalani Wilson

Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs

Hawai’i Tourism Authority

Ph: (808) 973-2281

Dawn Hirai,  Vice President
Stryker Weiner & Yokota
Ph: (808) 523-8802/722-9445 (cell)