Most of us who have visited or resided in the Hawaiian islands or other parts of Polynesia for any period of time sense a certain subjective something about the people and their lifestyle which defies objective description. How nice it would be if we could pin down and put some of that intangible aloha (Hawaiian), aroha (Maori), alofa (Samoan), aroha (Tahitian), alofa (Tongan) spirit in a bottle or box and bring it back to use on an ongoing basis with our families, in business, or in politics.
For those who are looking for a better idea of those valuable primal values, George Kanahele's Ku Kanaka—Stand Tall succeeds to a great extent. In a rigorous and comprehensive volume, the former BYU student carefully defines the qualities influencing the lives of pre–Captain Cook Hawaiians, qualities that still cling to some like a scent of leis today. Without minimizing such atrocities as human sacrifice which have been practiced in other countries around the world, Kanahele suggests that by increasing our awareness and adopting Hawaiian values we can do more than we are currently doing to adapt to the changes being wrought not only on the Hawaiian islands but on all of us in the areas of technology, economics, leadership, and politics.