Hawaiians believed that the Land and their environment was a gift from the heavens for mankind. In return Hawaiians had a responsibility (Kuleana) to maintain a balance of caring (Malama) for their land to survive. They believed everything was here for a purpose; the land is here for the growing of food, providing tools and building shelters and canoes, items that man needs.
They believed everything is a life form, from the land to the sky to the waters and plants, they showed these gifts respect. They thanked the trees for their fruit, the thanked the tree for being here so they could build a canoe, they thanked the rain for giving them life.
When looking for a tree that would become a canoe, they would spend days looking at each tree, and Praying to be shown the one that had been destined to become the canoe they needed; The one that was really a canoe that still had the shape of a tree. Before Harvesting and carving the Canoe they would all gather and say their Mahalo (thank you) Chants. Thanking the Land for providing the space and nutrients for the tree to grow, they thanked the rain that provided the land with water to grow the tree, they thanked the sky for providing the clouds that carried the rain. When the Canoe was finished it became part of the family (Ohana), it was treated as another person. The canoe was cared for, loved and respected. A canoe was carried to the ocean, never dragged on the beach, for that would have been disrespectful.
In today’s world, we sometimes forget all the gifts the Heavens have brought us, but it is our sharing of the Hawaiian Culture that keeps us appreciating the wonders our environment have for us to see, feel, hear, and survive with.