Kumu Karen teaches Hawaiian values in the form of short stories to schools, public and private groups and businesses. She is currently writing a book on Hawaiian Values, and has had some of her work published in Hiroshima.

Hawaiian Values


(This true story takes place on the Island of Maui.)

My son Conan rented a little house near the entrance to Iao Valley. It was a spacious house, surrounded by tall trees on one side, with gorgeous mountain views. From the house a steep driveway curved upward toward the busy street where cars sped by in both directions. On the hill above the house, fragrant plumeria trees faced the busy street.

plumeria flowers

When my son moved into the house, his landlord told him not to let anyone pick the plumeria flowers because they might break the delicate branches. One day an old Hawaiian kupuna , (grandmother), with short gray hair came and picked the plumeria blossoms. Conan knew that he should tell her not to pick the flowers, but felt that it would be disrespectful to speak to the elderly kupuna in such a way. Now it seemed that she came every day, but because of his kindness, he pretended not to see her.

After teaching Tahitian drumming that day, he walked in and out of the house unloading the huge drums from his van to the storage area in the back room. His two daughters, Eleu, 5, and Waiwai, 3 were playing near the house as he transferred the heavy drums. Suddenly from the street above the house he heard the loud blasting of many car horns. He looked down and only one of his daughters was there! His heart dropped. He told Eleu to stay where she was, and rushed up the steep driveway toward the sound of the blasting car horns, praying as he went. He fully expected to see the baby’s lifeless body on the roadway. Instead, he saw the baby held safely in the arms of the kupuna who had been picking his flowers. Alerted by the blasting horns of the concerned motorist, she had discovered the child wandering onto the busy street, and retrieved her.

He took the baby from the woman’s arms, holding his child tightly against his pounding heart, and thanking God for sparing her life. It wasn’t until later that he remembered that in all of the confusion, he had forgotten to thank the kupuna who had saved her..

He looked for her the next day, and the next, and the next, but she never returned. Was she an angel sent from Heaven to save his child? Had his kindness to her qualified him as worthy to receive such a gift? He would never know.

When I see the beautiful and fragrant plumeria blossoms I think about the angel sent to save my granddaughter. I will continue to send my prayers of thanks forever. Kupaianaha, amazing.