7 essential Hawaiian values to live by

Hawaiian culture is rooted in a set of values designed to create a virtuous life for both individuals and societies.

Many of these values are taught in the Hawaii schools system to prepare children to be excellent citizens and family members.

Here are 7 Hawaiian values to help you live a more wholehearted, purposeful and fulfilling life:


More than just a greeting or salutation, aloha is a way of life.

To live with aloha means to live with unconditional love, happiness, joy, and gratitude. Aloha is both giving and receiving of the spirit.


Kokua means help, assistance, or aid (and you can use kokua as a noun or verb). Giving kokua helps strengthens relationships and — when done collectively  — strengthens communities.

When someone receives kokua, they are more likely to give kokua.


When you assume a personal sense of responsibility and accountability for everything around you, you are living with kuleana.

Kuleana is also the pursuit of personal improvement through self-motivation, and there is always room to grow.


Laulima means to work together in cooperation, or literally translated — many hands. The practice of laulima is essential to develop, strengthen, and support communities.


To live with lokahi means to live with oneness and balance, and to seek unity within all aspects of your relationships, daily life, and community.

Lokahi can also mean the harmony between our heart, mind, and body, and the universe in which we all connected.


To malama is to care for, nurture, preserve, protect, or watch over. You can malama yourself, but remember to also malama others, as well as the land (malama the ‘aina).


Pono means integrity, righteousness or simply doing the right thing. To be pono means to consider everyone and everything affected by your decisions.

Hawaii’s state motto is: Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono.


Image credits: Brendan Stephens, Alexandra Tran, Polina Kuzovkova, Coral Ouellette, Zetong Li, Neora Aylon, Chloe Leis, Marc Szeglat, Tamara Bravo

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