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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

‘Āina – Land & Sea

He aliʻi ka ʻāina; he kauwa ke kanaka.
Land is a chief; man its servant.
– ʻŌlelo Noʻeau

Our Mana i Mauli Ola Strategic Plan recognizes the connection that Native Hawaiians have to the ʻāina as a foundational strength.

To our kūpuna, the land was life. Imbued with mana, our ʻāina provides everything we need to survive. On an intimate level, Kānaka Maoli are connected to the land by the generations of kūpuna who lived on the land before us and whose iwi rest here. Thus, the emotional ties we have to our families, and the aloha we have for them, extends to the land that feeds us.

Aloha for the ʻāina is ingrained within us as Native Hawaiians and it is core to the Hawaiian worldview.

Land is not a commodity to be exploited, it is a relative that is respected and cared for and, who, in turn, cares for us. Mālama ʻāina expresses our kuleana to care for the land and to properly manage the resources and gifts it provides. Aloha ʻāina expresses our love for this land and beyond that, our love of country – the sovereign nation stolen away but ever in our hearts.


According to tradition, Wākea and Hoʻohōkūkalani had a stillborn son they named Hāloa. The grieving parents buried their child and from that spot the first kalo plant began to grow. They later had another, healthy boy, who they also named Hāloa. He became the first Hawaiian, and thus, kalo is considered the older brother of the Hawaiian people. Today, Kalo has become a modern symbol of mālama ʻāina.

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