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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Moʻomeheu – Culture

Lawe i ka maʻalea a kūʻonoʻono.
Take wisdom and make it deep
. – ʻŌlelo Noʻeau

A focus on Hawaiian cultural vibrancy is foundational to our Mana i Mauli Ola strategic plan.

Our culture is the essence of who we are as a people. It includes all those things that distinguish us: our language, stories, customs, music, art, food, protocols, religions, values, traditions, and celebrations. Expressions of our culture are both internal and external. Our culture shapes our worldview and our thinking. It provides a framework for understanding ourselves and others. It informs the ways in which we interact with one another and with our ʻāina. It influences the way we interpret events and approach problem-solving.

Establishing a culturally rich foundation for the work ahead of us adds great value to our efforts to uplift our lāhui and for the betterment of our people.

Our collective future depends on our ability to preserve, perpetuate and protect Hawaiian culture.


In the time before, our kūpuna had no written language. The ʻike and moʻolelo of our people were passed from one generation to the next through oli and hula. Palapalai was one of the plants kapu to Laka, the goddess of hula. Palapalai is often worn by dancers or used to adorn the hula kuahu (altar). Because of this connection it has been chosen to represent culture.

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