OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs


OHA prepares reports and conducts surveys intended to help guide strategic direction and policy decisions.

For example, OHA’s research fueled the efforts of a Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force, which was created by the Hawaiʻi Legislature to identify and support comprehensive solutions to concerns about the disproportionate number of Native Hawaiians who are in prison in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Mainland. OHA’s research also informed the agency’s strategic priorities, which are initiatives aimed at improving the health, education, housing and economic well-being of Native Hawaiians.

Economic Self-Sufficiency

Homeownership is a sign of economic prosperity. For Native Hawaiians, homeownership may not only be personally momentous, but culturally significant as it can mean the opportunity to reaffirm and perpetuate ancestral ties to one’s kulāiwi (homeland).

The Median Family Income, or MFI, provides a population measure of average family income in which 50% of incomes are higher, and 50% of incomes are lower. Income includes all earnings, assistance payments and pensions for a 12 month period, for all those in the family who are age 15 or older.

Renters: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of affordability is for a household to pay no more than 30% of income on housing costs. Households that spend more are considered “cost-burdened” because they have less to spend on other necessities (HUD, 2012).


The University of Hawai’i (UH) system is comprised of three universities, seven community colleges, and nine education centers on six islands. Native Hawaiian students accounted for 23.3% of the total enrollment in the UH System in Fall 2017 and 21.3% of all degrees and certificates awarded in fiscal year 2017-2018.

In SY2014, the Hawaiʻi Common Core State Standards replaced the Hawai’i Content and Performance Standards III. To align with these new standards, the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment was fully implemented in SY2015. Due to this change, results for SY2009-2013 (SBA), SY2014 (part-HAS, part-SBA “bridge” assessment), and SY2015 – SY2018 cannot be compared.

SY2018 assessment test results show that:

  • 38.0% of Native Hawaiian students were proficient in reading, a 3.8 percentage point increase from last year
  • 26.3% of Native Hawaiian students were proficient in math, a 0.4 percentage point decrease from last year

The Hawaiʻi Standard Assessment (HSA) in reading and math is administered to Department of Education (DOE) public school students in grades 3 – 8 and 10.

A report by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ (OHA) Research Department shares highlights on the Native Hawaiian student population in Hawai‘i’s public school system.


The Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force conducted a series of summits throughout the pae ‘āina. The community was asked to share their manaʻo as to why Native Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in Hawaiʻi’s criminal justice system, and how government officials and community members can address this serious matter.

In 2010, OHA released the study “The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System.” IN 2011, OHA advocated for the passage of Act 170, creating a Task Force to: Formulate policies and procedures to eliminate the disproportionate representation of Native Hawaiians in Hawai‘i’s criminal justice system by looking for new strategies to reduce or avoid unnecessary involvement of these individuals with the criminal justice system.

Section 2(b) of Act 170 continues: The Task Force shall recommend cost-effective mechanisms, legislation and policies to reduce or prevent individuals’ unnecessary involvement with the criminal justice system. The recommendations shall include estimates of cultural and fiscal impact.


Our focus on health is part of a larger effort to improve conditions for Native Hawaiians. We believe that obesity is one of the greatest threats to the health of Native Hawaiians. In response, we are taking steps to help significantly reduce their obesity rate, which is due to health concerns associated with a lack of physical activity and proper nutrition.

In fact, a law we fought for commits the state to doing more to close Native Hawaiian health gaps, including emphasizing international and national best practices in addressing the social determinants of health, such as access to education, housing, transportation human services and healthy foods.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being overweight or obese increases the risk for many diseases and health conditions including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, gallbladder disease, blood lipids (e.g., cholesterol), and some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon).

Early identification of maternal disease and risks for complications of pregnancy or birth are the primary reasons for first trimester entry into prenatal care. This can help ensure that women with complex problems and women with chronic illness or other risks are seen by specialists if required. Early high quality prenatal care is critical to improving pregnancy outcomes (Hawaiʻi PRAMS).

Substance abuse has a major impact on the health, safety, and quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. The effects are cumulative and contribute to costly social, physical, mental, and public health problems. These problems include: teenage pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), domestic violence, child abuse, motor vehicle crashes, physical fights, crime, homicide, suicide, loss of employment, heart disease, cancer, and alienation from friends and family (ADAD, HP2020).


OHA’s research department has developed a 2018 Kaulana Mahina Calendar to reference throughout the year. This calendar highlights general fishing and farming observations as gathered from various sources. In addition to the calendar, the research department also put together a set and rise time chart, so you know exactly when to keep an eye out for the moon.


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  • Additional Reports

  • Demography

    Land Culture & History

    Program Improvement

    Special Projects

  • Kipuka Database

  • Kipuka: An Oasis of Geographically Linked 'Ike

  • Papakilo Database

  • Papakilo Database: Kukulu ka 'ike i ka 'opua

  • Native Hawaiian Data Book

  • Native Hawaiian Data Book: Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua