Moʻomeheu, Culture: To strengthen identity, Native Hawaiians will preserve, practice and perpetuate their culture Learn more about the work we do at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to create systemic change in Moʻomeheu, Culture.


Native Hawaiians are cognizant that our identity, our way of life, our language, and our practices are truly unique to our everyday lives. Many vital and integral elements of our traditions, practices and cultural assets face imminent extinction as daily practices; its knowledge and its loss would be irreplaceable; especially as our elders who have the ike (gift) pass the veil to join their ancestors. The loss of land, water, family structure, restrictive or dismantling of native rights also effect and impact these practices.

The traditional practices of the Native Hawaiian people continue today and may have been altered to meet today’s lifestyles and circumstances. Although other cultures and modern life have greatly influenced changes, still many of our values, beliefs and practices have been retained from our ancestors. These practices, particularly the language, are unique due to native speakers and revitalization at an educational level

In today’s Hawaiʻi, these practices have also become an economic asset to the State and are used by non-Hawaiians to promote themselves and incomes. Meanwhile, our Native Hawaiian practitioners try to maintain their integrity and uncompromising implementation of their particular practice, while teaching others its importance and preservation. According to OHA’s 1984 Population and Needs Assessment Survey, more than two thirds feel they have a Hawaiian lifestyle. In that respondents found the definition to consist of having traditional respect for elders, followed by easy going and generous, live off the land and sea, and Hawaiian language, culture, food, and religion. When preserving the culture, individual’s most common answer was the "Value/Benefit for now and the next generation.

A study conducted by Queen Lili’uokalani Childrens Center also revealed important information regarding cultural participation. The top activities participated was preparing or eating Hawaiian food, hula let making, singing, and playing musical instruments. However the least participated involved traditional chanting (oli), ho’oponopono, lomi lomi massage, la’au lapa’au (herb healing), and lua.

OHA BASELINE TARGET - Tracking Participation in Cultural Activities



To support Native Hawaiians increasing their participation in cultural activties, OHA solicits proposals every biennium to provide services that strengthen Native Hawaiian identity and support traditional cultural practices. In the years 2014-2015, OHA is working with six community organizations to specifically provide services to progress toward long-term.

Hui Aloha Kiholo, Kipahulu ʻOhana, Mana Maoli, Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi, Paepae o Heʻeia, Papaku No Kamehaikana, and Keiki o Ka Aina Family Learning Centers currently provide more than 2,881 Native Hawaiian participants programs that incorporate ‘ōlelo, (Hawaiian language) and pilina (relationships) while addressing one or more OHA Focus Areas of Mo‘omeheu (culture):

Delivery of services include participants gaining greater knowledge, beliefs, understandings, ways of knowing, spirituality of traditional Hawaiian practices and activities as it relates to land, waters, and ancestral resources.



Cultural activities: Any behaviours and practices associated with Native Hawaiian culture including but not limited to language.

Language: Native Hawaiian language.

ʻĀina: Native Hawaiian practices related to the land.

Interact: The process of engaging in one or more cultural activity.

Cultural purposes: Any behaviors and practices characteristic of Native Hawai-ian culture.

Spiritual purposes: The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of Native Hawaiian spirituality.

Religious purposes: The behaviors and practices characteristic of Native Hawai-ian spirituality.

Substance purposes: Any behaviors and practices that provide for the basic sur-vival needs of Native Hawaiians such as food cultivation.


Office of Hawaiian Affairs (1984). Population and Needs Assessment Survey.

Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Center (1999). Survey of beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries.

Pa’i Foundation and Ilio’uokalani Foundation (2006). Halau Native Hawaiian artist & cultural practitioner needs assessment survey.

Pa’i Foundation and Ilio’uokalani Foundation (2006). Trademark Native Hawaiian artist & cultural practitioner needs assessment survey.

OHA and the Garden Island RC&D Inc. (2007). Kauai Cultural Conference.

OHA, Windward Community College (WCC), and the Native Hawaiian Education Association. (2007). Oahu Cultural Conference.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs. (2010). 2010-2018 Strategic Plan of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Honolulu, HI: Office of Hawaiian Affairs.


For more interesting data relating to Moʻomeheu, Culture, please see the OHA Native Hawaiian Data Book.