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Part of Hawaiian culture, ʻohana means family (in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional). The concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another. The term is similar in meaning and usage to the New Zealand Māori term whānau, and its cognate in Māori is kōhanga, meaning "nest".

In Hawaiian, the word ʻohana begins with an ʻokina, indicating a glottal stop. The root word ʻohā refers to the root or corm of the kalo, or taro plant (the staple "staff of life" in Hawaii), which Kanaka Maoli consider to be their cosmological ancestor.


In contemporary Hawaiian real estate jargon, an "ʻohana unit" is a type of secondary suite. It is a part of a house or a separate structure on the same lot that may contain a relative but which may not be rented to the general public.[1][2][3]

In popular culture[edit]

ʻOhana is a key theme in Disney's 2002 film, Lilo & Stitch, and throughout its franchise.[4]

See also[edit]


  • Wight, K. (1997). Illustrated Hawaiian Dictionary. The Bess Press.
  • City & County of Honolulu 2003. Land Use Ordinance
  • Whitney, Scott (September 2001). "Inventing ʻOhana". Honolulu Magazine. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  • Conklin, Ken (March 2006). "The word ʻOhana is a modern invention". Angelfire.com. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  • "The Word ʻOhana Is A Modern Invention". KenConklin.org. 25 January 2006. Retrieved 4 August 2017.


  1. ^ "Ohana Zoning Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on September 8, 2007.
  2. ^ "Land Use Permits Division FAQs" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 16, 2012.
  3. ^ "Ohana Pre-Check Form" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 20, 2009.
  4. ^ Grant, Stacey (January 19, 2016). "This Crazy Lilo & Stitch Fan Theory Actually Makes A Ton Of Sense". MTV. Retrieved September 9, 2016.