For other uses, including the football player, see Ohana (disambiguation).

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

In Hawaiian, the word is ohana with the leading inverted apostrophe indicating a glottal stop or ‘okina.

The root word ohā 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 life, an "ohana unit" 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.

In popular culture

Ohana is one of the main themes of the movie Lilo & Stitch ("Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.").

In Genealogy

Ohana is a typical Sefardi Jewish surname which has its origin in Morocco. Descendants who bear the surname are mainly found in Israel, France, Canada and Brazil.


  • Wight, K. 1997. Illustrated Hawaiian Dictionary, The Bess Press.
  • City&County of Honolulu 2003. Land Use Ordinance

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