Ho‘ohanohano is pronounced ho-oh-ha-no-ha-no.
In Hawai’i it is part of the culture to be honorable and respectful to oneself and to others. They inherently value integrity and strive for distinction in a way that cares for their ohana and the aina they depend on to survive. It is a value that exalts dignity in self and to support the dignity in others.
In Hawaii, having integrity means being self responsible and acknowledging when you have made a mistake. It means to be true to your word in a way that honors another and to show respect in both word and action. Ho`ohanohano seeks to offer solutions, alternatives, and options to rectify any situation and make it better than it was before. This is the full meaning of living with personal integrity.
When Hawaiians practice ho‘ohanohano, they honor the intelligence of others, and seek to learn from them. They aspire to live with respect and uplift the dignity of others in every exchange. Someone who is practicing ho‘ohanohano is trustworthy, thoughtful, and kind. They offer solutions and seek to improve any situation or circumstance to the best of their ability. And they acknowledge others in a way that uplifts and respects who they are and what they have to offer.
In Hawaiian culture, it is understood that dignity is critical to self-esteem and is the fuel that can sustain someone through life’s challenges as well as its opportunities. Living on an island, interdependence is key, so it is ingrained that the whole is only as good as the sum of its parts. The wellbeing of each person is important so that the fabric of the community can be strong and thrive.
Hoʻohanohano is also used to honor their elders and ‘ohana as well as important areas such as wahi pana, locations or sites that are legendary, celebrated or noteworthy.
There are many ways to practice ho‘ohanohano in our daily lives.
In any situation or circumstance, we have the ability to whine, complain or just do nothing, or we can be solutionary and offer our ingenuity to find a better path forward.
Respect for others and for the land upon which we live is critical to practicing ho‘ohanohano. When we respect ourselves and those around us, we show we care, and we bring integrity to our exchanges and our environment.
Kindness begets more kindness. With the world full of challenges and many people suffering and in need, a little kindness goes a long way.
Honor your mother and father and especially honor your kūpun or elders, as they are the keepers of your history and the stories that make you who you are today. Honoring your ʻohana name is a value that Hawaiians teach their children from birth. Honor is something you give in order to receive.