Hawaiian Solutions to Hawaiian Problems

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Photo: Joan Kaʻaiʻai Paglinawan

By Joan Kaʻaiʻai Paglinawan

Aloha e nā pua kaulana aʻo Hawaiʻi!

Historically, ʻike kūpuna (ancestral wisdom) was passed down generationally to share and practice for community wellbeing. With assimilation to western ways, systemic losses were experienced by Hawaiians as they were stripped of their language, self-identity, practices, and beliefs. In modern times, disconnection from traditional ancestral values has had negative impacts on interpersonal relationships in the ʻohana and the community.

Navigating ʻohana toward lōkahi (balance) through pono choices has long been a service of Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT). From the 1960s to the present, our kūpuna actively sought to pass on their knowledge of traditional Hawaiian family dynamics to ensure core values were not forgotten. Values, traditions, and ancestral ʻike continue to guide our path laid out by our Queen Liliʻuokalani and her Deed of Trust. LT promotes our Queen’s mission by providing opportunities for Hawaiian children to realize their greatest potential via intentional, culturally resonant services and programs.

The ultimate vision is for thriving Hawaiian children to live healthy and prosperous lives, contributing positively to their communities.

Hoʻopono is an LT ʻohana strengthening program. Hoʻopono is an adaptation of hoʻoponopono for modern times that teaches families a cultural way of solving everyday problems in order to restore harmony in their daily lives. Together families learn the foundational principles of a Hawaiian Worldview (e.g., spirituality, values, communication, essential attitudes, and the hoʻopono process). Today, our loea, Lynette Kahekili Paglinawan, continues to provide guidance and consultation to current LT staff and community partners in bringing this tradition forward with integrity.

LT’s Hoʻopono Program allows families to learn, practice, and implement specific values in their hale and ʻohana systems. These values are aloha, laulima, lōkahi, pono, ʻohana, and kuleana.

Photo: Lynette and Richard Paglinawan
In this photo, Lynette and Richard Paglinawan, the author’s parents, learn from Tutu Mary Kawena Pukui, who served as kumu of the Hawaiian Culture Committee at the Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center. – Photo: Courtesy

Embodying these values increases familial coping life skills and promotes resiliency of ʻohana relationships. Hoʻopono empowers families to use a method of conflict resolution that is self-sustainable as they learn together to solve one problem at a time in their homes.

We envision the healing practice of hoʻopono in every home. To achieve this, LT is expanding hoʻopono program offerings across the state and is building relationships with partners. Thus far, 40 LT Teammates and 41 community members have been trained in hoʻopono.

If you would like more information or are interested in partnering to implement hoʻopono, you can reach us via our Mālama Line (808) 466-8080 or go to: onipaa.org/pages/malama-line.


Kaʻaiʻai Paglinawan is the daughter of Richard and Lynette Paglinawan and a second-generation licensed social worker. Born and raised in Kahaluʻu, she continues the traditions of family and community work. Working for Liliʻuokalani Trust for 13 years, she continues to further the work of her parents and kūpuna through hoʻopono and hoʻoponopono to the children and families she works with.