top of page

Understanding Hawaiian culture: “malama”

Hawaiian culture is beautiful, multi-faceted and powerful. And although the language is not spoken amongst all native Hawaiians and other island dwellers, you’ll still encounter Hawaiian words and phrases when visiting the islands! Let’s explore the various definitions and uses of malama, as well as its cultural significance in Hawai’i.

At its core, "malama" means to take care of, preserve, or protect. This word is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and is often associated with the concept of malama 'aina, which translates to "care for the land." Hawaiians believe that it is their kuleana (responsibility), to take care of the land and the environment in a sustainable way that ensures its continued health and vitality for future generations.

In addition to its environmental connotations, malama is also used in a social context to describe taking care of one another. This includes caring for family, friends, and the larger community. Malama emphasizes the importance of kindness, respect, and aloha (love) towards others.

Malama is a powerful and multifaceted word in Hawaiian culture. Its meanings of care, preservation, and protection are deeply ingrained in the values and beliefs of the Hawaiian people. By understanding the meaning and significance of malama, we can gain a greater appreciation for the importance of taking care of our environment and each other.

Take a moment to read about our Malama ‘Aina Mantra to understand our commitment to taking care of the ‘aina and respecting our local environment here on Maui!

bottom of page