Hawaiian legend states that in the ancient past, the Hawaiian god Maui once went fishing. As he was fishing, his hook caught on the ocean floor. Thinking he’d caught a fish, Maui began to pull on his line, trying to raise his catch from the water. He pulled and he pulled. He pulled so hard that the ocean floor began to rise, and eventually it broke the surface. And thus, the islands of Hawaii came into existence, raised from the ocean’s depths by the hand of a God.


The islands of Hawaii are often referred to as paradise, but the paradise that so many have experienced is not just the result a tropical climate and the beauty of the islands. While these things certainly help, in order to experience the total paradise of the island, one must experience two things: the spirit of aloha and the spirit of ohana.


Anyone who’s ever seen Disney’s Lilo & Stitch can tell you that “Ohana means family.” To the Hawaiians, ohana is the central unit of society. All members of an ohana have a responsibility to protect each other and do their part for the betterment of the family as a whole. It is not an idea limited to immediate family members, but includes all close relatives and friends. In an ohana there’s a sense of belonging, and knowing you’re part of an ohana can be the most fulfilling feeling anyone could hope to experience.


“Aloha” is far from being just a word used to say hello or goodbye. It’s also a word used to express love, the love, for example, that would be between the close friends and family members in an ohana. The spirit of aloha is an attitude and a way of life that involves sharing everything one has with others, not just physical possessions, but kindness, advice, a listening ear, or anything else that someone could possibly give. There are few feelings better than knowing that those around you are willing to help and support you in any way they can.


The best place on Oahu to experience both aloha and ohana is here in Laie. The LDS temple is beautiful, and the grounds and visitors center are open to the public.


The temple is a place where families begin and where people give reverent respect to their ancestors. I myself was married there only a few months ago. Here, everyone is considered family, and the spirit of love and service that is the spirit of aloha permeates the grounds. This place is paradise. This place is what every person seeking “the ultimate Hawaiian experience” is looking for.

Peter Gregory

Author Bio

I’m Peter. I grew up in Seattle, but have been living in Hawaii and Japan for the last 4 years. I love traveling; I love learning about different cultures; I love food, and I love my wife. We’re hoping to go to Korea next year, and graduate school the year after that. My life’s the best kind of dream, the one you don’t have to wake up from.