What is Ohana Nui?

In Hawaii, Ohana Nui is the combination of the word for family, Ohana, and the word Nui which means many, big or large. Together they represent the meaning of extended family or clan. Here the word has been used to create a concept that is intended to give all residents in Hawaii the support needed for a better life.

The Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) version Ohana Nui was originally conceptualized by Rachel Wong, the then Hawaii DHS Director, to provide a framework for improving food, financial, housing and health benefits for Hawaii residents. The goal being real change to the systems that support the most vulnerable populations in Hawaii. It remains a foundational concept for the Hawaii Department of Human Services technology and process transformation. This framework and related projects have been in progress since 2016 and is referenced in legislation as well as projects and contract awards to vendors delivering these service frameworks.

Here we’ll explore what it is and how well it’s being realized.

Resources & References:

Ohana-Nui-History (download the PDF file)


Hawaiʻi MedQUEST is also participating in the Ohana Nui initiative. Hereʻs the overview of their project.


Read the Hawaii DHS Statement on Ohana Nui – link below: