Guide: How to Say Thank You in Hawaiian

Giving thanks is an important aspect of Hawaiian culture. Whether you’re visiting the sunny beaches of Hawaii or simply want to embrace the spirit of Aloha in your daily life, learning how to say thank you in Hawaiian is a wonderful way to show gratitude. In this guide, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways to express thanks in Hawaiian, providing tips, examples, and regional variations if necessary. So let’s dive into the beautiful language of gratitude!

Formal Ways to Say Thank You

In more formal situations, such as when expressing appreciation to elders, respected figures, or during ceremonial occasions, it’s essential to use proper Hawaiian phrases. Here are some formal ways to say thank you:

Mahalo nui loa: This is the most common and versatile way to say thank you in Hawaiian. It translates to “thank you very much” and can be used in various contexts.


  • I wanted to express my gratitude for your time and guidance. Mahalo nui loa!
  • Mahalo nui loa for inviting me to your beautiful ceremony. It was truly special.

Mahalo nui ia ‘oe: This phrase is specifically used to express gratitude to one person. It means “thank you very much to you.”


  • Dear Auntie, mahalo nui ia ‘oe for your kind support throughout the years.
  • John, mahalo nui ia ‘oe for helping me with the project. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Informal Ways to Say Thank You

Informal situations, such as expressing appreciation to friends, family, or peers, allow for a more relaxed approach to saying thank you. Here are some informal Hawaiian phrases commonly used:

Mahalo: This is the simplest and most common way to say thank you in Hawaiian. Use it in everyday conversations and with your close circle.


  • Mahalo for coming to my birthday party! It meant a lot to me.
  • Hey, thanks for picking up my groceries! Mahalo!

Ke aloha: While ke aloha typically means “love,” it can also be used as an informal way to express thanks, especially among friends or when appreciating someone’s kindness.


  • Thanks for lending me your surfboard, Jake. Ke aloha!
  • Sending ke aloha your way for all your help yesterday. Mahalo!

Regional Variations

Hawaiian language and dialect can have variations across different regions. While the phrases mentioned above are widely understood throughout the Hawaiian Islands, here are a couple of regional variations:

Mahalo nui e ke akua: This phrase is more commonly used in the Kauai dialect and is equivalent to “thank you very much to God.”


  • Mahalo nui e ke akua for blessing us with such beautiful weather on our wedding day!

Mālama pono: This Hawaiian phrase means “take care” but is often used as an informal way to say thank you, particularly in Maui and Molokai.


  • Aloha, Linda! Mālama pono for helping me tidy up the house. It looks amazing!

Remember, even though regional variations exist, the main phrases provided earlier can be used and understood by most Hawaiians.

Tips for Saying Thank You in Hawaiian

Here are some helpful tips to enhance your gratitude expression when using Hawaiian phrases:

  1. When saying thank you, it’s important to maintain eye contact and sincerity in your voice. The spirit of gratitude is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture.
  2. Practice the pronunciation of each phrase to ensure clarity and accuracy. You can find helpful audio resources online or seek assistance from native speakers.
  3. Combine the phrases with a warm smile or a heartfelt gesture to convey your appreciation even more effectively.
  4. Feel free to personalize your expressions of thanks by stating specific reasons and details about the kindness or assistance you’ve received.
  5. Remember that cultural sensitivity is essential, so adapt your approach to the situation and the individuals involved.

By embracing the language and customs of Hawaii, you’ll forge a deeper connection with the local culture and people you encounter along the way.

Now that you have a good understanding of how to say thank you in Hawaiian, you can confidently express your gratitude in any situation. So go ahead and spread the spirit of Aloha through your heartfelt appreciation!

⭐Share⭐ to appreciate human effort 🙏
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top