Hale Noho "sitting house"/ Hale Moe "sleeping house"

Pronunciation of Hale Noho
Pronunciation of Hale Moe

This a picture of pandanus leaves that were woven for sleeping mats.

Hawaiians followed the general building techniques of southern Polynesia usually building by the seashore near the best fishing grounds. A chief might have several houses, each serving a special purpose.

The Hale Noho or Sitting House was relatively large and could be compared to our modern living room or parlor. It was rectangular in shape and the main supports were heavy wooden posts to which rafters were lashed. A framework of light poles was lashed to the rafters and upright posts and thatching tied to the poles. Generally there was only one low door, although some had two doors and others largely open at one end.

The Hale Noho was used for conversation and both men and women engaged in story telling freely. This was also used for quiet pastimes. The interior consisted of one room with no partitions.

At night the Hale Noho would function as a Hale Moe, which was where the families slept. Pillows were rectangular in shape and were woven of and stuffed with pandanus leaves. Mats for sleeping were also woven from pandanus leaves. Kapa cloth was necessary as a bed covering and was also used for clothing.

This house was kept clean inside and around the outside area and is indicative of the cleanliness, which was prominent in the Hawaiian lifestyle.


This is an olelo no'eau(wise saying) about Hale Noho/ Hale Moe:

ku ka hale i Punalu'u, i ka-wa-hu-o-Kauila

(The house stands at Punalu'u , at the gushing water of Kauila.)


This is a Bible scripture taken from Genesis 15.3:

And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."



Fener, Joseph. Hawaii; a pictorial History. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1969.
Life in early Hawaii the Ahupua‘a. Honolulu: Kamehameha schools press, 1994.