The Story of Pono


The Hawaiian word “Pono” means being in perfect alignment with all things in the universe where this beautiful word captures the beauty of the Hawaiian culture and paradise.  

Like the Hawaiian word “aloha” with countless meanings, “Pono” is a Hawaiian word that can take paragraphs to fully define. The Hawaiian state motto “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Aina I ka Pono” is literally translated as “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” The closest English translations in many Hawaiian dictionaries use over 80 words to define “Pono” including goodness, morality, excellence, equity, duty, proper, virtuous, righteousness, and generally associated with a state of harmony or practice.

Being pono means living in perfect alignment with all things in life where your every thought and action is in perfect harmony with the earth including yourself as a spiritual being.  We are all connected with the universe spiritually and also connected with the earth itself. As a caretaker for the land, it is your responsibility to leave this earth better than you found it for future generations. Not only does living pono have environmental responsibilities, but it also has implications with your relationships with others. Living pono means that you have a proper and respectful relationship with your parents, spouse, children, neighbors, and all others.  Such relationships should be devoid of anger, jealousy or negativity of any kind. Discord in these relationships should be resolved with ho’oponopono — the setting right of bad feelings. Ho’oponopono should be entered by all parties with a sincere desire to resolve differences and not an avenue to argue fairly. Once the parties are able to discard all negative energy, they are pono once again. Harmony returns. Peace, love and aloha return.

All actions in our lives can be divided into two categories: those actions that are pono and those that are not pono.  Our roles in life is to live a life that is pono in all our actions. In traditional Hawaiian culture, the ali’i (chief) served as a leader who was supposed to provide the best lives for his people and live pono by example. Those chiefs who failed to live pono were dispensed with their duty. Members of these traditional Hawaiian communities who did not choose a life of pono were outcasted from society.

Pono should be the standard worth adopting in all our lives. Imagine life where we have all found pono with our spiritual connection with the universe, as guardian of the earth itself, and amongst all our relationships. Finding this peace and harmony should be the goal of all our lives and we have an obligation to spread this to others.

Pono Chocolate embodies this harmonious balance where every aspect of the chocolate brings one back to pono. Our chocolates are blessed by a local Kahuna where the Hawaiian blessing of love and aloha is absorbed in each bite, reminding you to live pono just as we give back to our local community with a percentage of profits going back to this beautiful culture that inspired us.  We also preserve pono by our responsibly sourced ingredients, the tastes of Hawaii, the Polynesian artistic designs, and the inspired wisdom in each wrapper (called “'Ōlelo”), Pono Chocolate is the perfect way to remind us that “life is ono when you live pono” (life is delicious when you live right).

What makes Pono Chocolate the most unique is the 'Ōlelo, or words of wisdom,  wrapped inside each bar. Taken from proverbs and philosophies derived from the Hawaiian islands, the note enclosed in each Pono Chocolate bar conveys an "'ōlelo” on how to live a life more pono. Whether a gift to others or for yourself, these words of wisdom make Pono Chocolate an authentic Hawaiian experience.  

Here are just a few examples of the beautiful 'Ōlelo you might find nestled inside your wrapper:

  • Mai ho`oni i ka wai lana mâlie.
    Don’t disturb water that is tranquil.
    (Allow the peaceful to continue their peaceful existence.)
  • `A`ohe pau ka `ike i ka hâlau ho`okâhi.

    All knowledge is not taught in one school.
    (One learns from a variety of sources.)
  • `A`ohe pu`u ki`eki`e ke ho`â`o `ia e pi`i.

    No cliff is so tall that it cannot be climbed.

    (No problem is too great to be overcome.)

 Which words of wisdom will you find inside your Pono Chocolate Bar?


Our mission at Pono Chocolate is to live an authentic pono lifestyle, this includes making our sweet and savory chocolates in a responsible way while motivating others to learn from the infinite wisdom of the Hawaiian culture of pono.

At Pono Chocolate, we maintain and agree to uphold our responsibility to the Hawaiian community.  Blessings are a sacred tradition in Hawaiian culture where a Hawaiian minister ("Kuhina") invites goodness, harmony, love, peace and aloha into all things that are blessed. Our company itself, as well as ingredients in each bar are blessed by a Hawaiian Kahuna, and therefore every bar carries a true Hawaiian blessing to you. The Kuhina Alalani Astara Hill also blesses all of the 'ōleo before they are placed in the bars. In her words, “When taking a bite, take a breath and reflect on how you can share some pono -- how you can pay it forward.”

Dating back to the early days of the Hawaiian culture, the blessing ceremony is based on the traditional Hawaiian belief in kapu, or taboos, that can exist on a physical space.  Some kapus included curses or negative energy and the Kuhina performs the ceremony to remove any such negative energy giving the inhabitants positive energy. The blessing ceremonies vary and are often personalized, but they often include the same three elements: blessing from Akua (God), the sprinkling of salt water, and the untying of a maile lei that has been draped across the threshold (virtual or real). The salt water, representing the healing waters of the ocean, is sprinkled on the space and the people so that impurities are removed.  The maile lei is made from a native, fragrant, twining shrub sacred to Hawaiians and the untying of the lei opens the space being blessed.

Consistent with our philosophy, we are committed to giving back to the Hawaiian residents a portion of our profits year after year with a local charity or cause here in Hawaii. In 2018, Pono Chocolate contributed to the local Salvation Army in response to the repeated natural disasters including torrential rain on Kauai, devastating lava and ash from volcano on the Big Island, and Hurricane Lane that also hit the Big Island with over three feet of rain and spread wildfires across parts of Maui. Pono also supports Toys for Tots and brought gifts to the local keiki (children) just in time for the holidays.

With the 100% of the profits of the sale of our Special Edition Ola bar going to the Pacific Cancer Foundation, Pono Chocolate was able to donate $4000 in cash and kind to this organization in 2019-2020.  In October of 2020 we will be offering the Ola bar once again to continue our commitment to giving back to our Hawaiian Ohana. 

Nancy LaJoy accepts donation from Jen and Jan, Pono Chocolate Founders in Spring 2020

Nancy LaJoy, Director of the Pacific Cancer Foundation on Maui accepts donation from Jen and Jan, Founders of Pono Chocolate in Spring 2020 

We will continue to update our the site and share with you how Pono gives back to our beautiful Hawaii.