Jude Weng directed Finding ‘Ohana is like any other treasure hunt movie, however, what makes it stand apart from the crowd is that the real treasure outweighs monetary value.
Brought up in Brooklyn, Pili, a geocaching fanatic has to cancel her geocaching camp to visit her sick grandfather in Hawaii where she finds a hidden journal in one of the drawers.
The journal appears to her as a potential solution to curb their family crisis and satiate her wish to go geocaching. Despite being fearful of local Hawaiian fables around Nightmarchers and caves she embarks to follow the route given in the journal to find the hidden treasure.
She is joined in by Casper, another 12-year-old fellow and their elder siblings Ioane (or E) and Hana. Do they succeed in their quest?
Here is the Finding ‘Ohana ending explained in detail:
Leaving gold behind
After many obstacles, most of which are life threatening, the group manages to crack the puzzle and discover 200-year-old treasure within a hidden cave, operated by a pulley system.
As much as the four of them are elated to discover the hidden riches, Pili, Casper, and Hana decide to let it remain untouched as soon as they realise that the cave is a resting place for a fallen warrior. Hana reveals that taking anything from there could result in serious consequences.
However, E, who finds the revelation too made up to be true, fills his pockets up with as much gold as he can carry. In no time, the group find themselves facing a supernatural shift in their surroundings, hinting at something dangerous to follow.
When Fables come to life
Finding ‘Ohana makes reference to an ancient folk tale from Hawaii focused on Nightmarchers. They are the souls of dead warriors who rise out of oceans or burial grounds whenever someone tries to disturb their resting place.
Drum beatings and sound of conch shells are the signals that the dead warriors have awakened from their slumber. The only way one can save oneself is by bowing and facing the ground to avoid any eye contact. One can also be saved if one of the Nightmarcher identifies the human as their progeny and saves them.
Since, Pili, E, Casper and Hana disturb the cave of a resting soul on their quest to find the hidden treasure, everything the fables claimed comes true. The only option left is to run for their lives.
When Leilani reconciles with the children, they all hide themselves in a shed and bow to pay reverence. Luckily, one of the Nightmarchers recognises them. He turns out to be Leilani’s deceased husband, Kua.
Kua had died in war many years back and now is one of the souls protecting the sacred caves and heritage of Hawaii. He greets his family and this potentially dangerous moment turns into a special family reunion. Eventually, Kua (or his spirit) bids farewell, and retreats into the ocean.
The real treasure: ‘Ohana
Even though they leave the gold behind, Pili, E, Leilani, and Kimo find the real treasure, the true meaning of ‘Ohana (family in Hawaiian). The treasure hunt brings E and Pili closer to their roots and makes them realise the importance of their true Hawaiian heritage.
Furthermore, even though Leilani and Kimo promise to work o their strained relationship much before the Nightmarchers’ episode, it is towards the end we see Leilani in a completely different light when she takes accountability for her past actions and chooses to make inclusive decisions together as a family.
We also find out that E, Pili and Leilani move back to Hawaii with their grandfather.