The couple died in a car accident sometime before the events of Lilo & Stitch (though Lilo implied that rain made road conditions treacherous), and they have not appeared in the franchise apart from three photographs: one of Lilo, Nani, and their parents having a picnic on the beach from the film; another photo of Makuahine winning the hula school's May Day celebration in 1973 in Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (when she was Lilo's age); and a third photo of Nani with her parents when she graduated to intermediate hula in the episode "Wishy-Washy".
Makuahine is depicted as kind and loving (and perhaps eccentric like her younger daughter), as well as an excellent hula dancer in her youth. She would placate her children by holding a family night, singing lullabies, and making up funny constellations. Lilo's father played the ukulele and was the one who coined the phrase: "ʻOhana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten." The phrase becomes a sort of family motto for his daughters and their intergalactic adopted clan. The couple's passing left a persistent sense of regret on their daughters; Lilo keeps the first photograph under her pillow as a close memento of the times they had together. Initially, she would not allow Stitch to touch it and even reject his attempts to return it when Stitch's fight with Jumba causes her house and the picture to become damaged. After his integration into the Pelekai family, the photo is modified with Stitch in the background to signify the family altogether.
Aside from the photographs, the only time the couple physically "appear" is in The Series episode "Remmy", which takes place on the anniversary of the accident. In Lilo's dream, the family photograph is used to turn Lilo's nightmares into a dream of the day the photograph was taken, which manages to make her happy again. This also temporarily brings her parents back as they play together in the dream. They did appear in flashback form in the Stitch and Experiments episodes "They Day That Lilo's Parents Died", "She Could Have a Baby", "10 Things I Love About Saturday", "It Came from the 90s" and "Hawaiian Spice Girls" and they are voiced by real life couple Tom Kenny and Jill Talley.
They also appeared in the final episode of the show "Armageddon Ready to Graduate Part 2" where it turns out they weren't killed and they faked their deaths to teach Nani a lesson about taking care of Lilo. They were under the eye of Cobra Bubbles and were finally introduced to Stitch and accept that Stitch is an alien.
- In a non-canon deleted scene from the first film, their graves can be seen, but their names, date of birth, and death were only partially shown.
- If Mrs. Pelekai won a May Day celebration at Lilo's age in 1973, she would likely have been born in 1966 or 1967 (depending on whether Lilo was six or seven in Lilo & Stitch 2).
- When Makahine was younger, she is shown to bear a strong resemblance to her younger daughter Lilo.