Na Inoa ʻĀina - Oʻahu Place Names
Na Inoa ʻĀina - Oʻahu Place Names
E ho‘olohe mai ‘oukou i na inoa ‘āina o Hawai‘i nei.
Listen to the stories of the place names of Hawai‘i.
This radio initiative hopes to educate the community through cultural awarness about the place names of Hawaii.
‘Āina Haina (click to listen)
In the 1920s, ‘Āina Haina on O‘ahu’s eastern shore was home to the Hind-Clarke Dairy. ‘Aina means land, and Haina refers to the dairy owner, Robert Hind.
Later, a subdivision and the first modern shopping center in Hawai‘i were built there. An older name, Wailupe, means “kite water,” and tells us that the area was one of only a few spots where kites or “lupe” could be flown in ancient times. Kite flying was considered kapu, reserved for specific times and events.
An even older name of that general area is “Kekaha” as preserved in the story of Kü-a-Päka‘a. A neighboring valley, “Niu,” means coconut.
‘Āina Haina, land of Robert Hind.
Honolulu (click to listen)
In 1845, Honolulu became the capital of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. “Hono” means “bay” and “lulu” means “peaceful or protected.” Honolulu means “protected bay.” Older names for the harbor are Kou referring to a native tree, and Mamala, named for supernatural woman who enjoyed surfing, drinking ‘awa and playing konane, a favorite game of our ancestors, similar to checkers.
The rain of Honolulu is Kukalahale. “He aloha no ‘o Honolulu i ka ua Kukalahale.” Beloved is Honolulu in the Kukalahale rain.
Honolulu, protected bay.
Ka‘alaea (click to listen)
Ka‘alaea is a land section beyond Kahalu‘u in O‘ahu’s Ko‘olaupoko district on the windward coast, the site of Senator Fong’s Plantation, a private botanical garden.
Named for a mineral oxide of iron that mingles with clay, soil or sand, ‘alaea is used for many purposes, including coloring salt red, medicine, dye, and for use ceremonially in hi‘uwai purification.
Neighboring land sections of Ka‘alaea include ‘Ahuimanu, meaning “cluster of birds,” Waihe‘e meaning “squid liquid,” Kahalu‘u, meaning “diving place,” and Waikane, meaning “water of the god, Kane.”
Ka‘alaea: the iron oxide earth.
Kane‘ohe (click to listen)
Kane‘ohe is a large land section in O‘ahu’s Ko‘olaupoko district. “Kane” means “man” or “husband” and “‘ohe” is “bamboo.” In one mo‘olelo or story, a woman compared her cruel husband to the cutting edge of a bamboo knife. “Bamboo husband” is the meaning of Kane‘ohe. The rain for that area is likened to a white fish basket, ‘Apuakea. “A he nani Kane‘ohe i ka ua ‘Apuakea.” Beautiful is Kane‘ohe in the ‘Apuakea rain.
Kane‘ohe, bamboo husband.
Keawa‘ula (click to listen)
Keawa‘ula is a popular land section, beach and surf spot, known colloquially as Yokohama Bay or “Yoks.”
In Hawaiian, awa means harbor, and ‘ula is the color red. Keawa‘ula means, “the red harbor.” Long ago, a great school of mühe‘e or cuttle fish entered the area. The reddish color of their backs under the water gave rise to the beach’s name.
On the way to Keawa‘ula, you’ll pass the valley of Mäkua, meaning “parents,” and Käneana, the cave of the god Käne, known today as Mäkua Cave.
Past Keawa‘ula heading further West, you’ll end up at Ka‘ena, meaning the heat.
Maika‘i Keawa‘ula no ka he‘e nalu. Keawa‘ula is a great surf spot.
Keawa‘ula: the red bay.
Moanalua (click to listen)
Moanalua is a valley and district at the ‘Ewa boundary of Honolulu. While we know the word “moana” to mean ocean, here moana could mean encampment or campground. Two lo‘i kalo or taro patches fed by ‘Iemi, a well-known water source, were favored by the ali‘i. The two nearby encampments associated with those lo‘i kalo, may have inspired the name, Moanalua.
Neighboring land sections are Aliapa‘akai or Salt Lake, and Kahauiki, meaning little hau tree. Mapunapuna, meaning “bubbling” was named for a spring-fed fish pond in the area.
Kilakila ‘o Moanalua, kihapai pua ‘ala. Majestic is Moanalua, a garden of fragrant blossoms.
Moanalua: two encampments.
Meaning “mud hen water,” Wai‘alae was a spring that gave its name to a large land section in Eastern O‘ahu. Wai‘alae is one of may names that begin with the word “wai,” fresh water, emphasizing the importance of wai to man’s existence. The greater portion of the district is Wai‘alae Nui or large Wai‘alae. Wai‘alae Iki meaning “small Wai‘alae” is a ridge, formerly known as Wiliwilinui, or large wiliwili tree.
Neighboring areas are Kahala named for the amberjack fish, and Kaimuki, “the ti root oven.”
Hu‘ihu‘i ka mapuna o Wai‘alae: Refreshing is the water spring of Wai‘alae.
Wai‘alae: mud hen water.
Wai‘anae is one of six large moku or districts on the island of O‘ahu, named for a valley on the leeward coast. “Wai” means fresh water, and “‘anae” are full-sized mullet, also called ‘ama‘ama. “Water of the mullet fish” is the meaning of Wai‘anae.
Many place names in Hawai‘i begin with “wai,” fresh water, as water was and is vital to man’s existense.
The wind at Wai‘anae is named Kaiaulu. ‘Olu‘olu ka makani Kaiaulu o Wai‘anae. So pleasant the Kaiaulu breeze of Wai‘anae.
Wai‘anae, water of the mullet fish.