TRADITIONAL HAWAIIAN NAMES

 

Traditional Hawaiian names have specific meanings and are usually given to a person at birth by a kupuna (family elder) or by their parents. A traditional Hawaiian birth name is typically chosen based on the following:

inoa po: name in the night; a name received in a dream

inoa ho’ailona: name in a sign; a name received in the form of a vision, mystic sign, natural phenomenon

inoa ‘ulaleo: voiced name; a name heard

inoa ho’omanao: commemorative name for an event or to honor a person

inoa kupuna: a name handed down; of an ancestor

inoa ewe: a name based on traits or personality

 

Traditional Hawaiian names are commonly given as first and/or middle names by both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians in Hawaii and beyond. Below are some of the more popular traditional Hawaiian names. If you don't find what you are looking for you can try contacting the Bishop Museum which has Hawaiian language experts available for hire for translation work. We do not provide translations by request.

Name
Phonetic Sound
Meaning

 

`Auli`i

[au lee' ee]

Dainty, Cute, Exquisite, Cute, Perfect, Trim, Nice

 

Aikane

[ai kah' neh]

Friend

 

Ailani

[ah ee law nee]

High Chief

 

Alana

[ah law nah]

Awakening

 

Ali'ikai

[ah lee 'ee kai]

King or Queen of the Sea

 

Alohi

[ah low hee]

Brilliant

 

Anuhea

[ah new hay ah]

Cool and Fragrant

 

Aolani

[a oh law nee]

A Heavenly Cloud

 

`Eleu

[eh' leu]

Alert, Lively, Energetic, Spry, Nimble, Agile

 

Hau'oli

[how ol ee]

Joy, Happy

 

Hawika

[hah vee ka]

Beloved

 

Hepualaha'ole

[heh pooh ah lah ha oh lay]

Uncommon Flower

 

Hiapo

[hi ah poh]

First Born

 

Hiwalani

[he wah law nee]

The Attractive One

 

Hiwahiwa

[hee' vah hee' vah]

Precious, Beloved, Darling, Indulged, Favorite

 

Hokuikekai

[hoh' koo' ee keh kai]

Star of the Sea

 

Ho'opono

[ho oh poh no]

Faithful

 

Ikaika

[ee kai' kah]

Strong, Powerful

 

Iolana

[ee oh law na]

To Soar Like a Hawk

 

Ka Hiwa

[kah hee vah]

The Favorite One

 

Ka Nui

[kah new ee]

The Greatest

 

Ka Pua

[kah poo ah]

The Blossom

 

Kau'i

[kah ooh ee]

The Beauty

 

Kaila

[kah ee lah]

Style

Name
Phonetic Sound
Meaning

 

Kaimana

[kai mah nah]

Divine Power of the Sea

 

Kaimi

[kah ee mee]

The Seeker

 

Kalani

[kah law ee]

Of the Heavens, Chieftain

 

Kalea

[kah lee ah]

Bright

 

Kamea

[kah may ah]

The One and Only

 

Kanunu

[kah new new]

The Strong One

 

Kapa`a

[kah pah' ah]

The Firm, The Steadfast

 

Kei

[kei]

Dignified

 

Keilani

[kay ee law nee]

Glorious Chief

 

Kekipi

[keh kee' pee]

The Rebel

 

Kekoa

[keh koh' (w)ah]

The Brave, The Courageous

 

Keli'i

[key lee ee]

The Chief

 

Koa

[koh' (w)ah]

Brave, Bold, Fearless, Warrior

 

Konani

[co naw nee]

Bright

 

Ku'uaki

[koo' oo (w)ah' kee]

Guardian

 

Ku`u Hoaloha `Oi

[koo' oo hoh (wah) loh' hah oi]

My Best Friend

 

Ku`u Maka

[koo' oo mah' kah]

Apple of My Eye

 

Ku'oko'a

[koo oh koh ah]

Independent

 

Kupa`a

[koo' pah ah]

Loyal

 

Ku'uipo

[koo oo ee poh]

Sweetheart

 

Lae`ula

[lae oo' lah]

Clever

 

Laka

[lah' kah]

Gentle, Tame

 

Lalama

[lah lah' mah]

Daring, Fearless, Clever

 

Lana

[lah nah]

Calm as still waters

 

Name
Phonetic Sound
Meaning

 

Lanakila

[lah nah key lah]

Victorious

 

Lea

[lay ah]

Mythological goddess of canoe builders

 

Leia

[lay ee ah]

Child of Heaven

 

Leialoha

[lay a low ha]

Beloved Child

 

Leilani

[lay lah nee]

Heavenly Lei; Royal Child

 

Luana

[loo on ah]

Content; Happy

 

Lulua`ina

[loo loo (w)ah' ee nah]

Freckles

 

Maka Koa

[mah' kah koh' (w)ah]

Bold, Fierce

 

Maka Launa

[mah' kah lau' nah]

Friendly

 

Maka Nani

[mah ka nah nee]

Beautiful Eyes

 

Maka

[mah' kah]

Favorite One

 

Makaha

[mah' kah hah]

Fierce, Ferocious, Savage

 

Makamae

[mah kah mae']

Precious, Cherished

 

Makana

[mah kah' nah]

Gift

 

Makani

[mah kah nee]

Wind

 

Makani

[mah kaw nee]

The Wind

 

Malana

[mah law nah]

Calming, Soothing

 

Malie

[mah lee ee]

Calm

 

Malu Lani

[mah loo law nee]

Protected by Heaven

 

Maluhia

[mah loo hee ah]

Peaceful

 

Mano

[mah no]

Shark, Passionate Lover

 

Mea A`a

[meh (y)ah ah' ah]

Adventurer

 

Meli

[meh' lee]

Honey

 

Miliani

[me lee on nee]

Gentle Carress

Name
Phonetic Sound
Meaning

 

Na`auao

[nah au (w)ao']

Intelligent

 

Nahoa

[nah hoh' (w)ah]

Defiant, Bold

 

Nalani

[nah lah nee]

The Calm of the Skys

 

Nani

[nah' nee]

Beautiful, Pretty

 

Niele

[nee' (y)eh leh]

Curious

 

Noa

[noh' (w)ah]

Free, Freedom

 

Noelani

[no eh lah nee]

Beautiful Girl from Heaven

 

Nohea

[no hay ah]

Loveliness

 

Nui

[nui]

Big, Large, Great, Important

 

Okalani

[oh kah lah nee]

From Heaven

 

Palani

[pah law nee]

A Free Man

 

Pauo'le

[pow oh lay]

Never Ending

 

Pili Lani

[pee lee lah nee]

Close to Heaven

 

Pilialoha

[pee lee ah loh' ha]

Close Friend

 

Po`okela

[poh oh keh lah]

Champion, Best, Foremost, Superior

 

Polunu

[poh' loo noo]

Chubby

 

Pomaika`i

[poh' mai kah' ee]

Lucky, Blessing, Good Fortune, Blessed, Prosperous

 

Pono

[poh no]

Righteous

 

Pua

[poo' (w)ah]

Flower

 

Pualani

[poo ah law nee]

Heaven's Flower; Heavenly Flower

 

Puanani

[poo ah naw nee]

Beautiful Flower

 

Punahele

[poo nah heh' leh]

Favorite

 

Ualoheke Akua

[oo' (w)ah loh' heh keh ah koo' (w)ah]

God Has Listened

 

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