Traditional Hawaiian Names

Replica of grass hut on Kualoa Ranch.

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

 In traditional Hawaiian medicine ilima flowers were used with other plants to assist women during pregnancy.

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. 

Name
Phonetic Sound
Literal Translation 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

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

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

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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