The names of areas approximately the big Island the Hawaii have significant meanings. We placed together the background behind some of the recognizable city names and districts top top the island: Hilo and Puna.

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The following song is from Na Mele o Hawai`i Nei, 101 Hawaiian Songs, accumulated by Samuel H. Elbert and also Noelani Mahoe. Other info is either from Place surname of Hawaiʻi, by Pukui, Elbert and also Mookini, or the Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and also Elbert.

Hilo, Hanakahi, ns ka ua Kani-lehuaPuna, paia `ala, i ka paia `ala ns ka hala.Ka`ū, i ka makani, i ka makani kuehu lepoKona, i ke kai, i ke kai hāwanawana.Wai-mea, ns ka ua, i ka ua Kīpu`upu`u.Kohala, i ka makani, ns ka makani `Āpa`apa`a.Hāmākua, i ka pali, ns ka pali lele koa`e.Ha`ina ka puana, ns ka ua Kani-lehua.


Hilo refers to both the city of Hilo and the districts that South and North Hilo. In the song, we begin in Hilo-Hanakahi which is an area towards Ke-au-kahaHanakahi was a well known chief of Hilo. Over there are generally three referrals to Hilo: Hilo-one (sand Hilo), Hilo-Hanakahi and Hilo-pali-ku (Hilo the the upright cliff, eastern of the Wailuku River). Hilo is believed to be either called for the an initial night the the new moon or for a Polynesian navigator. The word Hilo has lot of meanings, however one the the main interpretations is "to braid or twist." Hilo is additionally a type of grass (mau`u-Hilo), and also a selection of sweet potato. However, be cautious with this word as it can additionally mean gonorrhea: a running sore. Hilo is well known for its Kani-lehua rain (lehua rustling).

So, why does Hilo mean "to braid or twist"? we were told the when Kamehameha landed in Hilo by canoe, the instructed one of his followers to hold the canoe for this reason it would not drift away. Later, once the follower pertained to his assistance, Kamehameha was thankful for the assist but angry that he had actually left the canoe unattended together it could have drifted away. The guy showed Kamehameha that he had actually twisted cordage to hold the canoe. Because they were in Hilo, the particular form of braid was described as Hilo.


We then travel to Puna. This is the name of the district. The word “puna” can plenty of meanings, including:

A spring of water or coral, lime, plaster, calcium, coral containerThe section in between joints or nodes together of bamboo or sugar caneThe cuttle bone as of squidAn abbreviation for kupuna (elder) as a hatchet of addressAn abbreviation for punalua (used for spouses share a spouse, 2 husbands or 2 wives)Verb an interpretation "to paddle with the hands," as to start a surfboard to capture a waveThe Hawaiian word because that spoon.

We think Puna, in this case, has actually the an initial definition. Due to the fact that the aquifer in Puna has so much water and there are many springs, Puna probably mirrors the variety of springs in the area.

In Nā Mele o Hawai`i Nei, the recommendation to Puna is interpreted as “Puna, fragrant bowers, fragrant bowers through the scent of hala” (pandanus). The translation indigenous Pukui, in `Ōlelo No`eau is “Puna, with walls fragrant with pandanus blossoms.” Puna was once recognized for the groves of hala and `ōhi`a-lehua trees. According to Pukui, in the olden days, world would pole bracts of hala into the thatching of their residences to bring some the the fragrance indoors.

You room probably acquainted with lau hala, the pandanus pipeline which are provided to do hats, mats and also other plaited things. Hala has female tree which be afflicted with the pineapple looking fruit; however, it is the male tree that bears spikes of fragrant pollen bearing flowers, or hīnano.

Hīnano bracts were provided to plait the finest garments called ahu hīnano. The bracts to be dried and also torn into really narrow strips before plaiting. These garments have a soft, fine texture and also were characterized by marvelous flexibility. Hīnano had one more use as well. The whole inflorescence was used as a love charm. Girls would certainly pick them and chase a boy of she choice, and upon recording him, beat him over the head v it. Supposedly, the pollen would then cloak his head and also make the boy autumn in love through the girl. The pollen was often gathered to be used as an aphrodisiac. It might be put in a drink and given to someone to drink; frequently the human being drinking might be unaware that what they were drinking.

To praise a well-formed person (good looking, nice body, etc.) one would certainly say, niniu Puna, pō i ke `ala: “Puna is dizzy/overwhelming with the fragrance the the hala flower.” probably the Mayor’s parents were thinking of all these things once they provided him his name: Puna-paia-ala-i-ka-hala.

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Ready to proceed to Ka’ū? 

From Puna, head to Ka’ū v Part 2 of beginnings of ar Names about the large Island.