123 Traditional Hawaiian Baby Names

Searching for the perfect baby name? Writing a story and need to name a character? Look no further! Traditional Hawaiian names are some of the most beautiful choices that you can make. Though the names are unisex and have no assigned gender, many of them have become common for either women or men. These names are common as first names, but are wonderful choices for middle names.

Traditional Hawaiian birth names are given in by an older family member (called a kupuna) or the baby’s parents. There are six ways that babies are given these names in traditional Hawaiian culture:

  • inoa ‘ulaleo: a name heard (most often mystical)
  • inoa ewe: a name given based on personality traits
  • inoa po: a name heard in a dream
  • inoa ho’omanao: a name referencing an event or person
  • inoa ho’ailona: a name seen in a vision
  • inoa kupuna: a family name that is handed down from ancestors

Hawaii and its culture struggles as a whole. As time goes on, more and more of their history, knowledge, culture, and traditions are being erased, forgotten, and written over. The people of Hawaii are still fighting every day in order to protect their lands and keep sacred places safe. This collection of Hawaiian Baby names aren’t just things that are written on birth certificates; names reflect so much history.

 

Religious Hawaiian Baby Names

Names that reflect religious beliefs are incredibly common across all cultures. Religion is something that people hold near and dear to their hearts, so these are some of the most common religious Hawaiian names.

  • Akau: God
  • Anela: Angel
  • Edena: Eden
  • Heiau: Temple
  • Ho’opono: Faithful
  • Iokepa: St. Joseph
  • Ionakana: God gives
  • Kalani: Of the heavens
  • Kalea: Prayers
  • Kaimana: Divine Power of the Sea
  • Kaimi: Seeker
  • Keona: God’s gift
  • Kimokea: Honoring God
  • Lea: Goddess of canoe builders
  • Leia: Child of heaven
  • Leialoha: Beloved child
  • Leilani: Royal child
  • Malu Lani: Protected by heaven
  • Mana: Divine power
  • Noelani: Beautiful girl from heaven
  • Okalani: From heaven
  • Pili Lani: Close to heaven
  • Pomaika`i: Blessing, lucky
  • Pualani: Heaven’s flower
  • Pukalani: Heavenly gate
  • Ualoheke Akua: God has listened

Next: 60 Mom Names You’ll Know From Pop Culture

 

Powerful Hawaiian Baby Names

A person’s name is often their first impression. Having a powerful name can be a useful asset. Oftentimes, parents name their children after something powerful in hopes that the child will thus wield a certain amount of power.

  • Alaka’i: Guide, leader
  • Alana: Awakening
  • Ailani: High Chief
  • Ali’ikai: Queen/King of the Sea
  • Hanohano: Nobel
  • Haoa: Hot (like the sun)
  • Ikaika: Strong, powerful
  • Ka’eo: Zealous
  • Kalani: Chieftain
  • Kanakamana: Powerful man
  • Ka Nui: Great
  • Kanunu: Strong
  • Kei: Dignified
  • Keilani: Glorious chief
  • Kekipi: Rebel
  • Kekoa: Brave, courageous
  • Keli’i: Chief
  • Koa: Warrior, fearless
  • Koa Ikaika: Strong warrior
  • Ku’uaki: Guardian
  • Lalama: Fearless, daring
  • Lanakila: Victorious
  • Lokela: Famous warrior
  • Maka Koa: Bold
  • Makaha: Fierce, savage
  • Po`okela: Champion, superior

 

Nature Hawaiian Names

Poetry, art, and music are often modeled after nature. The raw beauty that nature offers is inspiring to all, so it’s a no-brainer as to why babies are often named after things in nature. Hawaii’s beautiful lands offer many different inspirations for the traditional nature-related names.

  • Alapai: Coastal
  • Alamea: Volcanic stone
  • Alaula: Light of dawn
  • Anuenue: Rainbow
  • Aolani: Heavenly cloud
  • Aukai: Seafarer
  • Hepualaha’ole: Uncommon flower
  • Hokuikekai: Star of the sea
  • Iolana: To soar like a hawk
  • Kai: Sea
  • Kailani: Beach and sky
  • Kailanu: Surf
  • Kalama: Torch
  • Ka Pua: Blossom
  • Keola: Life
  • Kiele: Gardenia
  • Konane: Moonlight
  • La: Sun
  • Lana: Calm as still waters
  • Mahina: Moon
  • Makani: Wind
  • Mamo: Yellow bird
  • Meli: Honey
  • Moana: Ocean
  • Nahele: Forest
  • Nalani: Calm of the skies
  • Palila: Bird
  • Pauo’le: Never ending
  • Pikake: Jasmine
  • Pua: Flower
  • Puanani: Beautiful flower
  • Wai Nani: Beautiful water

 

Personality-Specific Names

Much like how a powerful name could mean power in the child’s life, a name that reflects a specific personality or attribute could result in a child who reflects those characteristics. 

  • Ahonui: Patience
  • Alohi: Brilliant
  • Anuhea: Cool, fragrant
  • `Auli`i: Dainty, cute, perfect
  • `Eleu: Alert, energetic, agile
  • Hau’oli: Joyful, happy
  • Hiwahiwa: Precious, favorite
  • Hiwalani: Attractive
  • Ka Hiwa: Favorite
  • Kaila: Style
  • Kalea: Bright
  • Kapa`a: Firm, steadfast
  • Kau’i: Beauty
  • Konani: Bright
  • Ku’oko’a: Independent
  • Kupa`a: Loyal
  • Ku’uipo: Sweet
  • Lae`ula: Clever
  • Laka: Gentle
  • Luana: Content, happy
  • Maka Luana: Friendly
  • Maka: Favorite

 

Eponym: Named After Someone 

Just like naming a child after a parent, children are often named after community elders, respectable people, and others who are important to the parents.

  • Aikane: Friend
  • Akamu: Adam
  • Akoni: Anthony
  • Alika: Alec
  • Amosa: Amos
  • Apikaila: Abigail
  • Ekewaka: Edward
  • Hawika: Beloved
  • Hiapo: First born
  • Kamea: The one and only
  • Kawika: David
  • Kimo: James
  • Ku`u Hoaloha `Oi: Best friend
  • Ku`u: Apple of my eye
  • Lopaka: Robert
  • Mea A`a: Adventurer
  • Pakelika: Patrick

 

This collection of traditional Hawaiian names showcases the multifaceted ways that a child is often named in Hawaiian culture. These baby names have no gender affiliation and are used for both girls and boys. In addition to that, these names are also used for both first and middle names. These names can help parents connect with their Hawaiian culture, and others may be able to find a deeper appreciation for their culture as well.

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Ann Tyger
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