51 unique Hawaiian baby names and their meanings

51 unique Hawaiian baby names and their meanings

Hawaiian baby names can bring a bit of the islands home to you, with names as exotic as they are beautiful. "Naming your child is one of the most important things you will do for them," says Manu Ka'iama, a professor at the University of Hawaii and a member of the Native Hawaiian Education Council.

When choosing a name, Ka'iama reminds parents to consider the name's significance in the culture. "If you decide to reach out into a culture that you are not a part of, you may want to do some research," she suggests.

For example, naming your child the Hawaiian names for "king" or "queen" can be viewed as offensive. If you're unsure how Hawaiians might react to your child's name, Ka'iama says to pick a "Hawaiianized" version of an English name. It's "the safest route" and "is very common," she notes, citing Keoni (for John), Kimo (for James), Kiana (for Diana) and Malia (for Mary) as examples.

Bucking baby name trends and looking for unique names can be tough, even without having to worry about whether or not you're offending an entire culture. To help you out, we reviewed a bunch of different websites (including babynames.net) and came up with our own curated list of the most unique Hawaiian baby names. Here are 51 to get you started!

(Want more name ideas? Check out these Greek baby names and Mexican baby names.)

Hawaiian names for girls

Name Pronunciation Name Meaning and/or Origin
Elikapeka eh-lee-kah-PEH-kah A Hawaiian version of Elizabeth, this name means "Promise of God."
Iolana ee-oh-lahn-ah The initial "I" is pronounced with a long e sound, and it means "soaring like a hawk."
Leilani LAY-la-knee A lovely, traditional Hawaiian name meaning "heavenly flower."
Kaena KAY-ah-na This name means "praised" and is also the name of the westernmost point of the island of Oahu.
Kakalina kah-ka-LEE-nah A derivative of Katherine that means "chaste and pure."
Kulani koo-LAH-nee Kulani has its origins in the Hawaiian language and means "rising towards heaven."
Halia ha-LEE-a This name means "remembrance of a loved one."
Leimomi LAY-moh-mee Stemming from Hawaiian language meaning "daughter of pearls."
Malana Mah-LAY-na Having Polynesian roots, this name means "calming, relaxing."
Mahaelani mah-heh-LAH-nee Originating from the Hawaiian language, this name means "dive mist."
Noelani noeh-LAH-nee Meaning "heavenly mist" the root of this name is Noel, which is Latin for "born on Christmas."
Ona OH-nuh This name means "sweetness."
Pua PUA-aa Pua is a word that means "flower."
Urima Uu-r-ih-m-ah This name means "the fruit of the earth."
Waiola WIE-oh-lah A Hawaiian version of Viola, the protagonist of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, meaning "violet flower."

Hawaiian names for boys

Name Pronunciation Name Meaning and/or Origin
Akamu UH-ku-mah This name means "of the earth."
Akoni ah-KOW-Niy Akoni is frequently used in Hawaii, but it comes from Latin. It's a variant form of the English name Anthony.
Ekewaka eh-keh-WAH-kah This name means "protector or guardian of riches or wealth."
Kaipo KAI-po This boy name can also be used for girls and means "sweetheart." Kaepo, Kapo and Kaypo are variations of Kaipo.
Kale k-ALE Pronounced just like the popular leafy vegetable, this name means "man."
Kanye CON-yah In Hawaiian, this name means "free."
Keanu KEY-ya-noo Reminiscent of the Islands themselves, this name means "cool breeze over the mountains."
Keon KEY-on Keon comes from the Hebrew word for John and means "God is gracious."
Liko LEE-co Liko means "bud," like the part of a flower.
Lilo LEE-low With origins in the Hawaiian language, this name means "one who is generous."
Nohea NOH-eh-ah Nohea is commonly used. It means "lovely" or" handsome."
Ori OR-ee This name means "my light."
Peni PEH-nee A Hawaiian derivative of Ben.
Tua TOO-ah A Polynesian name meaning "behind or at the back."
Uluwehi oo-loo-WEH-hee An earthy choice, this name means "lush flourishing plants."

Unisex Hawaiian names

Name Pronunciation Name Meaning and/or Origin
Akela ah-KEH-lah Meaning "graceful and noble," this name is the Hawaiian version of Adela and Asher.
Aloha ah-LO-hah Aloha, a word synonymous with Hawaii, means "loving or kindhearted."
Healani heh-ah-LAH-nee Originally from Hawaii, this name means "haze from heavens."
Kahula kah-HOO-lah An older name that means "dancing."
Kai KIE While it is currently more popular for baby boys, this unisex name means "from the sea."
Kalua kah-LOO-ah This could be perfect for your second baby, since the name translates to "the second child."
Kawai kah-WIE Another aquatic named, this means "coming from water."
Keao keh-AH-oh This name means "the light of day."
Lanakila lah-nah-KEE-lah This name originated from the Hawaiian language meaning "victory."
Leialoha LAY-ah-loh-hah This name means "darling child."
Lono LOH-noh Named after the Hawaiian god of agriculture and rainfall.
Makani mah-KAH-nee A traditional Hawaiian name meaning "wind."
Moani moh-AH-nee Currently more popular for girls, this name means "breezes of scent."
Nohea noh-HEH-ah This name means "beautiful."
Pauahi pou-AH-hee The name of a crater located on the Big Island of Hawaii meaning "fire is over."
Ulani uw-LAW-Niy Stemming from the Hawaiian language, this name means "cheerful."
Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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