‘ILIO HOLO I KA UAUA (pronounced:/ee-lee-oh hoh·low ee kahh ooh-ahh ooh-ahh)
means “dog that runs in rough water” and is the Hawaiian word for the Hawaiian monk seal. The ‘ilio holo i ka uaua is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world and is the only seal native to Hawai’i. It is Hawai’i’s state mammal and can sometimes be seen basking in the sun on Hawai’i’s beaches.
'EKAHI (pronounced: /aye-kaah-hee/)
means one in Hawaiian. In Hawai'i, a child's 1st birthday is an important milestone which is often celebrated by having a big lū'au (feast) with family and friends. A fun activity for children this age is to learn how to count to 5 in Hawaiian:
'ekahi (1), 'elua (2), 'ekolu (3), 'eha (4), 'elima (5)!
LIO (pronounced lee-oh)
means horse. The first lio arrived in Hawai’i in 1804. In 1832, the vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) were invited to Hawai’i to teach Hawaiians how to ride a lio and rope wild cattle. By 1836, long before the “wild west” and what we consider “American cowboys,” Hawai’i had working paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys). Ranching would become an important part of Hawai’i’s economy.
WA'A (pronounced: /vaah-ahh/)
means canoe. the earliest settlers to the Hawaiian Islands voyaged across the Pacific and between the Hawaiian Islands in a wa'a. They were master navigators, using the stars as an important method of ocean navigation.
HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUĀPUA'A (pronounced: who-moo-who-moo-nooh-kooh-nooh-kooh-aah-pooh-aah-aah)
means "triggerfish with a snout like a pig." The humuhumunukunukuāpua'a is the official state fish of Hawai'i. With its bright colors and bold markings, it is easily identifiable to snorkelers and swimmers and can be seen throughout the coral reefs in Hawai'i.
I‘A (pronounced ee-uh)
means fish. I’a is also the word used to refer to any marine animal, such as eel, oyster, or whale. There are 680 species of i’a in the Hawaiian islands! More than 30% of these i’a are endemic to Hawai‘i: they are found no where else in the world!
PIPI KĀNE (pronounced pee-pee-kah-neigh)
means bull. The first pipi kane was introduced to Hawai’i in 1793 by Captain Vancouver, as a gift to Kamehameha I. Kamehameha placed a kapu (“taboo”) on all cattle so they would multiply; they were allowed to roam free through villages and streets. Although these new animals were troublesome at first, they were the seeds of what later grew into a rich ranching heritage in Hawai’i.
HONU (pronounced hoh-noo)
is the general name for turtle. More specifically, honu refers to the green sea turtle, a threatened species in Hawai’i. A full size honu can weigh up to 400 pounds and is thought to have a lifespan of 100 years!
ĀNUENUE (pronounced aah-nooh-aye-nooh-aye)
means rainbow. Hawai’i is nicknamed the "Rainbow State" for its many brilliant ānuenue. Hawai’i's children, like its ānuenue, are a beautiful mixture of different cultures and traditions, making our state unique and very special.
PUA‘A (pronounced pooh-ahh-uh)
is the word for pig. In Hawai’i there are many wild pua'a that live in mountain forests. Pua'a were first brought to Hawai'i by Polynesian voyagers ~ 1500 years ago. Wild pua'a are usually black in color, weigh 120 pounds on average, and can have tusks as long as 5-6 inches!
KOHOLĀ (pronounced: koh-hoh-lah)
means humpback whale. Every winter, the koholā swim 3000 miles from Alaska to Hawaii to breed and give birth. A mother koholā is ~45 feet long and weighs ~40-45 tons. A koholā calf will average 14 feet in length and weigh two tons at birth!
PULELEHUA (pronounced pooh-leh-leh-hoo-uh)
means butterfly. Pulelehua is also the name of the Kamehameha butterfly, one of only two butterflies native to Hawai’i. The Pulelehua Kamehameha is Hawai’i’s state insect. Its bright red wings are bordered by a black outline and span 2 1/2 inches.
PUA (pronounced pooh-uh)
means flower, blossom, or to bloom. Pua is also sometimes used poetically when talking about a child or an offspring. The song “Kaulana Nā Pua” means: “famous/celebrated are the children.”
NAI‘A (pronounced nye-uh)
is the word for dolphin. Nai’a are considered to be one of the most intelligent animals. They are able to leap to heights of over 20 feet! Nai’a are often seen “surfing” coastal swells; play is a very important part of their lives.
PĀPA‘I (pronounced pah-puh-ee)
is the general name for crab. Pāpa’i regularly outgrow their shells and form a new larger one, or molt, about 25 times throughout their lives. They leave behind a perfect skeleton shell of themselves. These shells are fun to find on rocks near the shoreline.
MO‘O (pronounced |moh-oh)
means lizard. Mo’o is also the word for dragon, serpent, or for a reptile of any kind. The mo’o is an ancient mythological guardian spirit believed to be a lizard of monstrous size... sometimes as big as a house! The mo’o could use the body of the gecko as one of its many alternate forms.
PU‘UWAI (pronounced pooh-oo-vye)
means heart, or heart-shaped. Pu’uwai is often used in songs to describe feelings of friendship and love.
HE‘E (pronounced heh-eh)
is the word for octopus. He’e are camouflage artists. They are able to change color to match their environment in order to go undetected by their prey. For fast getaways, he’e will eject a cloud of black ink to distract the predator while they escape in the opposite direction.
MANŌ (pronounced mah-noh)
is the general name for shark. Manō have layered rows of teeth in their gums. When one tooth falls out, another one takes its place. During its life span, the manō may lose as many as 50,000 teeth!
MOA KĀNE (pronounced: moh-uh kah-nay)
means rooster. The moa kāne was brought to Hawai'i by the first settlers to these islands. Today, wild moa kāne can be found in both urban and rural settings all over Hawai'i. These brightly colored, sometimes speckled moa kāne, can be heard cock-a-doodle-doo-ing not just at first light, but all day long!
‘OPIHI (pronounced oh-pee-hee)
is the word for limpet. ‘Opihi are usually found stuck firmly to rocks near the rough ocean shoreline. In their likeness, young children clinging to a loved one are often lovingly called: ‘opihi.