Hawaiian naming practices talk set

Hawaiian naming practices and environmental kinship that transform spaces into personalized places will be explored in upcoming Eia Hawai‘i and Puana Ka ‘Ike lectures in Hilo and Kona.

Katrina-Ann R. Kapa‘anaokalaokeola Nakoa Oliveira of Kula, Maui, will present “Mai Kekahi Kapa a i Kekahi Kapa Aku: Environmental Kinship and Kanaka Naming Practices,” from 2-3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Campus Center 301, and 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in the Keauhou Ballroom III at Sheraton Keauhou Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

In her lecture, Oliveira reveals the level of thought and intention that is given, especially to the naming of place. She will also discuss traditional naming practices and how outside influences affected naming practices through time.

“Our naming practices are an important aspect of kanaka (Native Hawaiian) culture,” Oliveira said. “Kanaka have had a firm understanding of depth of place for many generations as evidenced by the ways in which we mapped our places by attaching names to the various regions of our environment. Our places are not confined to boundaries on aina (land) but extend vertically and horizontally in every direction, encompassing heavenscapes, landscapes and oceanscapes.

“By identifying and, more importantly, naming the various strata of the heavens, regions on the landscape, and depths of the ocean, kanaka transform spaces into personalized places. Our worldview is the product of the ‘world (we) view.’”

Oliveira is the director of Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language and an associate professor of Hawaiian at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


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