Uncovering the Meaning and History Behind Common Hawaiian Last Names

Uncovering the Meaning and History Behind Common Hawaiian Last Names
Uncovering the Meaning and History Behind Common Hawaiian Last Names

From Kai indicating a connection to the sea to Kamaka highlighting familial ties, Hawaiian last names weave a rich cultural tapestry. Discovering their origins using online sites for birth, death, and newspaper archive records is easy.

Hawaii’s breathtaking natural beauty has inspired many of its naming conventions. Other names, such as Kalakaua, Kamehameha, and Liliuokalani, reflect its history and monarchy.

When exploring the diverse cultural landscape of Hawaii and delving into genealogy, individuals often inquire about common Hawaiian last names, seeking to understand the rich history and familial connections associated with these distinctive surnames in the island’s multicultural heritage.


Whether it reflects a connection to the ocean or honors family history, Hawaiian last names have profound spiritual meaning. From the poetic “Kamaka,” referring to a child’s eyes, to the powerful name Kamehameha honoring the kingdom’s founder, these monikers weave a rich cultural tapestry of heritage.

Hezekiah is a rare and beautiful Hawaiian last name and the Biblical name of King Hezekiah. It is a mystical and spiritual name that symbolizes eternal life, immortality and protection.


Hawaiian last names evoke the islands’ rich cultural heritage. From Kai, meaning sea, to Kamaka, referring to ancestral connections, these unique names reflect the islanders’ harmony with nature and history.

Kalua refers to the kalua cooking method, which uses earth ovens to prepare meat. This unisex name was popular in the 19th century.

Other Hawaiian boys’ names include Keanu, which means the cool breeze, and Lanea, a variant of Lani. Lanea is also the name of a Japanese actress and speed skater appearing in the television series Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. Mililani, a female Hawaiian name, can mean “heavenly caresses.” This is the name of an actress in the Disney animated movie Moana.


A hundred years in business is a milestone for any company. It’s even more impressive for a small business like Kamaka, which produces world-class ukuleles.

Samuel Kaialiilii Kamaka began his one-person shop in 1916, producing high-quality ukuleles and guitars using koa wood. During the Korean War, his son Fred carried a pineapple-shaped Kamaka ukulele into battle.

After building ukuleles with traditional Spanish figure-eight bodies for many years, Kamaka experimented with a new shape that produced more mellow tones. He commissioned one of his friends to paint the body a pineapple motif, and these are now the most prized Kamaka ukuleles. The popularity of the ukulele in the United States continues to grow. It appears in countless movies and songs, including Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder’s Grammy-winning solo album and Train’s “Hey Soul Sister.”


This unique Hawaiian last name has a deep meaning and is a perfect choice for those who have an inseparable bond with the ocean. It also symbolizes life and the beauty of the sky.

Hezekiah is an uncommon Hawaiian surname that combines “hea,” meaning mist, and “lani,” which means heaven or the sky. This name is also the Hawaiian version of the biblical name Hezekiah, which makes it a spiritual pick.

Another beautiful Hawaiian name is Ioane, a Hawaiian variation of the Hebrew name Jonah. This is a great option for boys who want to keep a link with their family’s past. Its sound is also quite poetic and charming.


The ancient Hawaiian culture has a rich history of mythology and religion, contributing to Hawaii’s many unique last names. Many of these names have a clear meaning and can often be translated directly. Hekekia, derived from the biblical name Hezekiah (“God strengthens”), is a great pick for boys or girls who want to be spiritual and strong.

Another beautiful choice is Urima, a Hawaiian variation of Jude (“praised by God”). It is a rare name worldwide, only appearing in the top 1,000 names in Papua New Guinea in 2014. Namesakes include Montenegrin rapper Dvorska Luda.


Many Hawaiian names are derived from the words for water or sky. Wailani, for example, is composed of the words “wai” and “lani.” This is a beautiful name that honors the ocean and sky.

Similarly, Kapono comprises the words “ka” and “pono,” meaning good and moral. This is a wonderful name that represents a family’s values and heritage. Namesakes include the American basketball player Jason Kapono and Henry Kapono, half of the Hawaiian music duo Cecilio & Kapono. Aukai is another Hawaiian surname that means seafarer. It’s an exotic and beautiful name that will surely be appreciated by those who bear it. Aukai is very rare worldwide, ranking 327th in 2014. However, it’s more common in Hawaii.


Hawaiian last names often contain hidden, symbolic meanings that honor the family’s culture and surroundings. These meanings can help reveal a person’s personality traits, like generosity and compassion.

A great example is the name Leilani, which means “Sky Necklace.” This name might be perfect for a girl who loves to travel and see new places.

Another name with an intriguing history is Kapono, which combines the words “ka,” meaning good, and “pono,” meaning righteous. It’s also the name of a famous American basketball player and half of the Hawaiian music duo Cecilio & Kapono. This name has a strong moral influence and is suitable for both boys and girls.

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