The Hawaiian Name Haunani

from here to eternity, soundtrack, haunani, 1953

In 1953, the Hawaiian name Haunani saw high enough national usage* that it appeared for the first time in the SSA’s baby name data:

  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: 6 baby girls named Haunani [debut]
    • 5 born in Hawaii specifically
  • 1952: unlisted

The soundtrack to From Here to Eternity — one of the top-grossing movies of not just 1953, but the entire decade — featured a song called “Haunani.” The song was composed by Hawaiian hapa-haole musician Randall Kimeona “Randy” Oness and performed by Danny Stewart and His Islanders.

Randy Oness had a daughter named Haunani (b. 1944) and, according to Honolulu Star-Bulletin entertainment columnist John Berger, the song “Haunani” was written specifically for her. The lyrics were originally in Hawaiian, but here’s an English version of “Haunani” sung by Alfred Apaka:

The Hawaiian name Haunani is composed of two elements: hau, meaning “ruler,” and nani, meaning “beauty” or “glory.” (“Hau” also happens to be a Hawaiian word for snow.)

Do you like the name Haunani? Do you like it more or less than Leimomi?

Sources:

*The minimum threshold for inclusion in the publicly available dataset is five U.S. babies per gender, per year.


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