Earlier this month, my husband and I spent a week camping on the Big Island of Hawaii.
It’s not easy to find names to blog about while you’re traversing the still-steaming surface of a pit crater, but I did manage to spot a few names here and there. :)
We spent the first half of the trip in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Our campsite was located off Hilina Pali Road. Here’s the view:
Hilina, which immediately reminded me of Helena, seemed like it might be a name…but turns out it’s just a vocabulary word. In Hawaiian it means “struck (as by wind)” — which is appropriate, as the campsite was extremely windy. But hilina did help me discover Hilina’i on the SSA’s baby name list:
- 2013: unlisted
- 2012: 6 baby girls named Hilina’i (all born in Hawaii)
- 2011: 11 baby girls named Hilina’i (9 born in Hawaii)
- 2010: unlisted
- 2009: 5 baby girls named Hilina’i (all born in Hawaii)
- 2008: 7 baby girls named Hilina’i (all born in Hawaii) [debut]
- 2007: unlisted
Hilina’i means “to believe, trust; to lean on, rely on; trust, confidence” in Hawaiian.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is also where the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum is located. It’s named after geologist Thomas Augustus Jaggar (1871-1953), founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).
One of the museum’s exhibits included three posters that were blown-up copies of pages taken from the old Volcano House hotel register. Each included at least one Hawaiian name. The longest list of names on display came from May, 1891:
These are the Hawaiian forenames I think I can make out:
- Liliuokalani (Queen Lili’uokalani, perhaps?)
- Kele (the Hawaiian form of Jerry)
The Hawaiian names on the other two posters were Mihana, I Kaia, and Pele-liilii. (Liilii isn’t part of the name, but means “small; little; diminutive; young.”)
Another exhibit included a short bio of Thomas Jaggar, and it mentioned that he’d invented an amphibious vehicle in the 1920s “for offshore lava flow observations.”
The vehicle’s name? ‘Ohiki, Hawaiian for “sand crab.”
We also did a lot of sightseeing outside the park. One of the places we visited was Rainbow Falls in Hilo, on the east side of the island. One of the plants there had graffiti all over the leaves. We weren’t able to see every name, but here are shots of “Silas + Sarah F.” and “Rachel + Jackson.”
The plant seemed healthy despite the vandalism, thankfully.
Something even cooler growing by the falls was this fantastic banyan tree. (That’s me hanging off the tree. Behind me is someone’s bicycle.)
Did you know that Banyan has been on the national baby name list for more than a decade now?
- 2013: 22 baby boys named Banyan [6 in Hawaii]
- 2012: 19 baby boys named Banyan [6 in California, 5 in Florida]
- 2011: 26 baby boys named Banyan [5 in California]
- 2010: 18 baby boys named Banyan [6 in California]
- 2009: 21 baby boys named Banyan
- 2008: 14 baby boys named Banyan
- 2007: 13 baby boys named Banyan
- 2006: 15 baby boys named Banyan
- 2005: 7 baby boys named Banyan
- 2004: 16 baby boys named Banyan
- 2003: 7 baby boys named Banyan
- 2002: 8 baby boys named Banyan
- 1996: 5 baby boys named Banyan [debut]
Banyan trees grow best in warm climates, so it doesn’t surprise me that usage of the name is highest in warmer states.
…And that’s it! So I’ll wrap up with this gratuitous shot of the black sand beach in Pololu Valley:
Have you ever been to the Big Island? Do you remember seeing/hearing any interesting names while there?
- Naming Practices – Hawaiian Roots
- Pukui, Mary Kawena and Samuel H. Elbert. Hawaiian Dictionary. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.