Kauai Names and Places

Hawaiian belongs to the Polynesian family of languages and is related closely to Tahitian, Marquesan and Maori.

There are only twelve letters to the Hawaiian alphabet, courtesy of the Missionaries who phonetically rendered the Hawaiian language. The consonants are h,k,l,m,n,p and w. The consonants are pronounced the same as in English; however, the w is often pronounced as a v.

The State of Hawaii consists of eight major islands: Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe.

The State of Hawaii is made up of five counties: Hawaii County, Honolulu County, Kalawao County, Kauai County and Maui County which includes Maui, Lanai, most of the island of Molokai and the island of Kahoolawe.

All of the Hawaiian Islands have various nicknames:

Niihau – The Forbidden Isle

Kauai – The Garden Isle

Oahu – The Gathering Place

Molokai – The Friendly Isle

Lanai – The Pineapple Island

Kahoolawe – The Target Island

Maui – The Valley Isle

The Island of Hawaii – The Big Island

Most visitors have trouble pronouncing the names of places in Hawaii. That’s ok!

Below is a list of meanings for some of the place names on Kauai.

Kekaha – The Place

Waimea – Reddish Water

Pakala – The Sunshine

Hanapepe – Crushed Bay

Eleele – Black

Kalaheo – Proud Day

Law’i – Village

Koloa – Long Sugarcane

Poipu – Crashing

Mahaulepu – Falling Together

Puhi – Blow

Lihue – Cold Chill

Wailua – Many Waters

Kapaa – The Solids or the Closing

Anahola – Easily Broken

Kilauea – Spewing, much spreading

Hanalei – Crescent Bay

Haena – Red Hot

Hanakapiai – The Sprinkling Food

Kalalau – The Straying

Polihale – House Bosom