Common Hawaiian Last Names – Meanings and Cool Origins

Common Hawaiian Last Names and Meanings


Chances are that you, and most of the people you know, have a surname. They give you a link to your family and your families history, and are an integral part of our identities. Hawaiian last names (also known Polynesian last names), however, weren’t always that common.

What are Native Hawaiian Last Names?

In Hawaii, natives didn’t always have last names. However, after becoming colonized by the West, Hawaiians were required to keep a last name. This lead to the given names being converted to family surnames.

Hawaii is part of Polynesia (Polynesian Names) ,  which is home to many other Islands, including Samoa. You can also check out some Samoan last names, some of which are of Hawaiian origin.


Read Also: Hawaiian Names For Boys

Hawaiian Last Names
Hawaiian Last Names

List of Common Hawaiian Last Names and Meanings – Hawaiian Surnames

Listed below are a number of common and diverse Hawaiian last names. You may notice that some of the names are translations of names from other languages such as Japanese, Korean or Cantonese.

  1. Keliʻi: This name means “Chief”.
  2. Manu: This name means “Bird.”
  3. Alana: Meaning “awakening to arise”.
  4. Maliah: This is a popular name meaning “Bitterness sea.”
  5. Akana: A Japanese given name that means ‘bright’ and ‘play the music.’
  6. Kahananui: This name means “The great work”.
  7. Pilipo: This unique Hawwain last name means “Horses lover.”
  8. Mahelona: The Hawaiian version of the biblical name ‘Mahlon.’
  9. Anela: Anela is an angelic Hawaiian last name, meaning “Angel.”
  10. Kaʻuhane: This Hawaiian name refers to “The soul” or “spirit.”
  11. Kamiya: Kamiya means “Unique.”
  12. Aka: A lovely name meaning “Noble”.
  13. Mana: This mystical name means “Supernatural power”.
  14. Lui: A strong Hawwain surname meaning “Renowned warrior.”
  15. Lokela: Lokela means “Famous warrior.”
  16. Wong: A Cantonese surname meaning “king.”
  17. Kapule: The prayer or magic.
  18. Peniamina: Son of the right hand.
  19. Makali: This  Hawwain last name means “the Pleiades stars.”
  20. Alika: A sweet name meaning “Most beautiful.”
  21. Aukai: Hawaiian name meaning “Seafarer.”
  22. Kahue: This is from Popular Polynesians Last name mean “The gourd”.
  23. Leilani: A beautiful name meaning “Heavenly flower.”
  24. Alama: Alama is a beautiful name that comes from nature. It means”Earth and eternity.”
  25. Moana: Moana means “The ocean.” This name has been made well known through the Disney movie, Moana.
  26. Akina: A Japanese given name that means ‘bright,’ ‘autumn,’ ‘greens,’ ‘name’ and ‘south.’
  27. Lee: A Korean surname meaning plum tree.
  28. Iosua: Iosua is the Hawaiian version of the name “Joshua.”
  29. Palakiko: The Hawaiian version of the English “Francis.”
  30. Kekoa:  This Hawwain last name meaning is “The warrior”.
  31. Akamai: A strong name meaning “wisdom and skill.”
  32. Akamu: The Hawaiian version of the biblical name “Adam.”
  33. Kahale: This is a lovely Hawaiian surname meaning “The house.”
  34. Keaka: God’s gracious gift.
  35. Ikaika: More strong.
  36. Iona: The Hawaiian version of the name “Jonah.”
  37. Mahoe: This name means “twin”.
  38. Havika: Beautiful name meaning “Beloved.”
  39. Pualani: Heavenly flower.
  40. Kai: This Hawaiian last name means “The sea.” Famous Korean pop-star Kai of Exo, also bears this stage name.
  41. Apane: Beautiful red bird.
  42. Kalama: This name means “the torch” or “flaming torch” in Hawaiian.
  43. Kalawaiʻa: This occupational name means “the fisherman.”
  44. Mahiʻai: Another occupational name meaning “Farmer.”
  45. Kealani: A peaceful sounding name meaning “White heaven.”
  46. Noelani: This rather poetic name means “Beautiful one from heaven.”
  47. Kameāloha: The beloved one.
  48. Iokua: God is salvation.
  49. Konani: Konani means “Bright.”
  50. Kekoa: A strong name meaning “The brave one.”
  51. Nakamura: A Japanese surname meaning ‘middle village.’
  52. Kelekolio: The Hawaiian version of the English ‘Gregory.’
  53. Wailani: Heavenly water.
  54. Inoa: This name means “Of the Virgin Mary.”
  55. Haoa: Chief guardian.
  56. Likeke: This Hawaiian surname means “Powerful ruler.”
  57. Haukea: A rather serene name meaning “Snow”.
  58. Peleke: A Hawaiian last name meaning “Peaceful ruler.”
  59. Ōpūnui: Big-bellied.
  60. Keahi: A powerful name that means “the Fire.”
  61. Keona: An aromatic name meaning “sweet fragrance”.

Read Also : Hawaiian Girl Names

How do Hawaiian surnames work?

Hawaiian surnames typically consist of two parts, the given name and the family name. The given name is the name that is given at birth, and is typically a Hawaiian name. The family name is the name that comes from the father‘s lineage, and is often an English name. For example, a Hawaiian person with the given name Kalei, and the family name Johnson, would be known as Kalei Johnson.


Did you know:

  1. True Hawaiian names are unisex. They aren’t specific to a gender like most Western names.
  2. Hawaiian surnames have a very apparent literal meaning which can be directly translated. However, they may also conceal a symbolic meaning known by only the family.
  3. Traditionally, names for children were said to be revealed in a vision or dream.
  4. Names reflect social class.
  5. Hawaiians might have several names, both formal and informal.

Did ancient Hawaiians have surnames?

No, ancient Hawaiians did not have surnames. In traditional Hawaiian culture, individuals were identified by their given name and their family lineage.

Why are Hawaiian last names so long?

Since there are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet, it is common to mix up words to create a Hawaiian surname or name
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