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55 Hawaiian baby names inspired by the Aloha State

Hawaiian names for babies are often deeply rooted in culture.
Young One Year Old Girl in Hawaii
Hoku, Kai or Leilani might be top contenders for parents seeking a Hawaiian name.Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

If the 50th state holds special meaning to parents, a Hawaiian baby name, like Kai or Leilani, might be a top choice for their new bundle of joy.

Often deeply rooted in culture, Hawaiian baby names have a long history, but have grown in popularity in the past decade for mainland moms and dads.

"Hawaiian baby names first became trendy when Barack Obama was president," baby naming consultant Pamela Redmond tells "Hawaii was his home state and his older daughter, Malia, had a Hawaiian name, the Hawaiian form of Mary."

In 2007, the year before Obama took office, there were approximately 800 baby girls named Malia. In 2021 there were 1,200, according to Redmond.

Redmond explains the Disney film "Moana" also had a big influence on the popularity of Hawaiian names, and nature names continue to be popular.

"Many Hawaiian names having nature meanings," Redmond says about their popularity.

Top 5 Hawaiian Boy Names And Meanings

Kai: An international name with origins and meanings in several cultures, with the primary one being Hawaiian for sea.

Koa: Hawaiian for warrior.

Kane: Another international name, the Hawaiian pronunciation is kah-nay and it means “man of the Eastern sky.”

Keanu: A name with celebrity influence of Hawaiian origin meaning “cool breeze over the mountains.”

Nakoa: A top 100 boys’ name in Hawaii itself, meaning "the warriors."

"Nakoa became more popular after Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa used it for their son," Redmond says.

Top 5 Hawaiian Girl Names And Meanings

Kaia: The popularity of Kai, which is also sometimes used for girls, undoubtedly also influenced the emergence of Kaia, as did the model Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford.

Lilia: A multinational name with Hawaiian roots.

Leilani: Perhaps the best-known distinctively Hawaiian girls’ name meaning “heavenly flower.”

Naia: An international name meaning “dolphin” in Hawaiian.

Malia: The Obamas popularized this Hawaiian form of Mary.

55 Hawaiian Baby Names

From Koa to Kaia, there are plenty of beautiful Hawaiian baby names to consider.

  • Kai
  • Kaia
  • Koa
  • Kane
  • Lilia
  • Leilani
  • Keanu
  • Naia
  • Malia
  • Nakoa
  • Kailani
  • Lilo
  • Makoa
  • Alani
  • Moana
  • Kalea
  • Kalani
  • Kamala
  • Malu
  • Hoku
  • Halia
  • Noelani
  • Keahi
  • Ani
  • Kalani
  • Liko
  • Lio
  • Nalani
  • Kainoa
  • Maui
  • Kala
  • Hanalei
  • Iolani
  • Ailani
  • Maile
  • Makeo
  • Makani
  • Kalena
  • Makala
  • Elikai
  • Kaena
  • Kaleo
  • Alani
  • Kaimana
  • Kimo
  • Makaio
  • Inoa
  • Anela
  • Hani
  • Alika
  • Hokulani
  • Alohi
  • Haku
  • Hikialani
  • Kahale

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