Respect Hawaiian names by using them correctly

More and more, I hear Kailua-Kona referred to only as Kona. The once quaint little village is in the District of Kona. But it is not Kona.

“New locals” (people who moved here within the past 5 to 15 years or so) and tourists continue and seem to be encouraged to refer to Kailua in error. And now, is your staff made up of that kind of folk? They wrote on Tuesday, March 20, that Hokulea will first stop at Milolii. “On the following day, Hokulea is scheduled to depart for Kona.”


Listen: If Hokulea sailed from Milolii to Kona, it would not even have to weigh anchor. Milolii is in Kona.

Kona is a huge district extending from just south of Milolii to just south of Anaehoomalu. I would guess that Kona is bigger than the island of Oahu in area. It includes all of Hualalai and a huge flank of Mauna Loa. Look at a map.

It’s rather demeaning to all who live in Kona, but not in Kailua Town. The dumbing down of place names is certainly appalling on a geographic level, but more so culturally, I would think. The denizens of Milolii, a fishing village, or Honaunau and Kealia in our agricultural coffee belt, or historic Napoopoo may not appreciate being physically associated with the tourist, business, and downtown atmosphere of Kailua.

We already lost the name of the Hotel King Kamehameha to something like the Kona Beach Hotel. Was that to help the poor tourists who don’t have the time or wherewithal to learn how to pronounce Hawaiian words? Are the new locals too lazy to figure it out, too?

I’m not a scholar of the Hawaiian language (so I’m never sure where the glottal stops go), but it seems really quite easy to pronounce with just a couple of rules. Every letter or combination of letters has one sound of its own, and every syllable ends in a vowel, unlike English, a very complicated language to pronounce.


Please: Let’s save and use our place names correctly. It’s not so hard to do.

Frank Miller is a resident of Captain Cook in South Kona.