Oahu shopping mall adopts Hawaiian language name

HONOLULU — Buildings at a shopping mall on Oahu have been renamed in the Hawaiian language amid a growing trend of Hawaii businesses adopting Hawaiian names.

Hawaii Public Radio reports the Pearlridge Shopping Center has adopted the name Wai Makai for its complex formerly known as Downtown after more than 20 years in operation

The mall’s marketing director, Diana Su-Niimi, says the company worked with landowner Kamehameha Schools, community leaders and Native Hawaiian consulting firm DTL before deciding on a name.

Lehua Ka?uhane, of the consulting firm, says more businesses have come to appreciate Hawaiian language and culture as a “value add.”

Kawika Tengan, ethnic studies professor at the University of Hawaii, says concern about appropriation can creep up anytime culture and language intertwine with business and profits.

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