Four names top Fissure 8 list

  • Fissure 8 is seen from an aerial view Feb. 15. (Tribune-Herald file photo)

HILO — Four names are at the top of the list of proposed monikers for Fissure 8, and they will be the subject of one final public meeting in November.

The Hawaii Board of Geographic Names has solicited new names for Fissure 8, the most prominent new landform created by the 2018 Kilauea eruption in lower Puna, for the better part of a year. Since then, members of the public have submitted 21 potential names, which members of the public discussed at a meeting with board representatives in Puna on Sept. 19.

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At the meeting, an action group comprised of three board members categorized the list of proposed names based on how well they fit the board’s criteria.

Board Chairman Marques Marzan said the board gives highest credence to names submitted from Puna residents with strong cultural ties to the area.

Four names are part of that highest tier of names, Marzan said. Those names include: “Ahu‘aila‘au,” which refers to an altar to the volcano deity ‘Aila‘au; “Pohaka‘ena,” which means “exploding rage”; “Ke Ahi Ena‘ena,” meaning “raging fire”; and “Keahiluawalu O Pele,” which originated in a dream, the submitter claimed.

None of the other names are out of the running, Marzan said, but those four names best fit the guidelines established by the board, which favor proposals from those with stronger cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

At the community meeting last month, Marzan said he stressed to attendees that their thoughts on the proposed names are needed to make the final decision.

“I tried to make clear that the board isn’t the one making the final say,” Marzan said. “If we don’t have their decision, then we can’t move forward when we make our report at the end of the year.”

However, Marzan said it was difficult to generate discussion at the September meeting, which was sparsely attended. Some of those who did attend, he said, were there to simply champion their own proposed names, rather than discuss the merits of other names.

Among the attendees was Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, who has scheduled another public discussion about the naming issue for a November meeting of the Hawaii County Council.

“I recognized that we needed to have more dialogue about the issue,” Kierkiewicz said.

The issue, Kierkiewicz said, originated with a resolution passed by the County Council last year, so it makes sense for the council to discuss the results of the process before the final decision is made.

“It’s an opportunity for the board to provide another update,” Kierkiewicz said. “And we’d like the community to have one more chance to weigh in.”

In particular, Kierkiewicz said she hopes community members will comment on how the process as a whole has been, although they are also welcome to voice support for any of the proposed names if they wish.

Marzan said the council meeting likely will be the last public meeting regarding the proposed names before the action group makes its final report to the full board by the end of year.

In addition to the names listed above, the other proposed names include:

• Puu Leilani (named for the subdivision, Leilani Estates, where the fissure is located).

• Pu‘uo‘aila‘au (Hill of ‘Aila‘au).

• Pu‘u Kupaianaha (Pu‘u = hill; Kupaianaha = surprising, strange, wonderful, marvelous).

• Pu‘u ‘O Luku (hill of destruction).

• Hanaia‘na (creation).

• Enoho (regeneration).

• Hou Ho‘omaka (new beginnings).

• Keahilapalapa (spreading or blazing fire).

• Kekoheho‘ohenonohoikala‘-iopunapaia‘alaikahala (cherished crease occupying the calm of Puna of the forest bower fragrant with pandanus).

• Luana-Lani (named after Luana Street in Leilani Estates).

• Papalauahi (earth of numerous volcanic eruptions; proposed name for all 24 fissures).

• Pohaha (a reduplicative of paha, which can mean breaking forth, bursting, cracking and volcanic ejecta of any kind).

• Hopena (fate or destiny).

• Pu‘ O‘oo‘o or Pu‘u O‘o O‘o (references to fellow cinder cone Pu‘u ‘O‘o, which was formed in 1983 and named after its proximity to a letter “O” on a map).

• Pu‘u Wa Kahiko (an eternity from past to present).

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• ‘Omakaolahoukaluaokalani (source of the rebirth of the second heaven).

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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