Fissure 8 officially has been named.
The Hawaii Board on Geographic Names approved the name Ahu‘aila‘au, which refers to the altar of the volcano deity ‘Aila‘au. It was selected from dozens of community-submitted proposals.
Fissure 8 was the most active — and destructive — fissure during the 2018 Kilauea eruption in lower Puna.
Hawaii County Council Resolution 640-18 requested that HBGN consult with the communities impacted by the eruption to ensure traditional, cultural, and family ties were considered in order to establish appropriate names for the Fissure 8 vent and any other features of the 2018 eruption of Kilauea.
“We are excited to have a name that provides a sense of place, history, and cultural identity to the fissure that took with it so many memories,” Mayor Mitch Roth said in a statement. “To understand the power of Mother Nature is to understand the stories and context in which our ancestors have explained it. Ahu‘aila‘au is an embodiment of how Hawaiians have explained the natural phenomenon for generations, and it is integral to our understanding of this place.”
“The board wishes to extend its appreciation to all who provided insight and information during the board’s deliberations,” HBGN Chairman Marques Hanalei Marzan said. “We had the opportunity to travel to Puna several times before the pandemic to hear and listen to testimony provided. While it was unfortunate that we could not take this action on island, we are glad modern meeting platforms, such as Zoom, have provided a way for us to keep in contact with all interested in this process.”
Proposals to name Fissure 8 were accepted by HBGN through June 30, 2019.
The board is responsible for designating the official names and spellings of geographic features in Hawaii. In its deliberations, HBGN solicits and considers the advice and recommendations of the appropriate County government officials and, as appropriate, other knowledgeable persons.
Representation on the board consists of the chairpersons of the Board of Land and Natural resources, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, as well as the director of the Office of Planning, the president of the University of Hawaii, the State Land Surveyor, and the director of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.