Hawaiian Baby Names

I took a lot of pride in naming my baby dolls growing up. Maria, Grettel, Shyla, Anna, and Casey were my beloved babies. My sisters and I were always discussing what our future baby names were going to be. For my older sister it was Nichelle (just like Michelle, but with an N). My younger sister enjoyed Ashley for a time, but as we aged our preferences changed and of course when you add a husband to the mix everything goes down the toilet. I never really took into consideration that my future husband might have a preference in the baby naming matter.

Sure enough, I married a Hawaiian guy and while I really REALLY pushed the names Taylor and Bailey for my little girls, he would have no part of it. They were too “white”. So I had to think outside the box and with his help (and the help of my sister) we came up with Hawaiian baby names that were perfect for our family:

(video here)

Other Hawaiian baby names I love if I had a baby TODAY, which I’m not, but let’s pretend… For a girl I’m loving Malu (peacefulness) and Nani (beauty). And for a boy I like Keanu and Ikaika. And I have no idea what those mean, but I think they’re pretty.

So tell me, how did you come up with your kids names, what did you think you were going to name your kids, and what names are you loving right now?

Check out daily Mommalogues here! This month’s celeb mom blogger is Kelly Rutherford. Party time.


  1. says

    What great names! Laina is gorgeous and how cool about the letters also spelling Lanai. Oh, and Malu – love Malu.

    I think crossing two cultures is always tough … For us, it was Polish and English. My husband had to like the Polish name that his parents would call our kids. I’d love to have more kids – I could happily name a dozen more. :)

  2. says

    Gorgeous names! My friends were shocked when we named our son Thomas (after his dad). They thought for sure I’d be the hippie of the bunch, name him after some kind of tree or 70s rock legend. Butterfly Jones just didn’t suit the kid :)

  3. Gin says

    I just recently learned that the word quinoa is not pronounced like Kainoa. I’ve been walking around the grocery store looking for Kainoa, the little grain, and I’ve been thinking that little grain was maybe the inspiration for your son’s name. I’m glad I got that straightened out! In all seriousness I do love your children’s names.

  4. says

    I refused to have any Ls or Rs in my kids’ names and they couldn’t be in the top 25 of the past 10 years. Yes, I know it is really odd, but that’s how we came up with Annika & Mayzie. One of my best friends is also partnered with a Hawaiian man, and I seriously cannot pronounce one of their daughter’s full names. Thankfully, she has a nickname that I can.

  5. says

    They really are beautiful names!

    When I was younger, I’d chosen the names Anastasia Dawn and Theadore. I was willing to change my mind on girls names but if I had a boy, Theadore was non-negotiable. It’s my dad’s name and I’ve always loved the unusual spelling (and the family story that goes along with it). Luckily, I married a man that had no problem with my insistence on Theadore.

    When we found out we were pregnant the first time, we decided on Theadore Anthony for a boy’s name (the Anthony comes from my husband’s traditional family middle name) and Catherine Christine for a girl’s name. Catherine is my husband’s grandmother’s name, and Christine was for one of my best friends that died one week before I turned 30. Of course, Teddy came into the world and Catherine was put aside for the next child, should she be a girl.

    There was actually a lot more argument with boys’ names for the second child. I wanted Galen – I wanted something a little non-traditional. But my husband was set on wanting to name a son Peter after his grandfather. I just foresaw lots of teasing because of the nickname for a body part. When Rich’s grandfather passed away a couple days before I had my ultrasound to find out if we were having a boy or a girl, and then we found out we were having another boy, it was my sign that we were supposed to name him Peter. So our second child was named Peter Edward (Edward after my paternal grandfather).

    The odd thing about my boys’ names, and something I didn’t realize until Pete was about six months old, was that we’d accidentally done a name switch. My dad, who Teddy was named for, is Theadore Edward. Rich’s grandfather was Peter Anthony. And, of course, I have Theadore Anthony and Peter Edward. It’s amused me greatly.

  6. says

    I really love your son’s name!

    My taste in names has really changed since I was a kid. Looking back at the names I used to like (Tawni, Ianna, Zayza) some were sorta stripper-like. Then I liked McKenzie and other trendy names.

    Now I like unique but not toooo out there but not top 25 names. My kids are Aerissa and Xander…I think I need to write a post explaining how/why I picked those.

    Other names I like for possible future babies: Teagan, Maevelyn, Trenton

    Oh and if you want to keep having babies to see what they look like and name them I totally suggest playing The Sims. My fav part was seeing how our huge family would look :)

  7. says

    We are one of those weird couples who changed their kid’s name. We named our daughter Caden because we figured Caden was different and unique for a girl, but not totally off the wall. When she was just under a year, we changed her first name to her middle name and gave her my wife’s middle name. We took two names and combined them (much like Nichelle, instead of Michelle) and we are in love with the name and it fits her SO much better! Plus, it’s more unique, but still not off the wall!

  8. Frelle says

    I love your children’s names and your video!!

    I wanted a Madeline Grace, a Laura Ellen, and an Alex Michael when I was a little girl.

    I still wanted Madeline Grace when I got married. Instead I compromised and got a Grace Ellen.

    I still wanted Madeline, and pushed for Madeline Hazel when I had a second daughter, but settled on Lillian Hazel. Ex’s grandma would have preferred Lillian to go with her name anyway.

    When I found out my third was a girl, I wanted Laura Kate. Laura Katharine Elianna to be specific. Instead I had Felicity Ann.

    When my son was born, the name my ex had wanted for a boy (Archibald Alexander) suddenly went by the wayside and he suggested Thomas Jackson. I wasn’t going to have a son named Archibald so when he tossed out Thomas Jackson for consideration I practically yelled “Yes! Sold! Decided! No take backs!”.

    I would still like to have a girl named Madeline. If I have a son with my partner, he will be a William like his dad.

    I love names like Ivy, Willow, River, but never really saw them fitting in with the classic names my other kids have. And i wanted to make sure ro mention that my youngest daughter has a friend in her 1st grade class named Ikaika. His mom is Hawaiian. :)

  9. says

    We had Patrick picked out before we even got married. We wanted Addison for our daughter but by the time we adopted her it was hugely popular (thanks Greys Anatomy!), so was any form of the name where you could use the nickname Addy. So we ended up naming her Miranda Xian (her Chinese first name). Which after the fact I discovered was Baileys first name on Greys.

    I love the name Lucy for a girl. We thought about adopting again and I wanted Oliver, Austin, Lucas, Xavier, Nate or Evan.

  10. says

    This post is so timely for me. I am working on a post called, “What’s in a Name?” discussing my kids’ names since we are having so much trouble with my oldest’s name.

    Growing up, I wanted Victoria and call her Tori. I wanted Kayla, Kylie or Kyra. For boys, I wanted Rocky (I had a little boy in daycare that I loved with this name), Joey or Danny. Then I became a teacher and Joey was out as were a ton of other names that I once loved. My hubby had a friend that annoyed me to no end and his name was Danny so that was out. My husband is Russian and I’m Italian. Luckily Italian names sound good with his last name so we ended up with Nico, Tommy (after my grandfather), Isabella and Gia.

    I absolutely LOVE your kids names and the names of your future kids (if that comes to pass) and always wondered if there was a story behind them. So glad you told us. :)

  11. says

    I so very much wanted to name my son Cody, but his dad refused. We ended up with Timothy, a name I’ve always liked, and his middle name is the same as his dad’s. My first girl was easy – I’ve loved the name Shelbie since I was a little girl. My second girl is named after four people – her dad’s late mother’s name was Mary Ellen, so I switched the order and fancied it up to Elayna Marie. My sister and niece have the middle name of Elaine, and my best friend’s middle name is Marie!
    I also LOVE naming kids, I think that’s why my pets always have human names (my newest dog’s name is Mackenzie).

  12. says

    I love baby names!
    I can’t remember all the names I liked growing up, but they changed constantly. I don’t think any of my current possibilities (for my future babies) are ones I picked out when I was younger.
    When we were dating, my husband and I loved the name Lily Jean. Lily after a character in Harry Potter and Jean after my grandmother (and it’s also my middle name). But we used it too much in talking, and got tired of it. Our current girl name is Juliet, and I make sure we don’t talk about it much because we both love it so much!
    Boy names are so difficult to come up with! Currently we both like Oliver (though I worry it’s too trendy!) and Alexander.
    I go back and forth on wanting to use a family name or not, but if I do it’ll be as a middle name.
    Since my sister and I were both named after a character in a book, I have always wanted to continue the tradition. I am determined that one of our kids have a Harry Potter name, but not something blatantly obvious.
    It will be interesting to see both what gender children we have and what names we end up with when we do have kids!

  13. says

    I dated a Hawaiian guy and he had an American first name and a Hawaiian middle name. His mom always called him by his Hawaiian name. My girls were easy peasy to name. My ex, ugh, he was miserable when it came to our boys’ names. They were both two days old when we finally agreed to their names. I found them in the baby book they give you at the hospital. I kept saying all of our kids names together and finally one just flowed! =) #whew

  14. says

    Boys name was easy. We had picked out Jackson like 10 years ago before it was “cool”. I REALLY wanted Isla or Maya for a girl…decided on Sophie then found out we were having a boy. Second baby was a girl, tried to push for Isla AGAIN but no dice. Hubby came up with Taylor after listening to the Jack Johnson song and I was on board.

  15. says

    LOVE the names!!! Our kids were named with no cultural awareness whatsoever…it’s just how we roll. lol I wanted names that started with “C” to go with our last name: “Carter”. I still love them both!! Cassidy and Cade Carter. Fits well eh? ;)

  16. says

    I think they’re beautiful names! My husband and I had a hard time coming up with names because we are both teachers…and we both had quite a few names that were “NO WAYS!” :)

  17. says

    I love the lilting flow that Hawaiian names have.

    Growing up, I was convinced my future daughter would be Heidi or Jasmine. As I got older and saw how popular Jasmine is, I backtracked – only because I didn’t want to use names that are common. If it’s in the Top 100, forget it. However, being one of my favourite flowers anyway, we ended up using Jasmine as a middle name for our second daughter (both our daughters have floral middle names). Lucky for me, my husband and I are very much on the same page with baby names.

    Anyhow, my eldest is named Freya. My husband and I have been to Sweden, have Swedish friends, love much about Scandinavian culture, have northern European ancestry) and learning the cool mythology behind her name sealed the deal. We didn’t expect she’d be such an extremely blue-eyed blondie to boot! Our second daughter is Polly. We’d just always loved the name, and were reminded of it while watching Fawlty Towers when I was pregnant.

    No plans for a third, but I’ve come full circle and Heidi is back in favour. Go figure.

  18. says

    We have the same issue. White girl who married an Hawaiian.

    We have Ikaika, Kaleolani and Kainoa.

    Ikaika means Warrior and Strength.
    Kaleolani means Heavenly Voice.

    And I’m sure you know what Kainoa means.