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New book highlights importance of Maui place names

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Cody Pueo Pata
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HPR
Written by kumu hula Cody Pueo Pata, the new book was published in August.

In Cody Pueo Pata’s new book, “ʻOhuʻohu nā Mauna o ʻEʻeka: Place Names of Maui Komohana,” the kumu hula has compiled dozens of records about more than 1,600 inoa ʻāina, or place names, in Maui.

That includes maps, newspapers, mele, recordings and moʻolelo, or stories. He said these records detail the many special places located in the area known as Maui Komohana, which includes Wailuku, Lahaina and Kāʻanapali.

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Cody Pueo Pata
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HPR

Pata said he also has ancestral ties to Lahaina, which made working on the book even more special.

“One of my masters that influenced me was Aunty Diane Amadeo and… she said, ‘if it has a Hawaiian name, it has a Hawaiian story.’ Because those names are passed from one generation to the next, they are considered a form of moʻolelo,” he said. “So embedded within these names are also lots of information, from historical information to environmental information to resource information. When we remove those names from the general population, we remove whole sections of knowledge.”

The book was published in August and is a project of the HK West Maui Community Fund, which works to support Native Hawaiian culture and other public improvement initiatives.

Some of the book’s proceeds will benefit Hawaiian language immersion schools on Maui.

For more information, click here.

Jayna Omaye is the culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at jomaye@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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