Remember those three warthog piglets we told you about a month ago?

The Honolulu Zoo needed help in naming them, and in doing so, launched a contest seeking public input. Just yesterday, zoo officials announced their picks for names. They selected: Kanani and Manaolana for the two girls and Pono for the boy piglet.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to teach our readers three new Hawaiian words. Kanani means “the beauty, the glory.” Manaolana means “faith, hope, confidence,” while pono is the Hawaiian word for “goodness, righteousness.” You can bet that these are also very popular names for humans!

Pono, however, is also regarded as an important Hawaiian value in schools, households and the local community. I remember seeing this word everyday, posted up at the front of my eighth-grade classroom. Below it was the word’s definition. This poster really helped to engrain the Hawaiian word into our minds. It might also be a good way for you to learn a Hawaiian word or two on your own; by jotting it down on a sticky note or on your computer, you, too, can learn a little bit of Hawaii’s native tongue from miles away.

The word “pono” can also be found in Hawaii’s state motto: “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono.” This means “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” “Righteousness” being the keyword there and also the core meaning of “pono.” You can see this engraved into the 7,500-pound Great Seal that hangs at the mauka (mountain) side of the Hawaii State Capitol building.

Photo Courtesy: Honolulu Zoo


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