Hello, What is Your Name? – Aloha, O Wau Kou Inoa?

O wau kou inoa? – What is your name? Culturally, in order to know you we must first understand who you are. Hawaiians believe that our given name sets our life journey, and has influence on our path. Asking “What is your name” is correct cultural protocol – understanding and sharing “He aha kō loko ko‘u inoa? – What’s in my name? – provides an opportunity to culturally connect and embrace Hawaiian traditions.

The process begins by translating / interpreting one’s name into its Hawaiian equivalent. All names have a language or cultural root meaning. It is this meaning that is translating into Hawaiian. For example: Stacey / Stacy is a shortened form of Anastasia, from the ancient Greek meaning “steadfast”, which translates into ‘Onipa‘a, meaning “firm and steadfast”.

O wau kou inoa? – What is your name? – an interesting twist to conventional meeting or convention name tags, as well as providing a Hawaiian tradition and sense-of-place aspect to a fundamental meeting necessity.