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Leeward CC: An ʻĀina-based research guide: Researching Place in Hawaiʻi

Reference Resources

Place Names Resources

Hawaiian Land Division

Traditionally, each island in the Hawaiian archipelago was organized and named by land divisions.  As is seen in the above map, the way it was divided looked similar to how you might split up a pie or a pizza. When conducting land research in Hawaiʻi, it is critical to know the traditional terminology used to divide the islands.

  • Mokupuni = Island (e.g. Oʻahu)
  • Moku = District (e.g. ʻEwa, Waiʻanae)
  • Ahupuaʻa = Land division, generally (but not always) running from the mountain to the sea (e.g. Waiawa, Lualualei)
  • ʻIli = Land division, usually (but not always) a subdivision of an ahupuaʻa (e.g. Maʻili, Kūhiawaho)

The map above comes from the source Ava Konohiki which is a great place to learn more about land divisions and see examples across Oʻahu and some of the other islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. This is also a resource you can use to find the names of other land divisions that you might be researching.

Web Resources

Moʻolelo (Antiquities)

Place-based Writing

Palapala ʻĀina (Maps)

ʻĀina & Kai (Land & Sea)


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