Place Name Resources

Papakilo Database

[from the Papakilo database website].

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ (OHA’s) Papakilo Database, is the ongoing development of a cutting edge and comprehensive “Database of Databases” consisting of varied collections of data pertaining to historically and culturally significant places, events, and documents in Hawai’i’s history. This online repository of data will greatly increase OHA’s ability to preserve and perpetuate cultural and historical information and practices, thus providing an invaluable resource to educate other regulatory agencies, OHA’s Native Hawaiian beneficiaries, and the general public.

Kipuka Database

[from the Kipuka database website].

OHA’s Kipuka Database is a geographical information system (GIS) that utilizes the latest mapping technologies to provide a window into native Hawaiian land, culture and history.  Kipuka links historic data sets to geographic locations reinforcing the concept of information embedded in the ‘āina (land), encoded in the wahi inoa (place name).  The foundation of Kipuka is the traditional land system, mokupuni divided into moku, ahupua‘a, ili and kuleana.  A sense of “place” was a foundational aspect of traditional kānaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) identity. This is evidenced by the sheer number of inoa wahi (place names) which were recorded by Native Hawaiians in oral traditions, as well as in books, letters, manuscripts and newspapers. Furthermore, despite historical challenges which have fragmented traditional cultural and historical knowledge, place remains an important part of contemporary Native Hawaiian identity (Kana‘iaupuni 2006, Kame‘eleihiwa, 1992).The mission of Kipuka is to create a repository of knowledge where information about Hawai‘i’s land, culture and history can be easily accessed, to develop a virtual mo‘oku‘auhau of land tenure in Hawai‘i, and to provide an opportunity for individuals to forge new relationships between themselves and the ‘āina (land) that is most important to them.


[from the Ulukau website].

The purpose of Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, is to make these resources available for the use, teaching, and revitalization of the Hawaiian language and for a broader and deeper understanding of Hawaiʻi.

Ulukau is a coined word given as the name of this web-based library. The word refers to unexplained supernatural interpretive powers. It is the hope of the authors of Ulukau that in the same way that unexplained supernatural interpretive powers can be divinely given to a person, so knowledge and understanding can come to the person who makes the effort to read the language and the words of this electronic library.


The Wehwehe website is a “child” resource of the Ulukau site above, allowing word searches simultaneously across several resources, such as dictionaries, place name references, and a legal land-terms resource.


The Nūpepa website is a “child” resource of the Ulukau site above, allowing word searches simultaneously across several dozen Hawaiian language newspapers.