HONOLULU (KHON2) — KHON2’s weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various roadways across the pae ʻāina so the meaning of their names can be uncovered. 

It is time to bring attention to the state bird of Hawaiʻi.

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In the ahupuaʻa of Keaʻau, which lies in the moku of Puna on the island of Hawaiʻi, stands an unpaved roadway that carries the name of the world’s rarest goose. That roadway is Nēnē Street.

The Nēnē, or Hawaiian goose, is the only endemic goose to the Hawaiian archipelago that still exists.

Hawaii’s Nēnē population was at approximately 25,000 prior to the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778. 

Loss of habitat, the introduction of non-native species such as the rat and an increase of human disturbance led the Nēnē to the brink of its extinction since then.  

It was estimated that only 30 wild geese remained by 1950.  

The Nēnē was distinguished as the state bird when Hawaiʻi became a state in 1959

Wildlife experts thought this would help save them by securing federal funding.

The Nēnē was listed as an “endangered species” by 1967. 

Its population has grown to nearly 3,000 statewide due to the many conservation efforts taken since then.  

The Nēnē were downgraded from “endangered” to “threatened” in 2019.

Did you know?  Now you do!