Meeting to name Fissure 8 scheduled this week

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It’s been more than a year since the 24 fissures opened up along Kilauea’s east rift zone. None of them more explosive than Fissure 8. It spewed magma more than 200 feet into the sky. It’s flow forever changed the landscape of lower Puna.

The Hawaii Board on Geograhic names is holding a meeting  Thursday, May 16 at 5p.m. at the Pahoa community center. 

Marques Marzon said they are looking to connect with residents for their mana’o.

“It really is to invite all of the community, the name proposers, the people who have already submitted the names to come and voice their comments and opinions on the process,” Marzon said.

At least 12 names have already been submitted. 

The hope is for the name that is chosen to have a deeper meaning.

“A Hawaiian name definitely connects to our place, our history our culture, our practices.  And I think whenever we add a Hawaiian name to a significant structure or a building or a geographic feature it adds a story to that place, a lineage and relationship. I think that really is the purpose of naming it–making sure that all future generation remember that story,” Marzon explained.

He said one name that stood out is to him was ahu aila’au suggested by Piilani Ka’awaloa.

The name has many different meanings according to Ka’awaloa. One of which refers to the akua or god Aila’au. Aila’au was an early Hawaiian god that battled Pele for control of Kilauea.’

She is suggesting the name for a different meaning. One that represents a time of renewal.

“Ahu is mound, mountain, hill…Ai means to consume to eat. La’au is forest…La’au also means medicine. So we wanted this to be a reminder for a time of healing,” Ka’awaloa explained.

“We’re hoping with ahu aila’au we’re hoping we can have some reprieve, some rest  of the various elements that visit our community.”

Ka’awaloa said she is aware that many people have made suggestions.

“We just are sharing our experiences and things we’ve seen day in and day out while this eruption was taking place. And we’re still hoping that this healing can manifest itself to the families that may never be able to return to their homes… it’s good that we all come together as a community and voice and share our mana’o about our community and the place in which we live,” Ka’awaloa said.

Marzon explained that Thursday’s meeting is just the first community meeting. 

“We hope to do a number of community meetings this year and finalize a report and recommendation to the full board by the end of the year.”

Once they have decided on the name with the community’s input, they will submit it to the state.

“In the state, the Hawaii board of geographic names is the official body that formalizes all names, but we send all of our approved names that we decide to the U.S. board of geographic names and they do the final approval at the federal level,” Marzon explained.

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