HONOLULU (KHON2) – We all make use of our island roadways, but when was the last time you paid attention to their given names? 

Did you know you could learn more about Hawaiʻi’s history if you did?

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Our weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various streets across the island chain so we can dig into those names and in turn, learn something new.

This week, we highlight Honolulu.

From the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī to Honolulu, which both lie within the moku of Kona here on Oʻahu, stands a street that connects Hawaiʻi to Great Britain. 

We are talking about Beretania St.

Did you know the street name Beretania is actually a Hawaiian word? 

Thus, the correct pronunciation of Beretania is Beh-reh-tah-knee-yuh which translates as Britain or British. 

Other names once used for this street include Back and Upper Street.

But Beretania stuck with people because the British Consul was once located on this roadway. 

According to old maps, the British Consul resided in the area across the street from the Hawaiʻi State Capitol today.

The name Beretania dates back to 1836 when the Sandwich Island Gazette newspaper proposed it along with a few other street names that also remain.

The low-quality dirt path at the time, that became known as Beretania, had an important role even prior to the 1800s. 

When Honolulu was just a village, it was in a somewhat rectangle shape that was surrounded by 4 pathways:

The boundary to the north of Honolulu was that which became Beretania Street.

The boundary to the west was the path that became known as Nuʻuanu Avenue, named after the valley.

The boundary to the east is what became Alakea, meaning White Street, deriving from the white coral rock with which it was paved.

And the boundary to the south was what became known as Queen St, once known as Sea St, because that is where the harbor water once went up to.

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Did you know?  Now you do!