(BIVN) – There is still no clear choice for a proper name for Fissure 8, the most productive and devastating volcanic vent to emerge in Leilani Estates during the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea on the lower East Rift Zone.
A permitted interaction group formed by the Hawaiʻi Board on Geographic Names held its follow-up community meeting in Pāhoa on Thursday evening. A small crowd gathered at the community center to continue dialogue and share stories related to the geographic feature created last year.
The permitted interaction group was established in February 2019 in order to review the numerous Fissure 8 name proposals and report back to the full board.
The goal of the second meeting was to discuss and refine name proposals submitted by the June 30, 2019 deadline.
Four names met the preferred submission criteria:
- Keahiluawalu O Pele
- Ahu ʻAilāʻau
The permitted interaction group explained how it prioritized the favored submission criteria:
- First priority: Native Hawaiian speaking members from the community where the geographic name is located.
- Second priority: Members from the community where the geographic name is located whose command of the Hawaiian language is reliable.
- Third priority: Members who were born and raised in the community where the geographic name is located.
The group heard from a variety of community members, each offering their own ideas for the future name.
RJ Quiocho, who joked that he can still see the roof of his house within the Fissure 8 crater, said his proposal – Luana-Lani – is so named because the fissure is located at (what once was) the intersection of Luana and Leilani Ave, he said.
Puna resident Feeyah Hutchinson talked briefly about her name submittals: Hanaiaʻna, enoho, and hou hoʻomaka. She said she looked up the meaning of the number 8 in the bible to inspire her proposals.
Robert Roosen offered up Puʻu Oʻo oʻo, saying in his written proposal that “Puʻu Oʻo commemorates the cause of the 1983 eruption, which was geothermal drilling. I was an eyewitness. Puʻu Oʻo Oʻo commemorates the cause of the 2018 eruption, which was geothermal fracking, and the second in a series of human caused eruptions. Hence the higher expression.”
Dane DuPont, who operates the Hawaiʻi Tacker website, favored the name Ahu ʻAilāʻau, only because when he was a kid growing up in the area, he said “one thing I was was told was when something new happens, when some new feature happens, the kūpuna get together… and decide and that’s what the name is. So that’s been done already. You had Aunty Piʻilani [Kaʻawaloa], Aunty Lei [Kaleimamahu] and Uncle Keone [Kalawe] get together, and they submitted a name.”
“Let the old way return on this type of thing,” DuPont suggested.
Larry Kimura, highly regarded in the field of Hawaiian language studies, was on hand for the meeting as well. Kimura used primary source materials to inform his proposal to name the entire 24 fissure eruption, not just Fissure 8, Papalauahi.
Kimura told the group that we should be “going back to our people who actually named these places” already, instead of coming up with “brand new names.”
Kimura said that “when writing occurred, [Hawaiians] took advantage of that and they documented thousands and thousands of names and information. I know that’s a little bit more work for you, as I mentioned, but I think we shouldn’t ignore that.”
The group agreed with Kimura but said that the focus of their permitted work was limited to only Fissure 8, for now.
If the community does have a preference for any one of the names, it was not clear to the permitted interaction group by the end of Thursday’s meeting. The group needs to report back to the full Board with its recommendations no later than December 31, 2019.
“Maybe we can have a discussion at the County Council level,” offered Puna councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, “because this is our moku, and we can invite the public to come and to talk about the names that have been submitted. Maybe we can do it in a time that is timely enough so that you have enough time during the holidays to submit your report,” she said.