Humuhumunukunukuapua'a: A Long Name for a Little Fish

Pronouncing the name of Hawaii's official state fish might seem undoable to someone not familiar with the Hawaiian language, but the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a is more than just a fancy name. It looks fancy, too.


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Meet humuhumunukunukuapua'a, the wedgetail triggerfish! This iconic Hawaiian reef fish is also known at the Picasso triggerfish, and its Hawaiian name has a fascinating meaning of which is still not completely understood. I worked with Rubellite Kawena Johnson on the possible interpretation of the long Hawaiian name given to this fish, and so far this is what she came up with. Auntie Ruby is one of the best Hawaiian linguists on earth, and she transcribed the oral Hawaiian Chants of Creation into English.