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Posted on Mar 4, 2021 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Board on Geographic Names (HBGN) has approved an official title for Fissure 8, which appeared in the Puna District of Hawaiʻi Island during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.

Ahuʻailāʻau, which refers to the altar of the volcano deity ‘Ailā‘au, was selected from dozens of community submitted proposals.

Hawaiʻi County Council Resolution 640-18 requested that HBGN consult with the communities impacted by the eruption to ensure traditional, cultural, and family ties were considered in order to establish appropriate names for the Fissure 8 vent and any other features of the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano.

Mayor Mitch Roth said, “We are excited to have a name that provides a sense of place, history, and cultural identity to the fissure that took with it so many memories. To understand the power of mother nature is to understand the stories and context in which our ancestors have explained it. Ahuʻailāʻau is an embodiment of how Hawaiians have explained the natural phenomenon for generations, and it is integral to our understanding of this place.”

“The board wishes to extend its appreciation to all who provided insight and information during the board’s deliberations,” HBGN Chairman Marques Hanalei Marzan stated. “We had the opportunity to travel to Puna several times before the pandemic to hear and listen to testimony provided. While it was unfortunate that we could not take this action on island, we are glad modern meeting platforms, such as Zoom, have provided a way for us to keep in contact with all interested in this process.”

Proposals to name Fissure 8 were accepted by HBGN through June 30, 2019.

HBGN was created by Act 50 of the 1974 Hawaiʻi State Legislature. Act 50 (Chapter 4E, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes) states that the purpose of the Board is to assure uniformity in the use and spelling of the names of geographic features within the State.

The Board is responsible for designating the official names and spellings of geographic features in Hawaiʻi. In its deliberations, HBGN solicits and considers the advice and recommendations of the appropriate County government officials and, as appropriate, other knowledgeable persons.

Representation on the Board consists of the chairpersons of the Board of Land and Natural resources, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, as well as the director of the Office of Planning, the president of the University of Hawaiʻi, the State Land Surveyor, and the director of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.

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About the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawai‘i economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawai‘i’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About the State of Hawai‘i Office of Planning
The State of Hawaiʻi’s Office of Planning is a state agency, administratively attached to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), that gathers, analyzes and provides information to the governor to assist in the overall analysis and formulation of state policies and strategies. Its purpose is to: (1) provide central direction and cohesion in the allocation of resources and effectuation of state activities and programs; and (2) effectively address current or emerging issues and opportunities. The office works closely with local, state and federal government agencies; the University of Hawai‘i; and various community stakeholders to achieve these objectives.

Media Contact:
Arthur Buto
Planning Program Manager, Statewide GIS Program
[email protected]

Charlene Chan
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
o: (808) 587-9006
m: (808) 824-0134
[email protected]