When you hear the word hawaii, it’s probably a little different than when you hear it for the west.
That’s because hawaii is not a state or territory, nor a nation, and the western states have a long history of being divided by political borders, while the Hawaiian Islands are the largest island chain in the world and home to the majority of the islands’ population.
So how do you pronounce it?
Well, the Hawaiian pronunciation is actually a little closer to what you might think.
Hawaiki is Hawaiian for “west,” and while the word is usually pronounced as hwoa-i-kah, it is a little softer, closer to “whole.”
That means hwo-a-a means “wander.”
“Hawaii is like the west, but you can actually see it from the ocean,” says Shannon Brown, the co-founder of Hawaiian-themed business and consumer product marketing company Hawaii Stars.
“It’s the whole, like the whole coast, so it’s a little like the ocean but it’s really just part of the Pacific.”
So, to get a sense of what hawaii actually looks like, Brown set out to write a dictionary.
“When you look at a map of Hawaii, you can really see the whole islands,” Brown says.
“You can see the islands are all around you.
So, it really doesn’t make any sense to have a state name like Hawaii.”
She then turned to the dictionary to figure out what the word means.
When you say hawaii in Hawaii, people can’t really distinguish between “Hawaiian” and “Hawaiki.”
“It just kind of sounds like the Hawaiian name, but it also kind of reminds me of the Hawaiian word for ‘west,'” Brown says, referring to the Hawaiian state name.
“I think that people really like to think that it’s all the west.”
The dictionary’s definition of hawaii does include a few other islands as well.
For example, it lists the Kilauea islands as a separate nation, along with the Molokai islands and the Palau Islands.
But, when Brown started thinking about it, she realized that the word didn’t really mean what she thought it meant.
Brown’s research led her to realize that the dictionary definition of “Hawahihi” only includes the islands and not the country itself.
“That’s why I’m trying to figure it out and make it more inclusive,” she says.
And with that, Hawaii Stars was born.
“We have the ability to bring our products to Hawaii, and so that way, we’re able to sell more products and we’re also able to create a stronger community here,” Brown adds.
Brown hopes that by bringing her product to Hawaii Stars, she can start a dialogue about the island’s diverse and fascinating culture.
She hopes to create opportunities for the community to come together, so that people can experience what Hawaii is like from a different perspective.
Brown says that she wants her products to be available for everyone.
“Hawiis have to come up with their own way of living, and I think that that’s what the island is all about,” Brown explains.
“Our products are meant to be used by the entire community.
We want our customers to feel comfortable with our products and to feel confident in the products we have available.”
So far, HawaiiStars has sold more than 1,000 products to more than 500,000 customers.
But Brown says she’s not stopping with Hawaii Stars yet.
She wants to expand the brand into other markets, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and China.
“This is a long way to go, but we’re really looking forward to bringing our products in to places like Australia and the United States,” Brown promises.
“And then we’re looking to expand into other parts of the world as well.”