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Nā Hua ʻŌlelo no ka Huakaʻi Nautilus - Nautilus expedition terms in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Close up of branching yellow fan coral against black background of dark ocean. Several branches have pink cup anemones wrapped around coral branches
Ocean Exploration Trust / NOAA

OET aims to uplift and celebrate the vibrant resurgence of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (the Hawaiian language).

We are grateful for the knowledge of kumu who have helped assemble this language list to develop a shared terminology for deep-sea expeditions as we learn more and share Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument with learners in Hawaiʻi, across the Pacific, and around the world.

This was created through the contributions of the Papahānaumokuākea Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group facilitated by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs including Jacob Hauʻoli Lorenzo-Elarco, Kalamaʻehu Holden Takahashi, Hōkūokahalelani Pihana, Dr. Alyssa Anderson, Kanoelani Steward, and Kalani Quiocho.

Contributors’ note: There are likely several Hawaiian words or expressions to describe these things, and we have compiled this list as suggestions only.

Find these terms also in the education resource Nā Huaʻōlelo Huakaʻi ʻAumoana - Visual Vocabulary 'Ōlelo Hawaiʻi & English


Technical/Operational terms: Nā hua ʻōlelo ʻEnehana

  • Exploration Vessel / research ship / ship - moku (E/V = moku noiʻi noelo)
    • Ship name: E/V Nautilus
  • Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) - Mokuluʻu kia auwaea
    • ROV names: Hercules, Argus, Little Hercules, and Atalanta
    • ROV sampling tools
      • Suction/slurp sample - omo ʻāpana
      • Grab sample - lālau i ka mea
      • Push core/sediment core - hāpana pōhaku
      • Niskin/water sample - hāpana wai
  • Seafloor (or multibeam) mapping - kaha palapala (ʻāina o ka) papakū
  • Sub-bottom profiler - hiʻona kaha o ka papakū
  • Wet lab / science lab - keʻena hoʻokolohua
  • Broadcast studio - lumi hoʻolele leo / lumi hoʻolele wikiō

Onboard roles - Nā Kūlana hana o ka poʻe o luna o ka moku

We call our team the Corps of Exploration; learn more about the roles onboard.

  • Expedition Leader - Alakaʻi
  • ROV Pilot - Pailaka mokuluʻu / Mokuluʻu kia auwaea
  • Navigator - Hoʻokele
  • Scientist - Kanaka ʻepekema / akeakamai
  • Science Communication Fellow / Educator- Kumu ʻike / Mea haʻi moʻolelo
  • Intern / Student - Haumāna / huʻeaʻo
  • Data Engineer/ Computer Scientist - ʻEnekinia / Kanaka ʻepekema lolouila
  • Video Engineer / Filmmaker - Kanaka paʻi wikiō
  • Ship’s Crew - limahana moku

Scientific vocabulary terms: ʻEpekema

Geological: Nā Hua ‘Ōlelo Hulihonua

  • Seamount - mauna kai
  • Guyot - flat topped seamount - mauna kai pālahalaha
  • Volcano - lua pele
  • Ridge - kualapa / kualono
  • Slope - ihona
  • Trench - ʻauwaha
  • Hot spot - piko pele
  • Basalt/rock rock (general) = pōhaku / pōhaku pele
  • Crust (e.g. Ferromanganese crust) crust (continental/ oceanic) = pāpaʻa / pāpaʻa honua
  • Carbon dating - (laboratory analysis after the expedition to determine the age of the rock formation a sample rock is collected from). “carbon” - Ana karabona / Helu makahiki kalapona

Biological: Nā Hua ‘Ōlelo Kālaimeaola

  • Ecosystem - Kaiaola
  • Coral- how is best to describe a reef-type coral vs a deep water coral? Koʻa (Aia ke koʻa o kahakai ma ke kai pāpaʻu. Aia ke koʻa o ka moana ma ke kai hohonu)
  • Sponge - Huʻakai
  • Microbes - Mū ʻike ʻole ʻia e ka maka / meaola ʻuʻuku
  • DNA - DNA (dēnūʻā)
  • Fish - Iʻa
  • Seastar - Peʻa
  • Crab - Pāpaʻi
  • Jellyfish/siphonophore - Pololia
  • Anemone - ʻŌkole

Water properties: Nā Hua ‘Ōlelo Pili Wai

  • Salinity - Paʻakai
  • Temperature - Wela (hot) / Anu (cold)
  • Oxygen concentration - ʻOkikene

Learn more about ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi with these online reference libraries!

Nā Puke Wehewehe ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Combined Hawaiian Dictionary

Created with the support of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.