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The Pacific Island covers more than 20,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, commonly classified by Melanesia, which includes Fiji and New Guinea; Polynesia, which includes New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands; and Micronesia, which includes the islands of Kiribati, Nauru, the Marianas.
The Pacific Islander baby names are rich and symbolic of the gods and places that are important to the natives. They have a lovely rhythmic quality that is almost unheard of outside their native region. So if you are considering a Pacific Island name for your pea in the pod, MomJunction has complied a list for you.
1. Samoan Baby Names:
Samoan Baby Names For Girls:
Teuila, pronounced as ‘tay Wee Lah’, is one of the prettiest Samoan names. It’s Samoan for beautiful, red ginger flower. It’s also the name of the biggest cultural festival in Upolu.
[ Read: Australian Baby Names ]
The name Samoa is derived directly from the beautiful South Pacific Islands. You could also try Sinasamoa, which means ‘white sands of Samoa’. It could be quite an appeal with beach loving parents.
The name may be slightly challenging to pronounce, but we think it could be considered as it means ‘pleasant and lovable personality’ and ‘someone who is well-mannered and kind’. The name also sounds slightly familiar with Sophia, making it feel somewhat familiar.
Sefina is one of the most rhythmic Samoan names we have come across. It is short for the name Iosefina. You can keep Iosefina as the given name and Sefina as the nickname.
Don’t you think this name sounds pretty? This Christian name was made famous by the lovely song by Vaniah Toloa. It’s a Samoan word from ‘Samaritan’. When you break down the word, you get Maria, which means ‘sacred.’
Talia comes from the Samoan word ‘fa’atali’ and means ‘to wait’. The word is often used as a reference to waiting or being in anticipation for something big, which is ‘Second Coming of the Lord’. This name will remind your child to be deeply rooted in the Christian faith.
The Samoan term La’ei, pronounced as ‘lah’AY’ refers to the love of clothing. So if you are not scared of predisposing your darling girl for the love of fashion, this moniker is just for you.
The name Natia is derived from a longer Samoan surname. In itself, Natia means hidden in the Samoan language.
[ Read: Hawaiian Baby Names ]
Lanuola is a small part of a long Samoan surname. The literal translation of this name is ‘living color’, with lanu meaning ‘color’ and ola meaning ‘life’. You can also opt for Lanu’ese’ese, a longer variation of this name.
Elei is a traditional art of decorating fabric in the Samoan cultures. It involves carving patterns on wooden blocks, inking them, and then pressing them onto the fabric. We think Elei would make a nice alternative to the popular Hawaiian name Leilani.
Tamah is a Hebrew name heard widely in Samoa. Meaning ‘innocent and honest,’ Tamah sounds extremely gentle and appealing. For the nickname, you can keep Tammy or Timmi.
The name Masina is popular with both girls and boys, but we’d say that it sounds more girly to the ears. The meaning of Masina is ‘moon’. Samoan people relate this name to the popular song Moe i le po masina (sleeping on a moonlit night).
Tama is the variation of the name Tamah or Tamar. Tama Janowitz, the American novelist, is a famous bearer of this name. It comes from the Hebrew name Tamara, which means ‘date palm tree.’ The final ‘a’ in this name gives it a sensual Slavic tone.
Arihi is a lovely rhythmic name, meaning ‘kind and noble.’ People with this name are supposed to be compassionate, caring and dignified.
This is one of the fanciest Samoan baby names. It means ‘earth mother.’ You have plenty of nickname options for this one like Ronal, Ron, Rona, and Rongo.
[ Read: New Zealand Baby Names ]
This one is a unique baby name in our opinion. The meaning of this four-syllable name is ‘dry’.
This would make a nice alternative to Lolita for them. Lalago means ‘chief’s pillow or the prophet’s staff.’ For the nickname, you can go with Lai or Lola.
Not the most pleasant meaning (rival), but the name definitely sounds beautiful. You can use Emere as a short form for Emelia, Emeline, or Emily.
Non-Samoans would find hard to spell and pronounce this name. Fetuilelagi is the Samoan word for ‘star in the sky’ and it’s one of the traditional names of the island. For the nickname, you can go with the short and straightforward Fetu or Fetuao.
Asoese is a lovely Samoan name, meaning ‘different day.’
Penina is a Hebrew name meaning ‘pearl’ in the Samoan language. It has two popular namesakes, Penina Muhando, Tanzanian playwright and Penina Moise, American poet. It sounds a lot more unique and unusual than Pearl.
The name Lulu brings to mind a girl with a firecracker personality. It was in the top 100 baby name list in the Social Security List in the year 1980. It’s the name of Paul Simon and Edie Brickell daughters too. The meaning of Lulu is ‘pearl’.
[ Read: Hispanic Baby Names For Girls ]
No, we are not referring to Wikipedia here. Wiki is a Samoan baby girl name, meaning ‘victorious’. This chic and powerful name is moderately popular in Samoa. It has been in the top 1000 baby names for over 15 years.
Salamasina is an attractive baby name, meaning ‘savior.’ The name was stuck in the attic for quite some time now even after being hugely popular in the 90s. But Salamasina is just about ready for a comeback.
Samoan Baby Names For Boys:
Iosefa is the Samoan version of the biblical favorite Joseph. Its variation, Sefa, is used as a nickname. You rarely get to hear a variation of Joseph without a J, and that’s what makes Iosefa more popular than original.
The name has a simple meaning of good. But in the Samoan culture, Manaia is used to refer to the son of the high chief, when he performs taualga, the graceful solo dance to honor his family and village. You can shorten the name to Mana, which means ‘spiritual power’.
Fetu is one of the most powerful Samoan baby names for boys. Also considered the short form of the name Fetuilelagi, means ‘God of the night.’ And of course, we love names that end with ‘u’. They sound very different from other vowel-ending names.
If the divine is what you want your son’s name to be, choose Lagi, which means ‘heaven’. Lagi ranks #31, 000 in the United States. And we even predict it will soon be on an international roll.
Children are no less than a part of hearts of parents. So why not name them Loto, which means ‘heart’? Loto is enjoying mass popularity in several American and Pacific states. You can also use this name as a short form for Lotario or Lothair!
[ Read: Exotic Names For Girls ]
For parents looking for happy and cheerful names, go with Manuia, meaning ‘happy.’ Manuia was one of the top 100 names in Samoa for over a decade, highest being #109 in the year 2001.
Puleleiite is ideal for parents looking for grand and elaborate names. The meaning of Puleleiite is ‘ruler who can tell the future’. Puleleiite isn’t trendy per se, but sounds energetic, stylish, and, good-natured. And you’ll have a soothsayer in your family too!
Rangi is a beautiful sounding Samoan name, meaning ‘heaven or the sky.’ This name is enjoying widespread popularity in Australia at the moment. We think it would work great on someone with a long surname.
For parents expecting twins, Tamati would be an ideal pick as it means ‘twin.’ Tamati is a rural sounding name that is beginning to be reevaluated. You can use Tam for one child and Tamati for the other.
Ne’igalomeatiga is a quintessential Samoan name. But we doubt many people would go with this name as it has a sad meaning. Ne’igalomeatiga means ‘unforgettable pain’.
Sione is the Samoan variant of the name John and means ‘God is gracious.’ The name has skyrocketed in popularity since the mid-80s and is currently at #130.
Afu is a Polynesian name used widely in Samoa, probably because of the Polynesian community residing there. Its similarity to Afi, another famous Polynesian name can be attributed to its popularity. The meaning of Afu is ‘hot’.
[ Read: Baby Names From Around The World ]
Ainalani is a cool new Samoan name meaning ‘heavenly land’. It comes from the elements aina, which means ‘land’ and lani, which means ‘sky or heaven’.
Akeakamai is a traditional Samoan name, meaning ‘yearning for wisdom.’ This cool sounding name reflects the magnificence of the Samoan culture. It also made the top 1000 baby names, twice.
Hawea is an excellent, soft sounding Samoan baby name. It is probably the name of the mythical drum brought from Tahiti. It would make a perfect pick for mythology loving parents.
Most of you must have guessed by now that Henare is the Samoan form of the name Henry. It does have a mid-century stamp, but that doesn’t mean people are not using it. Henare was not even in the top 1000 before, but now sits pretty within 500.
The Samoan name Aleki is popular not just in Samoa, but also in English-speaking countries, including New Zealand. This name is fantastic, especially because it took more than a few decade hiatus for appearing in the top 1000 names.
This rhythmic Samoan name means ‘kind,’ which we’re sure your child will be to everyone. This stately name has been in and out of fashion since the turn of the last century. Currently, it’s off the top 100 list.
Enele is a name with loads of energy and spirit. Pronounced as En-e-le, it is a Samoan name for boys, meaning ‘wisdom.’ Enele Sosene Sopoaga, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, is the famous bearer of this name.
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This is quite straightforward. Laki means ‘lucky’ in the Samoan language. This short and sweet name stands pretty strong on its own. It was briefly popular in the 80s, but could be due for rediscovery.
2. Polynesian Baby Names:
Polynesian Baby Names For Girls:
Moana is an evocative Polynesian name, meaning ‘sea.’ Belonging to the Polynesian sea god, Moana would make a great pick for sea lovers. It was also the alternative name Ofelia in Pan Labyrinth. You can shorten it to Moa for the nickname.
Oliana is a beautiful Polynesian name, meaning ‘oleander.’ Oliana was the name of a character in Lauren Kate’s book “Rapture”. And its variation, Oleanna, is the title of one of David Mamet’s plays. For the nickname, you can choose Oli or Olly.
Tamar is a strong and vibrant Old Testament given to girls born on Sukkoth holiday, where palm branches are used to make sukkah roof. It’s also the name of King David and Absalom’s daughter, who was appreciated for her ‘fair countenance’. Tamar is the name of a river as well in ancient Celtic.
Leinani is a beautiful Polynesian name, meaning ‘beautiful child’. The name is obtained from the Hawaiian word lei, which means ‘wreath.’ In this Polynesian name, the elements lei, means ‘child,’ who is carried on the shoulders. This name was popular in Hawaii from the years 1900 to 1939.
The Polynesian baby name La’akea comes from the elements ‘la’a’, which means ‘sacred, and devoted’ and kea, which means ‘white clear’. Therefore, the name means ‘clear sacredness’. It works as a nickname for Laniakea, too.
Kalama is considered the Polynesian form of the name Karma, but we doubt that children are given this name for this meaning. In the Polynesian language, Kalama means ‘the torch, or the endemic ebony’. In this name, Ka is the definite article and lama means ‘torch’ or ‘endemic ebony’.
Pania, styled after the “Pania of the Reef” is an important figure in the Polynesian mythology. It’s also the symbol of the New Zealand city of Napier. It’s currently more popular in New Zealand and Australia than Polynesia. Penny would be the best nickname for Pania.
[ Read: Filipino Baby Names ]
Polynesian Baby Names For Boys:
Hamuera is the Polynesian form of the Christian name Samuel. This name is definitely on the rise in Polynesia, climbing more than a hundred places in the last few years. And it’s a MomJunction favorite as well!
Eithumatupua, the Polynesian God, climbed down from a sky on earth, and took Ilahea, a worm descendant as his wife. While returning to the sky, he impregnated his wife, who gave birth to Ahoeitu on the Earth.
Tane is the name of the mighty Polynesian sky god who set the moon and sun in place and studded the heavens with stars and constellation. Now that’s one majestic legacy for a straightforward, yet slightly unusual name.
Akamu is the Polynesian form of the name Adam and means ‘earth’ and ‘formed by God.’ It was the name of the first human created by God, according to the Bible.
The Polynesian name Manu means ‘bird of the night’.
Laniakea is a soothing Polynesian name meaning ‘immeasurable heaven’. This name is inspired by the galaxy supercluster that is home to the Solar System, Milky Way, and Earth. The name acknowledges the Polynesian navigators who used their knowledge to navigate the Pacific Ocean.
Ku is a male Polynesian name, meaning ‘to stand, to hit, or upright’. In the Polynesian mythology, Ku is the name of the god of war, whose full name was Kū-ka-ili-moku. He’s one of the four major gods of the Polynesians.
[ Read: Hispanic Baby Names For Boys ]
3. Tahitian Baby Names:
Tahitian Baby Names For Girls:
Tahiti is one of the most evocative geographical names. It is inspired by one of the places in Polynesia. The name conjures images of the swaying palm trees and beautiful palette of Gauguin. The popularity of Tahiti is growing with every passing day.
Rarahu is the French variant of the name Rarau used by Pierre Loti in his autobiographical novel, “Le mariage de Loti”. The name belonged to the Tahitian woman, and the lover of the narrator, a French officer stationed on the island.
Palila is a wonder baby Tahitian baby name, meaning ‘with a spirit as free as a bird’. This soft and gentle name that was last popular hundred years ago, is on the cusp of revival.
The name Tiare is derived from the Tahitian word, meaning ‘flower.’ It also refers to the Tahitian Gardenia, which is also known as ‘Tiare Flower’. In the literary world, Somerset Maughan used Tiare for one of his characters in “The Moon and Sixpence.”
Fetia is a lovely Tahitian baby name, meaning ‘star’. Though we must warn you that though in abundant use, this name sounds like a part of a longer name.
Tahitian Baby Names For Boys:
The name Vaea has been born by the Tahitian and Tongan kings and chiefs in antiquity. Baron Vaea, the most famous bearer of this name was the Prime Minister of Tonga. It’s also the name of the mountain overlooking the Samoan Capital, Apia.
[ Read: Exotic Names For Boys ]
4. Cook Island Baby Names:
Cook Island Baby Names For Girls:
Meilani is one of the widely heard Cook Island baby names, influenced by Leilani or Melanie. It’s famous not just in the Tahitian regions, but also in the United States, because of the Jenni Farley, the television personality who named her daughter Meilani in the year 2014.
This unique and appealing name means ‘woman of the woods,’ quite fitting, considering the region.
You know it’s Cook Island name when it ends in ‘ani’. Meaning ‘heavenly mist’, this would make a great name for babies born around this time of the year. And with a ‘Noel’ beginning, it could be a Christmas possibility as well.
Huali is a lovely name, meaning ‘bright, pure and polished’. This name conjures images of a beautiful girl dancing with a flower in the head.
Tuiara is a Cook-Island Maori name, meaning ‘to thread pineapple’. This name is unknown in the English Speaking countries, including New Zealand cities. So it will make a unique name for your daughter.
Cook Island Baby Names For Boys:
Amiri is a simple and straightforward name, meaning ‘rock.’ It’s one of the fastest rising baby boy names in Cook Island.
Hehu is a Maori origin name, meaning ‘rescued by God.’ It’s one of the longest running, two-syllable Cook Island baby names. We think it feels appropriate for both sexes.
If you like a nature-inspired baby name, meaning ‘lake.’
And with the huge list of names and varieties that they come from, tell us your favorite pick!
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