Editor’s Page: Just Honolulu

Getting things right.


Photo: Adam Jung 

Say Honolulu out loud. There, most of you reading along said it correctly, Ho-no-lu-lu. Not Hah-nah-lu-lu. And it didn’t take any longer to get it right. 


Sure, it’s a basic thing, but I’ve been noticing lately just how many people mispronounce our city’s name. Smart and savvy people, too, some of whom have lived in the Islands most or all of their lives. A newcomer saying it wrong, sure, but what’s going on with kama‘āina? These days, people can connect with the world from most computers, including
the smartphones that many of us have come to rely on for basic daily communication. That means it’s even easier to get things right. 


Google “how to pronounce Honolulu Hawaiian” and nearly 500,000 results come up in less than a second, many with accurate recordings available at a click. So it should be that easy, right? My guess is that people got in the habit of saying it one way and didn’t ever change. 


My colleague Michael Keany says he’s gotten it right ever since the late Nona Beamer schooled him on the proper pronunciation during a telephone interview. As for my education, I can blame/credit my parents for being sticklers for pronunciation. They were both voracious readers who routinely emphasized the importance of pronouncing things correctly. They weren’t prissy about it; it was just something that was expected, the same way we were routinely expected to say please and thank you, and do basic chores without being asked.   


So that’s the pitch I’m making: Pronouncing our city’s name correctly really should be as routine as basic manners. And we can and should get it right. After all, despite speeding up with the rest of the modern world, Hawai‘i remains a place where people are still mostly friendly. (Haven’t we all had that friend who moves to the Islands and complains good-naturedly that drivers are too nice, always wanting to let another car get over, even when it slows things down?)  


This month, I mark two years working here as editor of HONOLULU Magazine, so I get to hear the name of our publication and city every day. I’m grateful for all the opportunities we have to learn and tell the stories of our community. I’m thankful for the talented team that I’m privileged to be a part of here. We work hard at bringing you a magazine that’s relevant, interesting and entertaining.


This month, we’ve got a look at the many facets of Hawai‘i chocolate (“The Everything Guide to Local Chocolate,”) and what entrepreneurs are doing to get chocolate right in the only state to produce chocolate commercially. Our writers tracked down people who study cacao, grow the beans and make the bars, candies, icy pops and decadent desserts of various shapes and sizes. While cacao first was introduced to Hawai‘i in 1850, it didn’t go into production until the 1980s, and now, in 2015, seems to be flourishing in an unprecedented way. We’re seeing a big increase in local candy makers, bakers, chefs and entrepreneurs, all producing an increasingly yummy array of chocolate.


Dancel shared with us the photo, showing her with Health Department clerk Irene Takeda.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF genora dancel

Also in the issue, we’re pleased to find out more of the story of three same-sex couples who, 25 years ago, went to the Hawai‘i Department of Health to request marriage licenses. Although they were turned down that day, these six people helped ignite the national movement for same-sex marriage, which is now legal throughout the country. Our story, “The Accidental Activist,” by writer Carlyn Tani, focuses on Genora Dancel, who went from a low-key Leeward resident into the national media spotlight: Time, Newsweek, Oprah. Dancel’s story shows the strength of people willing to stand up for what they believe to be right. Although the act of applying for a marriage license was controversial at the time, she and the others persevered. In one of those Honolulu-still-seems-like-a-small-town-at-heart moments, Dancel shared with us the photo on this page with her and Health Department clerk Irene Takeda. They’re both smiling because Takeda, who had to reject the marriage license request in 1990, was able to issue Dancel her marriage license 23 years later and the two snapped a photo to mark the occasion.


From our team at the magazine, we thank you for making us part of your life and wish you joy and time with family and friends during this holiday season. It’s a good time to celebrate getting things right.




Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine February 2019
Edit ModuleShow Tags



9 Greatest Honolulu Homes

Great Homes

Stunning, historic, extraordinary.


Can the Mainland Do Poke Right? Do We Want Them To?​


Martha Cheng, author of The Poke Cookbook and former line, talks about how a New York City publisher decided Hawai‘i’s favorite pūpū was for everybody.


50 Essential Hawai‘i Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime


The most iconic, trenchant and irresistible island books, as voted by a panel of literary community luminaries.


Everything You Need to Know About Local Fruit in Hawai‘i


Fruits are part of our history and culture, a way for us to feel connected to our community.



A Local’s Guide to Buying Reef-Safe Sunscreen


Five Hawai‘i brands have created reef-safe sunscreens that are safe for your ʻohana and the ocean. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags