Celebrate Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi by Helping Honolulu Fix Its Street Signs

The Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts launched its “Word on the Street” campaign to identify street signs that should be updated with proper Hawaiian spelling, in recognition of Hawaiian Language Month.


You may have noticed irksome inconsistencies across the island, where certain street names have different spellings even one block apart (just us grammar nerds?). The city wants to change that by enlisting the public’s help in identifying signs that should be updated, in honor of February being Hawaiian Language Month and Culture and Arts Month.


The “Word on the Street” campaign, launched by the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, or MOCA, aims to take inventory of signs through the use of social media. Here’s how it works: Members of the community who notice street signs that are misspelled or missing diacritical marks (‘okina or kahakō) can take photos and post them on Instagram, either in their stories or on their feeds, and tag @hnl_moca and #WordOnTheStreet. If you don’t have a public profile, feel free to send a direct message to @hnl_moca instead, email your photos with location information to moca-info@honolulu.gov, or fill out this Google form through MOCA’s website. You can also send your findings to @honolulumoca on Facebook.


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Word On The Street Moca Waialae Street Sign Credit Brie Thalmann

This sign along Wai‘alae Avenue was missing the ‘okina but has since been updated. Photo: Brie Thalmann


If you’re not sure what the proper spelling should be, no worries: A team of Hawaiian language and cultural experts will assess the submissions.


This will be a rolling campaign beyond February to include more Hawaiian—one of the state’s official languages—in our everyday lives, properly honoring the history and culture of our place names.