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Nā Inoa Hōkū — Hawaiian and Pacific star names
by Rubellite Johnson, John Mahelona and Clive Ruggles

Ocarina Books 2015
ISBN 9780954086756 (pbk), xii+272 pp.

In 1975, Hawaiian scholars Rubellite Kawena Johnson and John Kaipo Mahelona published Nā Inoa Hōkū,a Catalogue of Hawaiian and Pacific Star Names. Though long out of print, Nā Inoa Hōkū is still widely regarded as a definitive source of reference for anyone studying the use of astronomy in Polynesian voyaging as well as the nature and development of ritual and calendrical practices throughout the Pacific.


Working together with archaeoastronomer Clive Ruggles, the authors have extensively revised and extended the catalogues as well as bringing up to date the discussion of their broader context and significance.


This new edition of Nā Inoa Hōkū is completely overhauled, vastly expanded, and includes new translations of many key original Hawaiian sources from the mid-19th century onwards.




  • Preface to the first edition   viii
  • Preface to the revised edition   ix
  • Acknowledgements   xi
  • 1 Introduction
    • 1.1 Introduction to the first edition (1975)   3
    • 1.2 Introduction to the revised edition   8
  • 2 Hawaiian sources
    • 2.1 Introduction   13
    • 2.2 Early Hawaiian astronomical texts   18
    • 2.3 The genealogical history of Kanalu   54
    • 2.4 Haho's “Ancient History of Hawai‘i”   85
    • 2.5 Theodore Kelsey’s “Navigation Gourd Notes”   130
  • 3 Catalogue of Hawaiian star names
    • 3.1 Notes on the catalogue   141
    • 3.2 Catalogue 1: Hawaiian star names   145
    • 3.3 Western identifications   210
  • 4 Commentaries and background information
    • 4.1 Hawaiian months and days   215
    • 4.2 Western star nomenclature   218
  • 5 Comparative catalogue of Polynesian star names
    • 5.1 Notes on the catalogue   223
    • 5.2 Catalogue 2: Polynesian star names   224
  • 6 Bibliography   267


    About the authors

    Rubellite Kawena Johnson is Professor Emerita of Hawaiian Language and Literature at the University of Hawai‘i. Ruby was born and raised in Kaua‘i and spent much of her early adult life traveling the Pacific with her family before joining the University of Hawai‘i’s Department of Hawaiian and Indo-Pacific Languages in 1967. Her publications include Kumulipo, the Hawaiian Hymn of Creation (1981) and The Kumulipo Mind: a Global Heritage (2000). A greatly respected scholar and advocate for Hawaiian culture, she was honored in 1983 as a “Living Treasure of Hawai‘i”.


    John Kaipo Mahelona, a former student of Ruby’s, has a BA in Asian Studies and an MA in Pacific Island Studies. He speaks several languages, Pacific and European, in addition to Hawaiian. John currently teaches at the Academia Language School in Honolulu.


    Clive Ruggles is Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. His many academic publications on cultural astronomy include the 3-volume Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy (2014), for which he was editor-in-chief. Clive is also a leading figure in UNESCO’s initiative with the International Astronomical Union to recognize, protect and promote the world’s astronomical heritage sites.


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Ocarina Books publishes and distributes books relating to archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy. Our printed books can be ordered on-line, either from Oxbow Books / Casemate Academic or (within the United Kingdom) directly from this site. Exceptionally, Nā Inoa Hōkū is distributed outside Europe by the University of Hawai‘i Press.

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