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Hawaii residents meet to discuss name for volcanic fissure

May 21, 2019

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Residents of a Hawaii neighborhood have met to discuss what they should name a nearby volcanic fissure.

About 30 people attended the meeting Thursday in the Big Island community of Pahoa to consider a better name for fissure 8, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Sunday.

The fissure in the Puna district community of Leilani Estates was the eighth and most powerful vent to open during the Kilauea eruption, which produced lava flow that destroyed more than 700 homes in Lower Puna.

The discussion revolved primarily around what deity the name should reflect and included Pele and Ailaau, female and male volcano gods.

“We want to heal our community,” said resident Piilani Kaawaloa. “We have a new opportunity to make this pono, to make this right.”

The meeting was organized by the state Board on Geographic Names to receive public input, which has resulted in 16 proposed names from 14 applicants.

This is the first time the geographic names board has reached out to the public to name a new feature and board members said it is a process they want residents to lead.

“We really look to the community to guide us,” said board chairman Marques Marzan.

The deadline to submit proposals is June 30. Another community meeting will probably be held in August, Marzan said.

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