The Language of Aloha at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: ʻElepaio

ʻElepaio means Flycatcher Bird.

February is Hawaiian Language Month, and I love any reason to celebrate Hawaiian language. This leads me to a special bird found here in Hawai‘i that was known to be one of the most talkative in the forest: the ‘elepaio, or the flycatcher.

There are many stories about this bird, but one of the most interesting is that it was once used to help select trees to be made into canoes. The ʻelepaio was very social, and when Hawaiians of old would go into the forest, the happy bird would provide its aloha to those who passed by. This was useful because if an ʻelepaio was on a tree, that meant there were flies and bugs on the tree (it is a fly-catcher, after all) so it would not be a good tree to carve into a canoe. They were makaʻala, or vigilant, since those canoes had to cross great oceans.

At KA WAʻA Luʻau, you can learn all about how voyaging canoes journeyed throughout the Pacific with the stars, tides, and winds to guide them to Hawai’i.

Hale Manu Birds at Aulani Resort

Also, if you’d like to learn more about the birds of Hawaiʻi, I invite you to check out our boutique shop Hale Manu, which translates to bird house, where you can find carved sculptures of our native birds, and the perfect souvenir to take home with you on your return journey.

A hui hou, until we meet again.

Note: In printed materials, Aulani Resort uses the contemporary spelling of Hawaiian words, which includes marks such as the kahako (macron). Because these marks do not often display correctly in electronic formats, including the text of the Disney Parks Blog, we’ve omitted them to ensure clarity.


  • My favorite Polynesian words and activities are: ‘ohana and drinking Kona coffee preferably anywhere on the Hawaiian archipelago! 🙂


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