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Hawaii’s Humuhumunukunukuapua’a – what is it & how do you say it?

Hawaiian State Fish

Sheila Beal for Go Visit Hawaii on the Hawaii State Fish.  Join us on the Hoku Nui to snorkel off the west coast of Hawaii and experience firsthand the marine life of Hawaii.

When you visit Hawaii, you may come across this gigantic word that starts with H and has a bazillion letters. That’s the word humuhumunukunukuapua’a and it’s Hawaii’s state fish. The humuhumunukunukuapua’a is a tropical reef trigger fish that you’ll likely see when you snorkel in Hawaii.

I used to think that I’d never be able to pronounce humuhumunukunukuapua’a, but it’s actually quite easy after you sound it out a time or two. Here’s how to pronounce it: “who-moo-who-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-pooah-ah” Easy, peasy, right?

Just in case it’s not slipping off your tongue, check out this link to a YouTube of Don Ho singing My Little Grass Shack. At about 1:10 into the video, you hear Don Ho singing humuhumunukunukuapua’a a few times. Sing along and you’ll soon be a pro.

If you encounter a humuhumunukunukuapua’a while snorkeling in Hawaii, please give them their space. They can be quite territorial as we researched and learned after we shot the following video while snorkeling off Hawaii, the Big Island.

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