Thanks to these Waikiki fourth graders, Rocky’s famous new pup has a name!

Koalani on Kaimana Beach
Koalani on Kaimana Beach(HMAR)
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 6:05 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 6:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Waikiki Elementary School students were tasked with a big job: Name Hawaiian monk seal Rocky’s new pup.

After much deliberation, they arrived at ... Koalani.

Earlier this month, fourth grade students conducted a haku inoa ― a name weaving exercise ― accounting cultural and scientific information to give the pup a unique name.

“Our hope is that by engaging with these students, teaching them about Hawaiian monk seals, an endangered marine species that only exists in Hawaiian waters, and connecting them to a specific seal, the keiki feel a sense of kuleana (responsibility) towards Koalani as well as the rest of the monk seal population.” said Jon Gelman, the president and founder of Hawaii Marine Animal Response.

Talk story discussions to gift Koalani his name in the classroom.
Talk story discussions to gift Koalani his name in the classroom.(HMAR)

Participants said the students gravitated towards Koa – meaning strong and brave. The students then added lani meaning heaven, sky and royalty. Together, Koalani: “heavenly warrior.”

Koalani and his mom Rocky made headlines when Rocky attacked a 60-year-old elementary school teacher from California swimming close to the seal’s nursing area off Kaimana Beach.

Born in July, Koalani is the eighth reported Hawaiian monk seal pup of 2022 born in Oahu.

He is Rocky’s 14th pup and her second born in Waikiki.

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