Waipuna Laaba Abigail Judd – What’s in a Name?



I lost my best friend, Sarah, several years ago. It was the worst day of my life having to say goodbye to her. Her memory lives on in my heart but I also called her my “memory keeper”… she was always able to recall the best stories from our past – things I wouldn’t remember until she brought them up. Wonderful memories of laughter, fun, friendship and unconditional love. I miss her…

Sarah malika-3

I’ve always known that I wanted to pass on her energy, her essence, her joy… to one of my children in the form of a name.


Several months ago I approached my Auntie Jane (Sarah’s mom) and told her our ideas. We didn’t want to be literal by naming her Sarah. We wanted to find a Hawaiian name that captured her essence.


Auntie Jane shared with us a moment several years back when she, Nick (Sarah’s brother) and Sarah were a part of an ice breaker game where they had to say what they would be if they were an inanimate object. I thought it was so poetic of Sarah to say she resembled a “babbling brook.”


Kaimi later thumbed through the Hawaiian dictionary and one name stood out – Waipuna.


He then shared the story with their cultural advisor at Makena (his workplace)… her name is Leahi. He wasn’t asking for help, just sharing our journey with naming baby girl. Later that day, Leahi said she was inspired and sent him an email with two names saying “Here are initial ideas in hopes that they may help feed the continued flow of creative juices for the little one you and Malika expect.”


I’ll copy and paste what she wrote:


Literal Translation:
Spring water / Puna > Cherished one


Water is a connection to the past and nourishes generations to come. Water as a life giving source. Spring water also tends to gurgle or babble, and was a treasured Hawaiian resource. So, water is the link to the cherished one who has passed, but we also acknowledge water’s ultimate form as a life giving source to the cherished one who is expected.


Leahi also suggested another name but after reading this (above)… we were both in tears and knew that this would be her name.


For me, I feel like “Waipuna” captures the essence of Sarah – gentle, nourishing, calm, mesmerizing, cherished… you might not be able to see water in all of its forms – but it’s always there, sustaining us.


I wrote to Auntie Jane to share our naming journey and she told me this…


When I was working with a friend and his organization, I learned the value of “wai” and how doubling it to “wai wai” deepens its meaning even more to include “wealth” in the broadest sense of the word… everything from riches to well-being, prosperity, treasures, worth, peace, and security. I love that “wai” coupled with “puna” which not only translates into spring water but also means “cherished one” makes for such a loving remembrance of our Sarah!


This further solidified our choice.


Waipuna’s middle names are also significant as they pay homage to both maternal grandmothers. My mother’s mom, Laaba Henni (Laaba means doll in Arabic) and Kaimi’s mother’s mom Abigail Reeves (Whose name includes his mom’s name “Gail”)… this was a surprise for our parents, which we shared after delivery. :)


Waipuna “Wai Wai” Laaba Abigail Judd was born on November 21, 2015 at 10:08 p.m. at the Maui Memorial Hospital in Kahului, Maui (8 lbs. 2.7 oz. & 21 inches long). Welcome to the world baby girl! Happy Birthday! Your name honors very special women…






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One Response

  1. Barbara Bettis says

    Lovely Waipuna,with a cherished name.