Hawaiaans have one or two given and one family name. First and or middle names are often traditional ancient Hawaiian names. Hawaiian names are popular amongst both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian Americans.
The 1860 Act to Regulate Names forced Hawaiians to take their father's given name as their surnames and to give all new children Christian given names. Prior to that time Hawaiians did not have surnames. From that time until the law was repealed in 1967, Hawaiian names were given as middle names.
Old Hawaiian given names were that of family members, reflected incidents or were taken from nature. Hawaii was a hierarchical society so names had to be appropriate for one's social standing. Sometimes names appeared in dreams or visions. Traditionally names were considered the property of the name holder having the power to help or hurt them. Because of this, some older Hawaiians are uncomfortable with the modern custom of naming a child after them.
Ancient Hawaiian names were typically used in a unisex fashion. Names also often had repulsive or vulgar meanings in an attempt to protect the child from evil forces. Today, names are used in a more gender based way (e.g. names ending in -lani are used more frequently for girls) and names with negative meanings are generally no longer used.