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Today most people choose a name because "it sounds nice". In ancient Hawaii, and indeed in most traditional societies a name involved more than its sound. A name (inoa) was a possession, an influence for good or evil and perhaps a part of a societies history. Ones inoa was a precious personal possession and also a force in its own right. Although a person possessed his or her name, he or she was also possessed by the name. Once spoken, the inoa assumed a mystical existence and the power to help or harm the bearer. And, so went the belief, the more a name was spoken, the more powerful it came, and the more powerful the influence - good or evil.