Pukui et al. tell us it is "probably named for a type of stone used as weights for octopus lures."
USGS map piece
The area is covered on maps 11 and 9 in Bryan's Sectional Maps.
A Mid-1990s color infrared aerial photograph gives a more detailed overview. here
On the photo you can see the distribution of highrises vs lowrise housing in the area. You probably can pick out other landmarks as well. Note the street pattern and the impact of H-1.
An old map of the area (Monsarat 1901) shows the name applied to the ridge at the head of Kewalo Street. Now, Byan's has it applied more to the neighborhood to the east of Puowaina (Punchbowl), though the USGS map has the label running up the ridge still.
Basically, it is an area close to downtown, Ala Moana/Kapiolani district, and to Puowaina. It is also close to Papakolea.
The street pattern looks like settlement ran east from downtown toward "the plains" along the King and Beritania corridor, and then turned up around the shoulder of Punchbowl.
Where are the borders? The connections of the area to the rest of town were disrupted by the H-1 freeway. Is H-1 a border now? Punahou Street may be an edge. (Maybe not.) How about Ward Avenue?
The principal distinguishing feature for most of us is probably the density of population. The large number of condominiums and appartments in the area come to mind. But further mauka they trail into single family homes and quite uncrowded residences in the upland portions.
Proximity to downtown and now Ala Moana matters but the Makiki makes sense as a neighborhood in its own right. It has a market district (Makiki Shopping Village), a number of churches (e.g. Hawaii Baptist Academy), schools (Roosevelt, Punahou?), parks (Makiki District Park).
There are several hospitals. Shriner's and Kapiolani WOmen's and Childrens'.
Look at the street patterns and names. Some organic streets probably are very old in origin. Nehoa and Prospect, for example. There are a set of names that seem also to be old and to name old features (Punahou, Kewalo, etc). Some are names fromt eh Kingdon (Liholiho, Keeaumoku,etc). Others seem to be names from the days of the republic (Thurston, Spencer, Mott-SMith). Where does "Victoria" fit in?
Punchobowl / Puowaina & National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Scottish Rite Temple - Freemasons
Makiki Fire Station (~1920)
Contemorpary Museum - Mrs Charls Montague Cooke's home on Makiki Hieghts Drive.
H.P. Baldwin Home on Nehoa Street (1899 - Richardsonian Romanesque elements)
You might notice a lot of cemeteries in the area.
C&C Neighborhood Statistics ...
The familar table excerpting some 2000 census data will help facilitate some comparisons between Moiliili (#25), Kaimuki (#14), Makiki (#33) and Downtown (#40). Look at the range of incomes and the ethnic composition of these tracts representings these neighborhoods.