(Mele translation provided by Mary Kawena Pukui)
Aia ʻo ʻĀwini pali aliʻi hulaʻana,
Yonder stands ʻĀwini, the sheer cliff of royalty,
E noho ana Kahaopulani.
Where Kahaopulani lived,
Hānai ʻia Paiʻea, he aliʻi,
To rear Paiʻea, the chief.
I kōhia mai loko Kekuʻiapoiwa.
He was born from Kekuʻiapoiwa,
I noho ʻia ma loko a ʻĀinakea,
And lived at ʻĀinakea.
Ka ʻinaʻina aliʻi i haʻakohi ma loko.
Born was he with the royal birth fluids from within.
I laila ʻō, he nīʻaupiʻo na ʻĀinakea,
There he was known, a chief of high rank from ʻĀinakea,
I kukū a lalapa.
A rank that blazed upward.
Loaʻa ma loko mai o laila he wela, he wela nō e,
From within it came the burning kapu, A burning kapu indeed.
Aia, aia Paiʻea aliʻi i uka o ʻĀwini.
There, there dwelt Paiʻea, up in ʻĀwini,
Ka pali hulaʻana no koaʻe,
A sheer cliff ascended by the tropic bird,
He pali aliʻi na Nakolokalani.
The royal cliff of Nakolokalani.
He kū kinikini aliʻi na Hikuikekualono,
A multitude of the chiefs of Hikuikekualono
Ua ʻōwela ka lani ua, nākolo ka honua.
The heavens were heated, the earth rumbled.
Ke ahi ʻōlani aliʻi ma ʻĀwini,
The chiefly fire rose at ʻĀwini,
E kūhea ana iā Keahialaka.
As a call to Keahialaka,
I laila Umihulumakaokalani ē.
To Umihulumakaokalani who lived there.
E nonoho ana nō ia mau aliʻi.
There dwelt some of the chiefs
E hānai ana iā Paiʻea aliʻi,
Who reared the chief Paiʻea.
Ia nākolo ka lani.
The heavens rumbled.
Ia ʻuʻina ka leo o ʻIkuwā,
The voices of the stormy month roared,
The dark month of the thunderstorms.
No ʻĀinakea ke ēwe aliʻi i kokōhi ai,
At ʻĀinakea was born a line of chiefs,
No ʻĀwini ka piko moku ai.
At ʻĀwini the chiefʻs navel was cut.
No Keahialaka ka ʻe i ʻai ai,
From Keahialaka the first food he ate,
No Kahaopulani ka umauma.
He nursed at Kahaopulaniʻs breast,
ʻO ka nīʻaupiʻo aliʻi ē-,
This chief of nīʻaupiʻo rank,
A Kekuʻiapoiwa ē ua ʻike-a.
This child of Kekuʻiapoiwa, who is known.
ʻO kukui ʻā lalapa ē wela ē,
A lighted torch, blazing and burning,
He wela nō ē-.
Burning indeed is his kapu.
Mele are an invaluable primary resource for Hawaiian scholarship and cultural connection. The Welo Hou: Building Connections to the Roberts Mele Collection project, funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, will improve the digitization, indexing, and accessibility of a unique and treasured collection of mele dating from pre-Western contact to the early 1900s. This pilot project will serve as a model for improved access to and increased engagement with the Bishop Museum Library & Archives’ other mele collections.
Welo Hou, or to unfurl once again, aims to provide more opportunities for researchers of all levels of Hawaiian language and cultural fluency to access the Roberts Collection with ease, and honors the connections between Hawaiian voices of the past and our community of the present.
This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services NG-04-17-0218-17