Contributor- Hanohano Makepa, Hanapēpē Valley, Kauaʻi.

[Photo: ʻEwa Plantation’s newly renovated sugar mill shortly after 1900; ʻEwa, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. SP_118925.]

(Translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

A Puʻuloa ʻai hawahawa,

At Puʻuloa, unclean food is eaten,

ʻOno e ka puʻu, hoehoe mai.

It leaves an odd taste in the throat; paddle this way.

A Mānana ʻai ʻamiʻami,

At Mānana, eat and wiggle,

ʻOno e ka puʻu ē, kahakaha mai.

Pleasant is the taste; turn around this way.

ʻO Waiawa ʻai ʻōpae,

At Waiawa eat shrimps,

ʻOno e ka puʻu, hoehoe mai.

Delicious is the taste; turn around this way.

Waipiʻo kani e ka pio,

At Waipiʻo, hear a shrill whistle,

Ka lua o ka pio ʻo wau ia.

Know by the second whistle that it is I.

Waikele ʻūkelekele,

Waikele, very muddy.

Ka loku a ka ua me ka makani.

The rain pours and the wind blows.

Hōʻaeʻae he wahine hea,

At Hōʻaeʻae a woman calls,

Wahine hiʻu iʻa pākū i ke kai.

A mermaid that keeps away the sea.

Ka nui keʻe kau aheahe.

Around the corners we gaze ahead.

Ka hale wili kō o nā mile mua.

At the sugar mill on the first few miles.

Kaulana o ka ʻEwa Mile.

Famous is ʻEwa Mill.

Ka hale wili o hemo ke lelo.

For the sugar mill that makes the tongue hang.

Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana,

This ends my song.

Ka hale wili kō o ʻEwa Mile.

Of the sugar mill of ʻEwa.

[MS SC Roberts 3.5, Pg. 73-75]

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