Today’s mele was contributed to the collection by Peter Pakele of Hilo, Hawaiʻi. The composer of this piece mentions significant places, such as Puʻuloa, to illustrate the story behind this mele.

[Photo: Flying over Puʻuloa; Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. Ca .1933. SP 204100.] (Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

A waho wau o Kalaeloa

I was outside of Kalaeloa

ʻAu ana Puʻuloa i ke kai

And caught a glimpse of Puʻuloa in the sea

Huwila e niniu i ka makani

The wheel revolved in the wind

Kaʻa i ka pohu o Waiʻanae

And we arrived in the calm of Waiʻanae

ʻIke i ka nani o Kaʻala

We saw the beauty of Kaʻala

I ka mole ʻolu o ke kuahiwi

(And) the pleasant surroundings of the mountain

Ke kai loa o Kaʻieʻie

In the distant sea of Kaʻieʻie

Eia aʻe Kauaʻi o Mano

There appears Kauaʻi, isle of Mano

Iaʻu nō au lele iho

As soon as I disembarked

ʻAu ana Niʻihau ma mua

Niʻihau appeared before

Ma ka leta kuʻu ʻike ʻana iho

It was in a letter that I saw

I nā ʻōlelo nahenahe

Words of tenderness

Na ka Hae Hawaiʻi lawe aʻe

It was the Hae Hawaiʻi who brought it

A loaʻa aʻe au i ke anu

And found me in the cold

Kau aku ka liʻa i ka moana

My longing then turned seaward

Me ʻoe ka ʻiʻini pau ʻole

And my endless desire was for you

[MS SC Roberts 3.10 , Pg. 2]

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