Contributor- Louis Nakeʻu, Honolulu, Oʻahu.
“Lāʻieikawai was a chiefess who was reared at Paliuli by her grandmother, Waka. She rested on the backs of birds. Among her lovers were ʻAiwohi-kupua, a Kauaʻi chief, Ke-kalukalu-o-Kewā, another Kauaʻi chief, and Halaaniani a man from Puna. Halaaniani won Lāʻieikawai from Ke-kalukalu-o-Kewā by the help of his sister Maliʻo who was a sorceress and expert in playing the flute. Lāʻieikawai became the wife Halaaniani, but not for long. She later married Ka-ʻōnohi-o-ka-lā, brother of ʻAiwohi-kupua who was reared in the realm of the gods and dwelt in the sun.”
(Translation and excerpt by Mary Kawena Pukui)
Aia i Paliuli Lāʻieikawai,
At Paliuli dwelt Lāʻieikawai,
Ke laʻi mai nei i luna o nā manu,
Resting peacefully on the back of birds,
Noho mai ʻAiwohi i ke kapu o mua.
ʻAiwohi dwelt in the kapu of the men’s house,
O lale mai ana ke ka ʻupu i Paliuli,
And the thought came to him of Paliuli,
E ala nā manu ka manawa kēia,
The birds awoke for this was the time,
Ua hiki mai nei ʻo Halaaniani,
That Halaaniani came,
Hao mai lā ka mana o Maliʻo i ka pua,
While Maliʻo worked her mana by means of the flute,
Mai kuhi mai ʻoe no Hamohamo wau,
Now don’t get the idea that I belong to Hamohamo,
Kahi aku ia hopu i ke ahuʻawa,
That is where you’ll grasp the ahuʻawa grass,
A ʻo au iho ia ke kāpena moku,
I am the captain of the ship,
Nāna huki ai ka uka ka hae i luna,
Who raised the flag on shore,
ʻIke nā ʻōhua i ka hana a Kahiki,
So that the passengers will know that Kahiki is doing,
Hiki mai Komeka ka moku lawe leka,
When Komeka the mail boat appears,
Haʻina ka inoa Ke-akua-mana-ʻole.
This is in praise of Ke-akua-mana-ʻole.
[MS SC ROBERTS 2.8 p. 12b-14]
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