Contributor- Kaahaainahaku Naihe, Oʻahu. “Mele inoa for King Kalākauaʻs mother, Keohokālole. (After her death that name was passed over to Princess Likelike, the kingʻs sister.) Keohokālole (“straight hair”), mother of Kalākaua and Liliʻuokalani was named by Kaʻahumanu for the straight hair of her father, ʻAikanaka.”

(Excerpt and mele translation provided by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Aloha Kona Hau o Māʻihi,

Love to Kona, land of the Hau of Māʻihi

ʻO ka hoʻokaumaha a ke kehau.

Laden down with the drops of the dew.

ʻOia makani kei hoene,

There the breezes murmur softly,

Hoene ana i ka pua o ka niu

Murmur to the blossoms of the coconut

Niu a nā maka i ʻike ʻole ai

High up, almost out of sight.

Aloha au o ka uka o Ahuʻena ē,

Love to the upland of Ahuʻena,

ʻO ka ʻena i ala luʻu i ke kai.

So warm (that one wishes) to dive in the sea.

Hoʻāʻike i ke oho,

Mention shall be made of the hair,

ʻO Keohokālole o huli mai ā.

O Keohokālole, turn hither to me.

[MS SC Roberts 2.1, pg. 13-13a]

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