Contributor- Samuel Akoni Mika, Waiākea Homesteads, Hilo, Hawaiʻi.

An ʻūkēkē dialogue between husband and wife. ʻŪkēkē; “A variety of musical bow…with two or commonly three strings drawn through holes at one end. The strings were strummed. According to Roberts, the old experts made no sound with the vocal cords, but the mouth cavity acted as a resonance chamber. The resulting sound suggested speech and trained persons could understand.”

(Excerpt and mele translation provided by Mary Kawena Pukui)

ʻAuheuhea ʻoe e Manuokekula,

Where, O where are you, Bird-of-the-plain,

E ala mai ʻoe e moe loa nei.

Wake up, you sleep too long.

Eia hoʻi au ma waho aku nei,

Here I am, out here,

I ka ua liʻiliʻi ka ua noenoe,

In the light shower, the misty rain,

Hō aʻe kāua i ka ihu o ka lio

Let us turn the noses of our horses

I ka ulu kukui o Walikanahele.

And hie to the kukui grove of Walikanahele

ʻAuheuhea ʻoe e kuʻu hoa luhi,

Where are you, my fellow worker,

Mai kuhi mai ʻoe a he pono kēia!

Don’t you believe that this is enjoyable!

Eia kuʻu kino i ka ulaia,

My body remains here in solitude,

I ka ulu ao a e Malama.

Though there is a multitude at Malama.

A hō aʻe kāua i ka ihu o ka lio

Let us turn the noses of our horses

I ka ulu kukui o Walikanahele

And hie to the kukui grove of Walikanahele.

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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