Today’s mele was contributed to the collection by Theodore Kelsey of Hilo. Beginning at the top of Haleakalā, the composer takes us on a journey reaching as far north as Kauaʻi then travels back toward the southernmost island of Hawaiʻi.

[Photo: Group of thirteen on horses and mules at Haleakalā Maui. SP 81599.] (Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Haleakalā ke kuahiwi nani o Maui,

Haleakalā is Maui’s beautiful mountain,

Kipahulu, Kaupō, Honua‘ula, Kekaha, No‘ono‘o, Nounou,

There is Kipahulu, Kaupō, Honua‘ula, Kekaha, No‘ono‘o, Nounou,

E ki‘i ana Nounou i ka noelo ‘ia i ka pali o Kahikinui,

Nounou went to fetch the long sought fish on the cliff of Kahikinui,

‘Akahi ho‘i ka nui, ka nele i ka ho‘i ‘ana i ke kula loa o Mau‘umae,

There wasn’t much and insufficient for the journey over the long plain of Mau‘umae,

‘O ko‘u makemake nō ia ‘o kou kipa mai.

It is my wish that you come for a visit.

[MS SC Roberts 4.2 , Pg. 44]

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