“Mele obtained from Kiaaina, of chief stock, reputed to have been born in Kohala in 1817. Much of his life was spent on the island of Kauaʻi. He was related to the Lalakeaʻs (Lalakea is the name of a shark). He died at his home on the Hilo side of Wai.a-ea Stream, near Honolii Gulch, Hilo. By the stream back of his house he once showed me the traces of the ancient road known as Ke Ala.nui Kapala. ʻalaea, traces of which may also be found in the district of Hamakua. He died in February 1922. He had some reputation as a kahuna hana aloha.” (Excerpt by Theodore Kelsey)
Kupuʻeu hou nā moku, ʻeu Haumea
Grow, stir, the islands stir again. Haumea stirs to the first strata above,
Nuʻu ʻakahi lawe pololei i nā moku a pau
She takes charge directly of all the islands,
Kupuʻeu honouli ka lani
They grow, stir and reaches toward the dark sky
Pahakea honua i lau poni nā moku
The earth brightens, the clouds darken,
Hawaiʻi Kuauli ola ka ʻāina
Over the islands of Hawaii of the dark back,
Hoʻomaha ka leo o ka wahine.
The woman silences her voice.
Kiʻekiʻe ka mauna haʻahaʻa ka honua.
The mountains are high, the lowlands are low.
E Haumea paʻi kā i ka lani
O Haumea, push up the heavens,
ʻOpiʻopi ka honua
Enfold the earth,
Ke kupuʻeu o nā moku ʻehiku.
O wonder worker of the seven islands.
Ka hiki kū ia o Hawaiʻi,
Come thou, stand on Hawaii,
Hōʻike mai i ke aloha nui puni ka ʻāina
Show forth your great love
ʻO Hawaiʻi o Keawe,
All over the land of Hawaii, island of Keawe,
Maui a Kama,
Maui, island of Kama,
Molokaʻi nui a Hina
Great Molokaʻi land of Hina,
Oʻahu o Kākuhihewa,
Oahu island of Kakuhihewa,
Kauaʻi o Manōkalanipō
Kauai of Manokalanipo,
Niʻihau ka palena o nā moku
Niʻihau the endmost island,
And Kaʻula land [of the shark god] Kuhaimoana,
Hōʻike i ka nani o ka ʻāina
Show forth the beauty of the land.
He palena Kaʻula no Hawaiʻi
Kaʻula stands at the boundary of the Hawaiian group
Nihoa kuhikuhi puʻuone
Nihoa is like the prophet that points out the best sites,
Mokumanamana ka palena o ka lā
Arise, sit up, hold fast and let Hawaii stand forever,
A laʻa, a noho, a paʻa,
Arise, sit up, hold fast
A mau loa Hawaiʻi
Let Hawaii stand forever,
ʻĀmama, ua noa a lele wale.
Amama; it is free. My prayer has flown.
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