Hāʻena-Wet Caves. Wahineikeouli. Kēia mele no Koʻolau. Koʻolau was a man at Hāʻena afflicted with leprosy who escaped from confinement. Wahineikeouli composed this mele about him perhaps 30 years ago.
(Mele translation provided by Mary Kawena Pukui)
He mele he inoa no Koʻolau,
This is a song of praise for Koʻolau,
No ke āiwaiwa noho kuahiwi.
For the wonderous dweller of the mountains.
ʻO ʻoe ka mea i weli ʻia
You are the person much dreaded
I kaulana ai Hawaiʻi nei.
Who brought fame to Hawaii.
Nāu i ʻōlali hoʻokahi mai
You went your way alone
Puʻuwai haokila me ka hopo ʻole.
With steely and fearless heart.
Pālua pākolu i ke kekona,
Twice or thrice in a second,
I ka haʻu o ka pū Kelemania
The German rifle belched forth.
He loaʻa lihi paha i ka pana pua,
He is almost the equal of an archer,
I ka lula pololei a ka Hawaiʻi.
This straight aiming [son of] Hawaii.
Na ʻoi nō ia i ka ʻike aku,
The greatest sight ever seen,
ʻAloʻalo pōkā a ka Pī Ki.
The dodging of bullets by the P.G.
Nā hana kaulana a kuʻu lei.
Of the wonderous deed of my child.
ʻO Wilikoki hoʻi ko Honolulu
Wilcox is Oahuʻs famous [son]
Keiki Koʻolau ko Kauaʻi
The youth Koʻolau is Kauaʻis.
Haʻina ka inoa o aʻu lei,
This ends my song of my children,
Piʻilani Koʻolau a e ō mai.
O answer me, Piʻilani Koʻolau.
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