Singer- Samuela Akoni Mika. Waiākea Homesteads, Hilo, Hawaiʻi. Mele hula lāʻau. Learned from his parents on Kauaʻi.

Image caption: Looking N. from Kaʻali cliff, Island of Niʻihau. Lehua island in the distance. SP 59774

(Translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

He moku Kaʻula, Nihoa a me Niʻihau,

An island is Kaʻula, adjoining Niʻihau,

I ka ulu laʻi a ka wai hoa a Kāne.

In the calm rests the water produced by Kāne.

ʻO kaulana a ka lā i Halāliʻi,

The sun rests over Halāliʻi,

Hala ka lā kau ma ke kua o Lehua,

And in passing rests over the back of Lehua,

Kau ka mōlehulehu o ke ahiahi.

Then the dusk of eventide begins.

Moe ʻē nō Kauaʻi i luna ka lā ē,

Kauaʻi goes to sleep while the sun is yet up,

E ō ana nō ʻo Lehua i ke kai.

While Lehua is still visible in the sea.

[MS SC Roberts 5.4, pg. 77]

[Haw 1.4b, Track 4]

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