Contributor- Mrs. Maluo Keawe Nainoelua, Hilo, Hawaiʻi. Hula pūʻili. [Dance using split bamboo stick.] A mele inoa for Kamehameha V at Molokaʻi.

“The prince who was to become King Kamehameha V was born in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi on December 11, 1830. He was given the Christian name Lot and the Hawaiian name Kapuāiwa, which means ‘mysterious kapu’ or ‘the sacred one protected by supernatural powers.’ His full name was Lot Kapuāiwa Kalanimakua Aliʻiōlani Kalani Kapuapaikalaninui.”

(From Kamehameha V: Lot Kapuāiwa by Rosalin Comeau, published by Kamehameha Publishing, 1996.)

I aloha ʻia ʻo Kīlauea,

Beloved is the Kīlauea,

Lio kākele o ka moana.

The “horse” that travels the sea.

Holo ma mua, holo ma hope,

It goes forward and back,

Kau pono ka ihu i ka makani.

With prow facing the wind.

Haki nuʻa ka uahi i ke kai,

The smoke ripples out over the sea,

Nome aʻe ka huila ma lalo.

The wheels roll on below.

Hala e Ka Lae o Kalāʻau,

The ship passes Kalāʻau Point,

Pili mākou me Molokaʻi.

And brings us close to Molokaʻi.

Huli aku e ke alo Lahaina,

Kīlauea turns to face Lahaina,

He ukana ka Kīlauea.

With much freight on board.

Kū aʻela i Pālāʻau,

It weighs anchor at Pālāʻau,

Hoʻokahi ka pahuna ma lalo.

With one shove from below.

Kohu ʻāuna manu i ke one,

Like flocks of birds on the sand,

Kāholoholo i ke ālialia.

The people run about on the salt-covered earth.

E ʻole ʻo Kalani Mehameha,

If it were not for King Kamehameha,

Ola neʻia pūʻāhipa,

These sheep would not find sustenance,

Nā hipa a Kamaʻipuʻupaʻa,

The sheep of Kamaʻipuʻupaʻa,

Lālau i ka lau weuweu.

That wandered about eating herbage.

Haʻina ʻia mai ka puana.

This is the end of my song.

ʻO Kalani Mehameha he inoa.

For the king, Kamehameha.

[MS SC ROBERTS 5.3 p. 14b-15]

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