Contributor- Wahineikeouli Pa, Wet Cave, Hāʻena, Kauaʻi. Mele hula. Accompanied by the ʻulīʻulī.

[Photo: Hāʻena, Kauaʻi. SP_50653.]

Iā ʻoe ka uila i Pāʻieʻie,

To you, O electricity at Pāʻieʻie,

E ʻanapu hele nei nā kuahiwi,

Flashing about over the mountains,

Mālamalama ai nā kualono

Brightening the mountaintops

Ahuwale iā uka o Maunaloa.

And baring the upland of Maunaloa to view.

I laila māua i ʻike iho ai

It is there that we see

I ka piʻi pāʻumi a nā kī,

The keys go up by the tens,

Kiʻina noʻeau na ka wilikī,

The skillful handling of the engineer,

Mikioi ka lawena i ka ʻenekini.

That makes the engine work smoothly.

Kai nō ʻoe ua pau lehia.

I thought that you were overcome

I ke ana waipiʻi aʻo kauila.

By the rising of the electrical current.

ʻAlawa iho ʻoe i nā mīkini,

Take a glance at the machine,

Ka niniu poahi i waenakonu.

And see the revolving in the center.

ʻIke aku i ka lumi kani ka uea

You’ll see the room where the wire sizzles

I ka papa aniani noho e ke aka.

On the shiny board where objects are reflected.

Kīnohinohi ke ʻike aku,

You shall see the decorations.

Nāhana noʻeau a ka puakea.

The fine arts of the white man.

Ua ana pono ʻia nā hua helu.

All the numbers carefully gauged,

Nā kekele piha aʻo ka uila.

The full degrees of the electricity.

ʻIke aku i ke wai aʻo Makaweo,

You shall see the water of Makaweo

Kilihune i ke alo aʻo nā pali.

Fall in drops on the face of the cliff.

Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana,

This is the end of my chant,

Hoʻoheno ka uila o Pāʻieʻie

A love song for the electricity of Pāʻieʻie

[MS SC Roberts 5.4, Pg. p. 139b-141a]

[Audio: HAW 1.4a, Track 23]

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