Contributor- Mrs. Kailianu Iakopa. A mele olioli more old than she, which is 62 years. Lihue.
“An old mele. [Through] this mele is how we know that the ʻōʻō birds of this island used to go to Pearl Harbor to feed. In the molting season. It must have been quite a forest in the old days. Now all gone.” – Lahilahi Webb
(Translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)
Kahu ka ʻena i ka imu kaikoʻo,
Roaring like a burning imu is the raging sea,
Hana uahi loa,
Sending up a cloud of mist,
Mai Kaʻena nō a Waialua,
From Kaʻena to Waialua,
ʻAʻole i pilia ka lae o Kahuku,
Leaving the point of Kahuku untouched,
Ka aukuku nalu kai a ke Koʻolau,
I Waialua nō ka pō ʻana,
As night descends on Waialua,
He leo kā kō kaha kai o ʻEwa e hoʻolono,
The voices are heard at the sea shore of Ewa,
ʻŌʻū leo leʻa ka manu o Kaupeʻa,
The birds of Kaupeʻa singing gaily,
Ka ʻōʻō manu leo leʻa o Puʻuloa,
The pleasing voiced ʻōʻō bird at Puʻuloa,
E hoʻonaele ana i ka pua o ka wiliwili.
That dip their beaks into the blossoms of the wiliwili.
Inu i hola ka manu, ʻona, kunewa,
The birds sip until they stagger, satisfied,
Kākaʻa lelehu ka maka i ka wai o Kaiona ē,
Their eyes stray sleepily toward the water of Kaiona,
I aha ia lā ke kai o Waimalu,
What has happened to the sea of Waimalu,
I kāpala kūhinu ʻia e ka makani.
For it is smeared and daubed by the wind.
I hopua e ka ʻea nono ka lāʻau,
The colors are picked up to tint the trees,
Awea ʻula i luna o ka piko o ka lau kalo.
Red streaks lie over the center of the taro leaves.
ʻUla loa hā i ke kai o Kuloloia.
Much reddened by the sea of Kuloloia.
E kaʻeo e ea mai ana kā ʻoe iaʻu,
So you become offended with me,
Me he hana kaulaʻi lā i ka moe,
As something put out to dry in a dream,
I pā ʻia mai e kekahi kanaka.
And handled by another man.
He āiwaiwa ʻoi ala i ka mahuʻi i kālana ē.
He is a wonder at guessing what one’s character is like.
[MS SC ROBERTS 2.6 p. 134b-136a]
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