[Photo: Wailuku River and Falls; Hawaii. SP_204774.]
“This was the call of Pili a Mo‘o, the smaller of the two mo‘o who kept the ʻtipsy plank of the Wailuku’ at the ford just above the falls of Pāhe‘ehe‘e and Kaluakanaka (‘Make Fall’) near the mouth of the river, and exacted toll for passing over. This mo‘o stayed under a big rock near the top of the bank just to the left of the old trail down to the river. Noho a Mo‘o, who kept the pass on the Hāmākua side and who was larger than his companion, lived in a cavern in the bank over which the falls drop, and to the left of them. Noho a Mo‘o had the same call as Pili a Mo‘o, except that he called for fish “Hō mai ana he i‘a.” The mo‘o were killed by Hi‘iaka. The ʻtipsy plank’ was kept in a little cave near the falls on the Hāmākua side, or in wet weather in a little cave up on the side of the bank a little farther up stream.”- Excerpt by Mrs. Porter, the oldest living kamaʻāina in Wailuku at the time.
Kāhulihuli ka papa o Wailuku,
Unstable is the bridge of Wailuku,
He ʻole ke kaha kūʻai ʻai.
The barter of food is a fraud.
Hō mai ana he ʻai.
Give us food.
[MS SC Roberts 4.2, Pg. 34]
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