[Photo: Portrait of Mrs. Amoe Ululani Haalelea (1842-1904); Hawaiʻi. SP 39741]

[Photo: View of Kawaiahaʻo Church (with steeple) from Punchbowl Street; Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Ca. 1880. SP 96550] (Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Kū nō ka lino i Pi‘ikea,

The pride goes up to Pi‘ikea,

Ke kuhi kaena i ka lehua,

Proud and boastful of the lehua,

Kakaha ka maka o ka ‘ilima,

The eyes of the ‘ilima stray,

Ka noho aku a Hoakalei,

And settle on Hoakalei,

I lei mae ‘ole ke kīhele,

A fadeless lei is the kīele,

No ka ona o kēlā moku,

To the owner of that ship,

Ua ‘oki ‘oe i ka iki ‘oe,

Mind that you do not remain ignorant,

Ka pali ku‘i ē ka ‘iwa ku‘i,

Of the tall chief reached only by the ‘iwa bird,

Ma laila aku wau me Makana,

Let me be there with Makana,

Me ka pahapaha o Polihale,

With pahapaha seaweed of Polihale,

Eia ka hale e malu ai,

Here is the house to shelter him,

E noho pono ai ‘o Kalani,

The place where the chief is content,

[MS SC Roberts 4.2 , Pg. 127-128]

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