Contributor- P.K. Kuhi, Kalihi Kai, Kauaʻi. Mele inoa no Kalākaua.

Photo: Hula dancers on ʻIolani Palace grounds at King Kalākaua’s Jubilee celebration; Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. SP_102289.

(Translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Lamalama i Makapuʻu ke ahi o Hilo,

Brightly shining toward Makapuʻu are the lights of Hilo,

Hanohano molale ke ahi ʻo Kawaihoa.

Clear and shining the light is seen at Kawaihoa.

ʻOwā ka ʻōniʻo ʻula ke kāoʻo ahi i Waiʻalae,

The red flames flicker in the procession of the lights of Waiʻalae,

Hoʻohuelo i luna ke ahi o Lēʻahi,

The light of Lēʻahi sends a beam above,

Hoʻonohonoho i muliwaʻa ke ahi o Kaluahole,

In proper order at the sterns of canoes are the lights of Kaluahole,

Me he maka ihu waʻa ala nā ahi o Kālia,

Like mysterious lights are the lights of Kalia,

Ua laina like ea nā puʻu ahi o Kakaʻako,

In even rows are the many lights of Kakaʻako,

Me he pāpahi lei nani ala nā ahi o Kawaiahaʻo.

Like beautiful leis, the lights of Kawaiahaʻo.

Ō mai ke liʻi nona ia inoa,

Answer, O chief whose name chant this is,

ʻO Kalākaua paha kou inoa.

Answer to your praise, O Kalākaua.

[MS SC Roberts 3.9, Pg. 166]

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