Mai Kahiki ka wahine ʻo Pele,
From Kahiki came the woman, Pele,
Mai ka ʻāina o Polapola,
From the land of Polapola,
Mai ka pūnohu a Kāne,
From the ascending smoke cloud of Kāne,
Mai ke ao lalapa i ka lani,
From the bright colored clouds in the sky,
Mai ka ʻōpua lā i Kahiki
From the clustering clouds in Kahiki,
Ua puka i Hawaiʻi ka wahine ʻo Pele.
Came to Hawaii the woman Pele.
Kālai ka waʻa ʻo Honuaiākea
Hewn was the canoe, Honuaiākea,
ʻO ka waʻa o Kamohoaliʻi,
The canoe of Kamohoaliʻi,
Hoa mai ka moku a paʻa
The parts attached and completed,
Ua ʻoki ka waʻa o ke akua
The canoe of the goddess was ready,
Ka waʻa o Ka-laʻi-Honua-mea,
The canoe hewn from the voyage of Honua-mea,
Holo mai ke au ʻaʻeʻaʻe Pele
It moved with the current with Pele onboard,
ʻAʻeʻaʻe ka lani ʻai puni ka moku,
Pele the royal ruler of lands,
ʻAʻeʻaʻe kini o ke akua
Accompanied by a multitude of gods.
Iā wai ka uli ka hope o ka waʻa?
Who steered the canoe?
It was Kamohoaliʻi,
It was Ehuamenehune
Kā ia liu o ka waʻa
Who used the bail on the canoe.
Hoʻohoa kai hoe o luna
The paddles on board were wielded
ʻO Kū mā lāua ʻo Lono
By Kū and Lono,
Holo i ka honua ʻāina moku.
As they sailed in search of land.
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