Celebrating the love a mother feels for her child, we feature a mele composed by Mrs. Kawaimakaonaliʻi Haʻo written for her son Kealohilani.

[Photo: Kealohilani Haʻo; Kohanaiki, N. Kona, Hawaiʻi. SP_213097.]

Singer- Mrs. Kawaimakaonaliʻi Haʻo. Kalaoa, N. Kona, Hawaiʻi.

Mai Puna au i hele mai nei,

From Puna I came,

ʻO ka ua paka kahi, ʻo ka ua paka lua,

Where the rain falls in small drops, falls in big drops,

ʻO Kulu, ʻo Māhealani, ʻo hoa hele hoʻi o ke kai,

The moon phases Kulu and Mahealani, my companions on sea voyages,

Liko pōkiʻi o ke kai malino,

Like younger brothers on the calm sea,

Hō mai, hō mai, i ʻai na ke akua.

Give me, O give me food for the god.

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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