[Photo: Kapoho Eruption, 1960. Puna, Hawaiʻi. SP_213094.]

“Singer- Kailihiwa Kuehu, Puʻuanahulu, N. Kona, Hawaiʻi. Mele olioli no Hiʻiaka. Kailihiwa heard this mele when Ruth Keʻelikōlani was living. His grandfather taught it to him and said that Kaʻolulo was the composer.”

(Translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Nani Puna i ke akua wahine,

Puna is beautiful because it is the home of the goddess,

Huali ka papa o Kīlauea,

Bright is the floor of Kīlauea,

I ka noʻeau a ka wahine,

Brightened by the skill of the woman.

Hiu ka manu o ka uka,

The birds of the upland flee,

I ka hana a ka wahine,

When the woman begins her activities.

Wahine aloha ʻia noho i ka paia ʻala o Puna,

The beloved woman who dwells in the fragrant groves of Puna,

Lama i ke ahi a ka ua Kanilehua,

Keeps her fire aglow in the Kanilehua rain.

He aloha no nā aliʻi o Kīlauea.

This is a chant of affection for the chiefs of Kīlauea.

[MS SC Roberts 2.3a, Pg. 82-83a]

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