Contributor- Kamehaitu Helela, Hanapēpē Valley, Kauaʻi.
(Translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)
Hānau ke liʻi Kaleleonālani,
The chiefess Kaleleonālani is born,
I ka lā ʻelua o Ianuali,
On the second day of January,
I ke one o Kakuhihewa,
On the homeland of Kakuhihewa,
Hoʻolulu ʻo Kalani.
The chiefess finds her place.
Kakaʻa ka hōnua,
The earth spins,
ʻŌlapa ka uila,
The lightning flashes,
Kuʻi ka hekili,
The thunder peals,
ʻAnapu ka lewa nuʻu,
The lightning darts in the heavens above,
Ke ōlaʻi kūhonua,
The earthquake shakes the earth,
Naueue ai nā moku,
Making the islands tremble,
Nākolokolo i ke one o Kāne,
The sands of Kāne reverberate,
Iho mai ka pōhaku aliʻi,
Down comes the royal sign of thunder,
Pūkuʻi aliʻi lālani aliʻi
For the council of chiefs, the rows of chiefs
Pōhaku hoʻokahi i loko o Keʻalohilani,
The lone peal of thunder from Keʻalohilani,
E noho ana i kapa kapu o Kahiki,
That is found within the kapu boundary of Kahiki,
E nānā ana i ka hānau o ke liʻi,
To watch over the birth of the chiefess,
E kiʻi ka holoi iā Poloahulani,
Fetch the water to wash her from Poloahulani,
ʻO ke omo ka nalu kai a Makaliʻi,
Let Makaliʻi suck clean the nasal passage,
Hīkiʻi ʻia iho ka piko ā paʻa,
Tie fast the umbilical cord,
A paʻa ka piko o keliʻi.
Till the cord of the chiefess is made fast.
Kani mai ka pahu o mua,
The drum is sounded in the drum house,
He pahu aha lā kēia e kani mai nei?
What is the reason for the sounding of the drums?
ʻO Emalani ua hānau lā,
Emalani is born,
Eō i kou inoa hānau ē.
O answer to your birth chant.
[MS SC Roberts 2.9, pg. 26-29]
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