Contributor- Kamehaitu Helela. Hanapēpē Valley, Kauaʻi.

Kamehaitu Helela. Hanapēpē Valley, Kauaʻi. A Niʻihau native. SP 96954

(Translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Wela Kahiki ē, wela Kahiki,

Glowing is Kahiki, glowing is Kahiki,

Wela akula Kahiki.

Glowing indeed is Kahiki.

Ua kauluwela ka moku,

The whole island is ablaze,

Wela kaulu ʻo Hawaiʻi.

Scorched is the land of Hawaiʻi.

Kākala wela akula Kahiki a Olopana,

Burning red is Kahiki, homeland of Olopana,

Kaʻu wahi kanaka.

That man of mine.

Ka hei o Hanakaulani o ke ahi kapu a ke liʻi,

The oracle of Hanakaulani and the sacred fire of the chief,

ʻO ka hoʻomamao lani kapu o Keawe,

These are the highest signs of Keawe’s rank,

ʻO Keawe ke liʻi holo a hoʻoiʻe* i kai,

The bird of Kaʻula is a tasty dish ,

Kūlia e kama i ke aʻa o ka homalihia*,

He reaches out and holds fast to the task he loves,

I ka mole ke au o ka ʻāina.

He holds together the base of the land.

A hulihia o ke alo o kona moku a i luna,

He causes his island to turn with face upward,

Hoʻohei ai ka ʻupena hālua nui.

And holds it in place with a large-meshed net.

Ke liʻi i makana ai

He is a chief who is gifted with strength

He kō a he au kanaiʻi ia.

To ply where the currents pull hard.

Kūmū ka iʻa e mōhai ai i ka moku.

He offers a kūmū fish to the gods for the welfare of his land.

*origin of word unknown

[MS SC Roberts 2.9, Pg. 3b-4]

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