[Photo: Flying over Puʻuloa; Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. Ca .1933. SP 204100.]
A Waho Wau o Kalaeloa
Today’s mele was contributed to the collection by Peter Pakele of Hilo, Hawaiʻi. The composer of this piece mentions significant places, such as Puʻuloa, to illustrate the story behind this mele.
(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)
A waho wau o Kalaeloa … I was outside of Kalaeloa
ʻAu ana Puʻuloa i ke kai … And caught a glimpse of Puʻuloa in the sea
Huwila e niniu i ka makani … The wheel revolved in the wind
Kaʻa i ka pohu o Waiʻanae … And we arrived in the calm of Waiʻanae
ʻIke i ka nani o Kaʻala … We saw the beauty of Kaʻala
I ka mole ʻolu o ke kuahiwi … (And) the pleasant surroundings of the mountain
Ke kai loa o Kaʻieʻie … In the distant sea of Kaʻieʻie
Eia aʻe Kauaʻi o Mano … There appears Kauaʻi, isle of Mano
Iaʻu nō au lele iho … As soon as I disembarked
ʻAu ana Niʻihau ma mua … Niʻihau appeared before
Ma ka leta kuʻu ʻike ʻana iho … It was in a letter that I saw
I nā ʻōlelo nahenahe … Words of tenderness
Na ka Hae Hawaiʻi lawe aʻe … It was the Hae Hawaiʻi who brought it
A loaʻa aʻe au i ke anu … And found me in the cold
Kau aku ka liʻa i ka moana … My longing then turned seaward
Me ʻoe ka ʻiʻini pau ʻole … And my endless desire was for you
[Call number: MS SC Roberts 4.2, Pg. 34]
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.