[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.

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