[Photo: Pīkoi; Tripping cord used as a weapon in battle. SP 30143.]

Mele Ku‘i Lua

Mele Ku‘i Lua Today’s featured composition is a mele kuʻi lua, or a chant for lua fighting.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Kō ke au i Hala‘ea … The current of Hala‘ea draws out

Pūnāwai Mānā … The spring of Mānā

Wai nānā a ke kupa ē … Is guarded by the native

Ka ‘īlio nāna lā … The dog bristling with wrath

Hae nanahu i ke kai ē … Barks and snaps at the sea

Ka pua o ke iliau … The iliau blossom

Ka ‘ōhai mahapepe … And the ‘ōhai mahapepe

Aia i Mauoa a kanaka loloa ē … Are in Mauoa where the tall men are

Hea Kawelohea lā … Kawelohea calls

No wai lā ke kapu ē? … “Whose kapu is this

Pua ‘ehu i ke kai … that makes the sea rough?”

No Kalani mālokuloku … It belongs to the chief most high

Aloha mai nei Hilo … Hilo sends its regards

Kahi o mākou … To some of us.

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 4.2 , Pg. 130a]

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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