[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.