[Photo: Young girl demonstrating Hawaiian string figures; Hawaiʻi; SP 103509.]

Wa‘ewa‘e

Happy Mele Monday!

Today we feature a mele hei, or string figure chant, contributed to the collection by J.P. Hale.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Wa‘ewa‘e —-  O Wa‘ewa‘e,

Hō mai ka i‘a   Give me fish

‘A‘ohe i‘a   I have no fish

Kā wale nō  Only a bail

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 4.2 , Pg. 85, 86.s]

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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