[Photo: Group of Hawaiian fishermen and children posed in front of outrigger canoes, ca. 1905; Puna, Hawaiʻi. Photo by H.R. Hanna. SP_103652]

ʻIke iā Hawaiʻi he ʻāina nui

Happy Mele Monday!

Contributed to the collection by Thomas E. Cooke of Hilo, todayʻs featured mele recalls significant places on Hawaiʻi island, namely in the Puna district.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

ʻIke iā Hawaiʻi he ʻāina nui,
Know Hawaiʻi, a great land,

ʻO ka moku nō ia i puka mai ai ka lā,
The islands where the sun rises,

ʻO ka poʻohiwi nō ia ma Kumukahi.
Its shoulder is Kumukahi.

ʻO ka welo kai Haʻehaʻe, i Makanoni,
The sun appears at Haʻehaʻe, at Makanoni,

Ke nānā lā i nā lehua o Maliʻo,
It gazes down on the lehua blossoms of Maliʻo,

Ua hoʻolipolipo wale i Kānehoa,
It causes the herbage to darken at Kānehoa,

I ke alanui ma uka o Kekuahaele– ā.
On the road to the upland of Kekuahaele.

A hele nō lā ʻoe me ke ahi
You depart with the fire (matches)

Noho wau me ka puhipuhi paka ʻole.
I remain unable to smoke tobacco.

Ua ʻike au ā.
This I know.

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 4.5, pg. 37, 40b-41]

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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