[Photo: Waiheʻe Valley, Maui. Photographed by J.F. Rock. SP_215214.]

A Puʻuhānau Wau

Contributed to the collection by J.P Hale, today’s featured mele originates from the Island of Maui and employs the ʻAlae bird as a metaphor to describe people who spread scandalous tales.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

A Puʻuhānau wau, aha   I was at Puʻuhānau, tra la

Ua hānau Maui i Waiheʻe   Where Maui was born in Waiheʻe

Ahe ana kahi makani   When a gentle breeze arose

He makani Kiliʻoʻopu, aha   It was a Kiliʻoʻopu breeze, tra la

Kolonahe la i ka nahele   That sneaked along to the forest

Ka nahele laʻi o ʻAlae, aha   The quiet forest of ʻAlae, tra la

He ʻalae kani ao ʻoe, [aha]   You are a coot that cries by day, tra la

A pō kau i ka haka   And perches on a roost at night

A ao keʻukeʻu mai, [aha]   During the day you cry harshly, tra la

A ʻo ka ʻAlae-a-Hina   Your coots belonging to Hina

Ke kani ala i ka lewa, [aha]   You cry out in the sky, tra la

Ua lele akula i kai   As you fly toward the sea

I ke kanikani kau hale, [aha]   To cry over the housetops, tra la

Ke ʻeli ala i ke one   You dig into the sand

I ka hale o ka ʻōhiki, [aha]   The home of the Sandcrabs, tra la

Hiki mai ʻo kani ka ʻula   When the echo comes this way

Lohe au piʻi ka manene, [aha]   I hear it and shudder, tra la

He manene i ka hilahila   I shudder with shame

Ua hana hilahila ʻole ʻoe   At your shameless deeds

Haʻina mai ka puana, [aha]   This is the end for my chant, tra la

No ka ʻAlae-a-Hina   For Hina’s coots

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 2.1a , Pg. 42-46]

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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