[Photo: View of Lahaina waterfront; Lahaina, Maui, Hawaiʻi. ca. 1930.; SP 120999.]

Aia i Waiehu Pua Loke Lani

Happy Mele Monday!

Today’s featured mele dates back to 1884 and is performed as a hula pūʻili. Composed during his time on Maui, J.P. Hale draws poetic inspiration from his surrounding environment as he alludes to expressions of lost love and loneliness.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Aia i Waiehu pua loke lani,
In Waiehu is a heavenly rose

Ka ʻiʻini pau ʻole o ka makemake.
Which is my endless desire,

Ka mea i ʻeha i kuʻu piko koni
The one who hurt my throbbing navel

Nāna i hōʻoni piʻi ke aloha.
And stirred up love within me.

He aloha ka makani Kiliʻoʻopu,
Love to the Kiliʻoʻopu wind,

I ke kaulana mai nō Waiheʻe.
Famous as being the wind of Waiheʻe.

Eia hoʻi au, e ke aloha,
Here am I, O beloved,

ʻAʻole koʻolua pili ʻaoʻao.
I have no other love here.

ʻO ka liko nō ʻoe i kaʻu ʻike,
You are the best of all I know,

Maoli hua pala o Waiehu.
The ripe maoli (banana) of Waiehu.

Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana
This is the end of my praise

Maoli hua pala o Waiehu.
For the ripe maoli of Waiehu.

[Call number: MS SC Roberts 2.2a, Pg. 133-135b]

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.

4 Responses

  1. Mahalo i kēia mele! Is there video footage perhaps of the hula pūʻili being danced to this mele? or at least is there a recording of the song’s melody at the Bishop Museum?

    1. Aloha P.H., and mahalo for your reaching out. Unfortunately, we don’t have video footage of this at the Museum — that would have been really nice to include! Please check in for more Mele Monday posts!

  2. Aloha! Do you folks have any more information on John Puha Hale? His is my 3rd great grandfather. Please email me if so! Mahalo nui!!

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