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[Photo: Sugar cane irrigation ditch; Hawai‘i. Photo by Elias Shura. SP 108819.]

E Ho‘okonākonā, e wehe, e kala

Happy Mele Monday!

Contributed to the collection by Theodore Kelsey, today’s featured mele is a pule kala hana aloha, or a prayer freeing an individual from love magic. According to Pukui, the laukona variety of sugar cane was used in sorcery to break the influence of hana aloha love magic and change love into contempt.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

E Ho‘okonākonā, e wehe, e kala,
O Ho‘okonākonā, undo release,

Kiola, ho‘ohelele‘i i ka mana‘o,
Cast off, scatter away from the mind,

Ho‘opalaka, ho‘opoina,
Make him neglectful, forgetful,

Ho‘opoina loa i ke aloha, ho‘owahāwahā loa,
Forget entirely to love, may he forever dispise instead,

Ho‘opau loa, makemake ‘ole, hemo ka li‘a.
Do away with the liking and the yearning.

‘Āmama, ua noa, lele wale aku lā.
‘Āmama, it is freed, my prayer has flown.

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 4.2, pg. 74]

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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