[Photo: Nihoa Island from the air; Ca 1933. SP 86351.]

[Photo: 11th Photo Sec. B-2396. W. Lehua Island. From W. 500 Ft.; July 10, 1924. SP 215433.]


Today we feature a prayer contributed to the collection by Theodore Kelsey. Images of Nihoa and Lehua are beautifully illustrated through the composer’s use of poetic language.

Honouli ka makani Nihoa   Cloudy is the wind of Nihoa

Waialoha ka makani ka‘apuni Nihoa   The wind, Waialoha, blows around Nihoa

Nā makani o Ka‘ula wili ko‘olau   The wind of Ka‘ula blows wildly about

Ka makani Ka‘ulakahi   The wind from Ka‘ulakahi

Lele ka ‘iwa, mālie, kaiko‘o   The ‘iwa bird flies in the calm over the stormy sea

Kū wau e hele, e hele nō   I stand and go; aye, go

Makani ʻo Lehua   Windy is Lehua

Pa‘apa‘ina ai ka makani o Lehua   The wind of Lehua makes a sharp sound

Ho‘oheno ka ua nāulu, ka wai huna a ka pāo‘o   Pleasing is the Nāulu rain and the hidden water of the pāo‘o fish

Pa‘a ia ka mana‘o me ‘oe   Hold the thought fast to you

Ho‘olā‘au ka makemake me ‘oe Let insistent desire be with you

[Call Number: MS SC 4.2, Pg. 8]

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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