Kāua i ka Nani o Hilo
Happy Mele Monday!
In honor of King Kalākaua’s birthday celebrated on November 16, we feature a mele hula that was composed for him in the early 1880’s.
(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)
Kāua i ka nani o Hilo You and I, amidst Hilo’s charms
I ka ua loloku o Hanakahi In the pouring rain of Hanakahi
ʻAkahi nō koʻu manene It is the first time I’ve been so thrilled
I ka meʻeu hoʻi o koʻu oho Till I feel the “creeps” through my scalp
He ʻūlāleo paha na ka ʻIʻiwi Perhaps caused by the distant voice of an ‘Iʻiwi bird
Pūʻā maila i Haili That bursts into song at Haili
Ilihia i ka leo o ka mamo I am delightful by the voices of the mamo
Ke ʻikuā maila i ʻŌlaʻa That sing in chorus in ʻŌlaʻa
Ua laʻa ia pua i ʻaneʻi The flowers is toasted over here
Eia ma koʻu kīʻaha Here it is in my glass
Ua hoʻolawa ʻia e Liʻa Gathered together by Liʻa
E nā lehua i Panaʻewa Are the lehua of Panaʻewa
E kuhi ana nō paha ʻoe Perhaps you think
Hoʻokahi hālau i aʻo ai That art is taught in a single school
I like ai nā mea hana So that the working can be seen
ʻO ka puke hoʻonui ʻike In a book that increases knowledge
He makau hala ʻole kēia This is hook that doesn’t fail
Ua lou ʻia e ka iʻa nui It catches big fish
Ua ale ʻia kaʻu maunu My bait is swallowed
E moano nui i ka lehua By the big red moano
Ua paʻa i ka lina pāwalu It is caught on an eight ply line
I mali ʻia ke aho makaliʻi Its bait tied with a fine cord
E ō e Kalani kū kahi Answer, O one and only ruler
ʻO ka hiku kapu o nā lani The seventh of the kings
[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 2.5, Pg. 12b-16a]
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.