[Kiaaina; Hawaiʻi; Photo by Theodore Kelsey; SP 39805]

Ke Kumuhana o ke Ola o ke Kanaka

Happy Mele Monday!

“For the Hawaiian of the past, all times and every time were indeed occasions for prayer. ʻLong before the missionaries came, Hawaiians were haipule, religious.’ Says Mary Kawena Pukui. ‘Everything they did, they did with prayer.’” -Nānā I Ke Kumu: Look to the source Volume II, The Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center, 1972.

Contributed to the Roberts Collection by Theodore Kelsey (as obtained from Kiaaina), today’s featured composition is a prayer that petitions for health and wellness.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Ke pō o Kāne, Lono, Mauli, Muku
O [gods of] the nights of Kāne, Lono, Mauli, and Muku,

Kū loa, hā i luna; Kū lalo, piha ka honua
O Kū the tall, breathe upward; O Kū below, fill the earth

ʻAi ʻai, ʻai nānā
Eat [the proffered] food, eat and look about,

Kū i mua, i hope, huli pono, huli hewa
Stand in front and behind; seek right from wrong.

E Kū ē, nānā ‘ia mai ka pono o ka pulapula
O Kū, look well to the needs of your offspring,

Hā‘awi i ke aloha nui
Grant love in abundance

Ho‘okomo ‘ia ka pono, ka ‘i‘ini, ka makemake o ka pulapula
Grant righteousness, desire and those things which the offspring wishes for,

A mau, a mau i ke ao pau ‘ole ma ka honua nei
Forever and ever through the endless life here on earth.

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

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 4.2, Pg. 12]

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.

9 Responses

  1. Mahalo for this resource. Reading the pule helps me with the vocabulary words and how its meaning is interpreted and translated. I’m relearning olelo hawaii from 40 years ago. I shouldn’t have neglected my kuleana.

    1. Aloha e Alicia,

      Weʻre so happy to hear how this is helping you on your journey to relearning ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. Hindsight is always 20/20, but your determination to re-engage with this kuleana after many years is truly admirable. What topics are you most interested in? We love to tailor our weekly mele selection according to the interests of our audience. It would be a pleasure to support you in this way.

      Mahalo nui!

  2. This is a beautiful oli. Do you have an audio recoding? It would be so nice to hear it!

    1. Aloha e Sandy,

      We agree, and so appropriate during this time. Unfortunately, there are no audio recordings available for this particular mele. However, we do have other pule available with corresponding audio recordings and we will be featuring them in the coming weeks. We appreciate your engagement with us. Mahalo!

      1. So interesting to learn of the parallels between the two Kiaaina. Mahalo for this!

    1. Aloha e Nupepa Hawaii,

      104 years old, wow! “He says he has no serious ailments and from all appearances he is good for at least another decade.” Proof that age is truly just a number. Mahalo for adding another layer of enrichment!

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