[Photo: Mrs. Kamaka Stillman wearing a maile lei and an ʻilima head lei, ca. 1900-1910; Photo by Alonzo Gartley. SP 90740.]

Kui nā ʻāpiki lei o Makaiwa

Happy Mele Monday!

According to Mary Kawena Pukui, ʻāpiki is another name for the ʻilima flower used in lei making. While some folks abstained from wearing this lei as it was said to attract mischievous spirits, others chose to wear it and considered it to be lucky.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Kui nā ʻāpiki lei o Makaiwa
String the ʻilima leis of Makaiwa

Hoʻomoe nā kapa hau o Puna.
Spread out the blankets of dew in Puna.

Alualu nā keiki o puʻu o Malama
The youths of the hill of Malama

ʻO nakanaka i ka laʻi o Makaiwa ē.
Follow persistently after the calm of Makaiwa.

He ʻīloli aloha, ke hiwi ala ke kino ē.
It must be love, for the bodies are losing weight.

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 2.7, pg. 116-117b]

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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