[Photo: Solomono Huihui, ca. 1923; Lunalilo Home, Honolulu, Oʻahu. SP 115402.]

Nani Nuʻuanu i ka ua pehi lehua a ka Puʻulena

Happy Mele Monday!

Today’s mele was composed by a man named Penimana and contributed to the collection by Solomono Huihui of Honolulu. A resident of Lunalilo Home, Solomono was one of nine kūpuna who met with Helen Roberts at the facility to share their knowledge of mele and oli. A total of twenty compositions were contributed by him.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Nani Nuʻuanu i ka ua pehi lehua a ka Puʻulena,
Beautiful Nuʻuanu, with the cold, wind-blown rain that pelts the lehua,

I hoʻonaue i ke oho o ke kāwelu o Lanihuli.
That sway the leaves of the kāwelu grass to and fro.

E huli mai ʻoe, ē ke aloha, i ka makemake,
Turn, O beloved, to the desired one,

E naue iki aʻe au a hoʻi mai,
Let me go for a little while and return again,

Aia koʻu makemake ke wā maila i ka nahele o Wahiawā,
My desire is yonder in the forest of Wahiawā,

Wā loko i kahakuʻi a kuʻu manaʻo,
A tumultous stir starts within my mind,

E ake nō au e ʻike iā ia, a iā ʻoe nō.
I become eager to see him and you, too.

Ka haliʻa aloha o kuʻu hoa i ka pali o Kaunā,
A yearning comes for my mate at the cliff of Kaunā,

He unu aloha iā ʻoe e makalahia,
A longing for you that keeps me awake,

Ka ipo hoʻoheno i ka maka he ʻau.
My beloved one to whom my eyes stray.

He ao ʻōpua i hiki mai i oʻu nei.
Like a spreading cloud, love comes to me.

 

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 2.8, pg. 50b-52a]

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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