Welo Hou and the Helen H. Roberts Collection at the Bishop Museum, 2018.

It seems the Welo Hou blog has been up since November of 2017, with posts every Monday. If you are a mele person, or a history person, or are from Hawaii nei, you should check it out and start a dialogue! This is its opening post from last year [click anywhere below to link to the blog]:

Welo Hou: Building Connections to the Helen Roberts Mele Collection

 How has mele informed your understanding of a Hawaiian worldview?

As I ponder this question framed within the context of the above quote, my mind begins to churn with examples stemming from my own life and learning experiences. I recall my early childhood years in keiki hula class where I proudly chanted “Kūnihi ka mauna” while oblivious to the meaning of the words that were resonating from my mouth. Yet even in my naivety, I understood the function and purpose of that oli kahea. Though my mind was too young to comprehend the arbitrary words formed by my lips, I was fully aware that I had to be focused and present-minded in order to be granted permission into the hālau. This is a small example of how, even at 5 years old, mele/oli had already begun to shape my perspective to be one that reflects a Hawaiian way of thinking and behaving. “Kūnihi ka mauna” followed me into the academic arena where I eventually learned how to dissect the mele word for word, structure by structure, phrase by phrase, and sound by sound. I learned about the different places referenced in the mele and discovered the kaona behind words. I came to know the story by which the mele was inspired and I internalized the knowledge gained through the deconstruction and reconstruction of this mele. I share these thoughts with the hope that we can collectively become even more conscious of the way in which mele is able to shed light on aspects that are often considered obscure in research and Hawaiian knowledge acquisition.

                As we meet here weekly for Mele Monday, I invite you to ponder deeply on the pieces we will discuss from the Roberts’ Mele Collection over the next two years. The purpose of this blog is to cultivate a community of mele enthusiasts who would like to dialogue about the gems uncovered from within the mele we will explore over the coming weeks. Please feel free to ask questions, share manaʻo, and post comments that will contribute to the facilitation of thoughtful and respectful discourse.

                If you feel so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment expressing your thoughts on the quote and question posed above. 

E hea i ke kanaka e komo ma loko…..


February 12, 1883—The King’s Coronation, 2018.

Click the link below for the blog post I referred to in the Kapiolani mele post earlier today. Check out the Mary Kawena Pukui translation for the Mokumanu oki!

February 12, 1883—The King’s Coronation, 2018.

More on Kahuku connection to Waipahu, 1939.


Editor The Advertiser:

May I add a little to Lahilahi Webb’s story of Waipahu.

On Tuesday Miss Titcomb took Lahilahi Webb and me to interview Mrs. Kapeka Baker, one of the two remaining old timers of that locality. Continue reading

Clarice B. Taylor on Koihala, conclusion, 1949.


All About Hawaii

By Clarice B. Taylor


The ohia log, destined to be carved into a god for the heiau at Makanau, was partially raised up the temple walls with the assistance of the High Chief Ko’ihala.

The priests in charge of the work had persuaded Ko’ihala to exert his mana (spiritual power) by placing his hands upon the log as the men on the upper heiau wall pulled up on the lines attached to the log.


When the log had been raised to a distance just above the chief’s head, it seemed to be stalled again. The chief had stepped back to survey the work.

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The priest turned to Ko’ihala and urged him to  step under the log and press his hands up against it as the men pulled on the lines.

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Ko’ihala complied with the request.

At a signal from the priest, the men hauled the log up a foot or so and then let it drop on their chief. Continue reading

Clarice B. Taylor on Koihala, part VI, 1949.


All About Hawaii

By Clarice B. Taylor


There was an unusual stir and bustle among the men of the Kau district on the day they assembled to lift the great oohia log up over the walls of the new heiau at Makanau upon orders from their chief, Ko’ihala.

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This great log,  hauled with much labor and misery from the forest area on Mauna Loa, was to be carved into the image of Ko’ihala’s protecting god.

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The men assigned to the work were in a very jovial mood. It was the first day they had not grumbled since the early days of the heiau construction. Continue reading

Clarice B. Taylor on Koihala, part V, 1949.


All About Hawaii

By Clarice B. Taylor


From being a respected and beloved ruler, Koihala became the most hated when he forced his men to climb Mauna Loa and fetch a great ohia log for the heiau he was building at Makanau.

During the wretched trip up into the forests, the Kau men had eaten fern roots, starvation food ordinarily fed pigs and dogs.

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It was during this trip that the priests in charge took pity upon the Kau men doing this forced labor.

The priests had a foreboding that no good could come of the construction of a heiau under these unhappy circumstances. Continue reading

Clarice B. Taylor on Koihala, part IV, 1949.


All About Hawaii

By Clarice B. Taylor


The Hawaiian people who inhabited the Kau district on the Big Island were accustomed to a dry, hot climate.

The nature of the district led the men to seek their food in the ocean where there was a wealth of fine fish. For that reason, the Kau people loved their fresh fish.

When the high chief Koihala ordered the Kau men to construct the great heiau at Makanau, the men worked cheerfully as long as the food supplies lasted.

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They grumbled continuously while they fetched the little pebbles from Punaluu to pave the inner heiau courtyard. They endured this work, for they believed the end of the project was in sight. Continue reading