Fundraiser Earns Baby Donkey a Name

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Seven-month-old Mele at Kona Coffee Living History Farm. Photo courtesy of Kona Historical Society.

Kona Historical Society’s (KHS) new baby donkey has a name: Mele.

The announcement came after a three-week voting contest calling for public votes on its website which also served as a fundraiser for the nonprofit’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook where Mele lives.

The name was selected by 640 voters, and was originally nominated by Cindy Wittemore, Ashley Chamberlina, Donna S. Starr and Jiraphon G. on KHS and the farm’s Facebook pages.


According to local kupuna and long-time coffee farmer, Miki Izu, many Kona coffee farmers named their female donkeys Mele. In Hawaiian, Mele refers to traditional chants, poems, and songs.

The voting contest served as a fundraiser for KHS, with each vote costing a dollar donation. Voters helped raise a total of $1,254 which will go towards the care and support of animals at Kona Coffee Living History Farm, as well as educational programs and other needs.

“We’re excited to name our new baby donkey Mele, which would have been a traditional name for a female donkey on an early 20th century Kona coffee farm. This traditional name fits perfectly with our commitment to preserve and share Kona’s stories,” said Farm Museum Manager and Kona Historical Society Assistant Program Director Gavin Miculka. “We’re also grateful for everyone who voted and donated. We look forward to using the money for Charlie and his new bestie Mele.”


Seven-month-old Mele arrived in late January at the farm as a companion to Charlie, the farm’s 30-year-old male donkey. KHS is training Mele as a companion to Charlie, and also to demonstrate some of the jobs that Kona Nightingales performed on coffee farms like hauling coffee and farm goods.

“Charlie and Mele have been getting along well,” said Assistant Farm Manager Joel Pearson. “We’ve noticed Mele is sweet and very smart. One of her favorite things to do is to chase the chickens out of the farm pasture.”

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