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The Kamehameha School is a privately owned school run as a charitable, educational trust. The land of the school was endowed by Her Royal Highness Princess Pauahi Bishop, who was the great-granddaughter and the last heir to King Kamehameha I’s line of descent. The princess had a vision of preserving the Hawaiian language and culture. Hence, she set up the school to retain the Hawaiian identity and promote Hawaiian culture. This essay is about the Kamehameha Schools and its historical significance.

Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was the last ruler of the kingdom of Hawaii. She was born on 19th December 1831 in the city of Honolulu to high chiefs Abner Paki and Laura Konia Paki. She was a descendant of King Kamehameha I; the warrior king who had forged the Hawaiian Islands under his rule in 1810, to create one kingdom. Intelligent, compassionate and having foresight, she believed that as Hawaiian ali’i, her kuleana was to serve her people and protect her culture and Hawaiian identity. Princess Pauahi had a bicultural education and strong Hawaiian values. She was an outstanding student, a gifted musician and a kind and generous person(About Us | Kamehameha Schools).

At the age of 18, Pauahi got married to Charles Reed Bishop; an American businessman who relocated from New York to the Kingdom of Hawai’i. Charles was a successful businessman, a banker and a philanthropist who became popular in the kingdom of Hawaii’s political spheres. He and the young princess loved to travel and visited museums and other displays of various art forms. The couple, being childless, devoted their time to providing education to the young people of Kamali’I descent.

Being the last of the Kamehameha line, Princess Pauahi inherited a large piece of land, which stretched to thousands of acres. Most of the property was inherited from the princess’s cousin; Princess Ruth Ke’elikolani. The size of the land constitutes 9 % of the Hawaiian Island chains total acreage, and it made the princess the largest landholder in the kingdom. At the time of Pauahi’s birth, the Native Hawaiians numbered around 124, 000. However, by the time she was old and on her deathbed this figure had fallen to a mere 44,000(INTRODUCTION: What Are Kamehameha School and Bishop Estate? A Brief History and Description of the School, How It Was Founded, What Its Purpose Is, and Recent Problems). Pauahi herself witnessed the sudden decline in her people’s population. She feared that the decline in population might result in a loss of Hawaiian language, culture, and traditions. She came up with the idea that educating the world would create a possibility for her people to survive in the future. She also thought that this is the only way to preserve her culture and language.

Before her death, she made a will, according to which she left 375,000 of her ancestral land to a trust that would use the property to impart education to the Hawaiian children. The trustees were instructed through the will to use the area and the remaining assets to educate people. In the present day, the endowment fund supports an educational system which caters to thousands of Hawaiian learners. The Kamehameha School is responsible for managing 365,000 acres of land on Hawaii Island. While the majority of the land is used to impart education, a small portion of the area given by Princess Pauahi’s property is in commercial use. Almost 358,000 acres of land is dedicated to conservation and agriculture. The trust supports different agricultural methods and technologies and protects natural resources that are vital for the Hawaiian culture. The trust even promotes a wide range of cultural education programs which are imparted through some volunteers from the community.


About Us | Kamehameha Schools. Accessed 7 Dec. 2017.

INTRODUCTION: What Are Kamehameha School and Bishop Estate? A Brief History and Description of the School, How It Was Founded, What Its Purpose Is, and Recent Problems. Accessed 7 Dec. 2017.



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