Enjoy a free Afternoon at Hulihe‘e Palace from 4-5 p.m. on Sunday to remember Princess Bernice Pauahi. Presenting hula and serenade by the Merrie Monarchs, the event is part of a year-long series that honors Hawaii’s monarchs and historical figures; donations are appreciated. Kindly bring a beach mat or chair, as seating won’t be provided.
Princess Bernice Pauahi is most well known as the benefactress of Kamehameha Schools. A great-granddaughter of Kamehameha I, she came of age during the Victorian Era. She was well liked and very private. When her cousin, Kamehameha V, chose her as his successor in 1872, she declined. Her refusal ended the Kamehameha Dynasty. During her lifetime, the princess witnessed the physical and social decline of Hawaiians. Some foreigners brought disease — the native population dwindled from 400,000 in 1778 to fewer than 45,000 a century later — and controlled most commerce. Missionaries introduced a new value system.
“Distressed by the plight of her people, Princess Pauahi created a will in 1883 as an instrument of change,” said Casey Ballao, Hulihe‘e Palace docent coordinator. “She believed education could be the answer to help her people.”
The document established a charitable land trust overseen by trustees to improve the well-being of Hawaiians. It operates as Kamehameha Schools today, one of the largest, private trusts in the nation.
“The will was the princess’s way to malama ka ‘aina—practice the ethical, prudent and culturally appropriate stewardship of land and resources,” adds Ballao. Pauahi married Charles Reed Bishop in 1850. She and Bishop shared a love for traveling, teaching and entertaining and the couple became astute property managers.
When her favorite cousin, Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani died, Pauahi received her entire estate (including Hulihe‘e Palace) and this inheritance comprised the major portion of Pauahi’s landholdings. The princess died a year later in 1884. To honor his wife, Charles founded the Bishop Museum in 1889 to house the royal family heirlooms and her extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts.
For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org.