Hauʻoli Lā Hānau e Ke Aliʻi Pauahi Bishop

Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop

Today and every December 19, we celebrate the life of our generous and life-changing Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who was born on this day in 1831. As the daughter of Abner Pākī and Laura Kōnia, Ke Aliʻi Pauahi gave everything she had for the future generations of kānaka maoli she so dearly loved. Pauahi founded the Kamehameha Schools in 1887 as a way to educate the rapidly decreasing population of Hawaiian children so that they might survive the effects of colonization and imperialism and become good and industrious members of society. She gave her entire land ownership, approximately 9% of the entire Hawaiian island chain, to the Bishop Estate in order to be bequeathed unto the creation of the school about which she spent so many years dreaming and planning. Although Pauahi had no children of her own, she is our honorary makuahine who has changed the lives of every student lucky enough to attend Kamehameha. I was given the privilege of spending almost nine years at the prestigious institution created primarily for kānaka maoli keiki where I discovered a passion for music, traveled across the globe for my involvement in the arts (New Zealand for elementary school choir and Washington D.C./Los Angeles/Maui for high school band), and met my very best friends who have become my chosen family. Pauahi provided me and thousands of other native Hawaiian children with an irreplaceable education that would not only prepare us for future education, but was also affordable and practical. Although I didn’t always have a great experience at school, my life would look entirely different had I not entered the Kapālama campus at nine years old. I can never mahalo Pauahi enough for making me the person I am today, but I can and will continue working toward becoming a good and industrious young woman so that I might make her proud.

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