Legacy of a Princess
Kamehameha Schools’ mission is to fulfill Pauahi’s desire to create educational opportunities in perpetuity to improve the capability and well-being of people of Hawaiian ancestry. Read more »
Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was a woman of intelligence, compassion and foresight who understood that her kuleana as a Hawaiian aliʻi was to serve her people. Pauahi was reared with strong Hawaiian values and a bicultural education. She was an excellent student, gifted in music, and known for her generosity and kindness.
At 18, Pauahi married Charles Reed Bishop, a young American businessman who had made his way to the Kingdom of Hawai‘i from Glens Falls, New York. Charles became a pillar in the kingdom government and was a successful businessman, banker and philanthropist. He and Pauahi enjoyed traveling the world with particular fondness for museums and art. With no children of their own, they shared a deep commitment for the well-being and education of kamaliʻi — young ones.
As the last royal descendant of the Kamehameha line, Pauahi inherited thousands of acres of land, much of it from the estate of her cousin Princess Ruth Ke‘elik?lani. Her inheritance, about nine percent of the island chain’s total acreage, made Pauahi the largest landholder in the kingdom.
When Pauahi was born, the Native Hawaiian population numbered about 124,000. When she wrote her will in 1883, only 44,000 Hawaiians remained. Pauahi witnessed the rapid decline of the Hawaiian population. With that decline came a loss of Hawaiian language, culture and traditions. She believed education would offer her people hope and a future, so she left her estate—about nine percent of the total acreage of the Hawaiian kingdom—to found Kamehameha Schools. Read more »