Bernice Pauahi Bishop
Hawaiian princess and philanthropist
Bernice Pauahi Bishop
Bernice Pauahi Bishop, born Bernice Pauahi Pākī, was a Hawaiian princess, philanthropist, aliʻi, and direct descendant of the royal House of Kamehameha. She was the great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha I and last surviving heir. Her estate is the largest private landowner in the state of Hawaiʻi, comprising approximately 9% of Hawaii's total area.
Bernice Pauahi Bishop's personal information overview.
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  • 1884
    Age 52
    After Bishop's death in 1884, her husband Charles Reed Bishop started work in carrying out her will.
    More Details Hide Details The original Kamehameha School for Boys was established in 1887. The girls' school was established in 1894 on a nearby campus. By 1955, the schools moved to a 600-acre (2.4 km²) location in the heights above Kapālama. Some time later, Kamehameha Schools established two more campuses on outer-islands: Pukalani, Maui and the Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Campus in Keaau on the island of Hawaii. Charles Reed Bishop founded the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in 1889 as another memorial to Pauahi, on the grounds of the original boys school. Her will caused three major controversies. In 1992, a clause that all Kamehameha Schools teachers must be Protestant was challenged as illegal religious discrimination in employment by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a decision of the district court, and found that the school had not proved that it was "primarily religious", and thus this clause violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • 1872
    Age 40
    Pauahi was educated at the Royal School and was eligible to be a named heir. Prince Lot Kapuāiwa ruled as Kamehameha V and offered Pauahi the throne on his deathbed in 1872.
    More Details Hide Details But, taken aback, she replied, "No, no, not me; don't think of me. I don't need it." The king pressed on. But she again spurned the throne: "Oh, no, do not think of me. There are others." The king died an hour later. Pauahi's refusal to accept the crown allowed the Lunalilo to become the first elected monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
  • 1850
    Age 18
    It had been planned from childhood that Pauahi, born into Hawaiian royalty, would marry her hānai (adopted) brother Prince Lot Kapuāiwa. Pauahi married businessman Charles Reed Bishop May 4, 1850 despite the objections of her parents.
    More Details Hide Details Per her request, very few people attended her wedding. One of the few witnesses was Princess Elizabeth Kekaaniau, her cousin. The couple had no children of their own. They adopted a son named Keolaokalani Davis from Pauahi's cousin Ruth Keelikōlani in 1862, against the wish of Ruth's husband, but the infant died at the age of six months. In 1883, they offered to adopt William Kaiheekai Taylor (1882-1956), the infant son of Pauahi's distant cousin Lydia Keōmailani Crowningburg and Wray Taylor; they had been the boy's godparents during his christening at St. Andrews. The Taylors refused to give up their first-born son but instead offered to give one of their twin daughters to the Bishops, but they decided not to accept the second offer. The child, William Edward Bishop Kaiheekai Taylor was one of the first students at the Kamehameha's Preparatory Department and would later serve as the kahu (caretaker) of the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii at ʻMauna Ala from 1947 until his death in 1956.
  • 1838
    Age 6
    She was adopted at birth by Princess Kīnau (who took office in the position of Kuhina-Nui, styled as Kaahumanu II) however, when Kīnau gave birth to her daughter, Victoria Kamāmalu in 1838, Bernice was returned to her parents.
    More Details Hide Details Kīnau died of the mumps in 1839. Pauahi began attending the Chiefs' Children's School (later called the Royal School) that same year and remaining there until 1846. Her teachers were Mr. and Mrs. Cooke. Pauahi greatly enjoyed horseback riding and swimming, and she also liked music, flowers, and the outdoors. She dressed like any fashionable New York or London woman and wore the trappings of the Victorian Era.
  • 1831
    Pauahi was born in Honolulu on December 19, 1831 in Aikupika the grass hut compound of her father, Abner Kuhooheiheipahu Pākī (c. 1808-1855).
    More Details Hide Details Pākī was an alii (noble) from the island of Molokai, and son of Alii Kalani-hele-maiiluna, who descended from the ali nui (ruling monarchs) of the island of Maui. Her mother was Laura Kōnia (c 1808-1857), the younger daughter of Ke Alii Pauli Kaōleiokū (1767–1818), by his second wife, Ke Alii Kahailiopua Luahine. Kaōleiokū was the son of Kānekapōlei, wife of Kalaniʻōpuʻu and Kamehameha I, and Luahine was descended from Kalaimanokahoʻowaha who had greeted Captain Cook in 1778. Pauahi was named for her aunt, Queen Pauahi (c. 1804–1826), a widow of King Kamehameha II, and given the Christian name of Bernice. In a surviving mele hānau (birth chant) for Pauahi, the names Kalaninuiʻīamamao and Keaweikekahialiʻiokamoku are referenced and considered the main links to the Kamehamehas as Kalaninuiʻīamamao was the father of Kalaniʻōpuʻu and "stepfather" of Keōua, Kamehameha I's father while Keaweikekahialiʻiokamoku was the common ancestor of both men. Pauahi's birth chant does not mention Kamehameha I himself.
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