Kamehameha Schools Christian Heritage


Nui ke aloha O Pauahi ke Akua, kona po'e Hawai'i
(Great was Pauahi’s love for God and the Hawaiian people, whom she served)

The Kamehameha Schools is an educational institution endowed through the Last Will and Testament of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.  Pauahi was a devout believer of Jesus Christ and a faithful and compassionate leader of her Hawaiian people.  Her life exemplified Christian and Hawaiian values.

When Pauahi was born, her father, Abner Paki planted a Tamarind tree in the yard, but placed Pauahi's 'iewe (afterbirth) in the ground first to supply nourishment to that tree.  This was located in the center of downtown Honolulu at the corner of King St. and Bishop St.  This is where the family home was located, and when the city wanted to build the road into downtown, they asked Mr. Bishop for part of his yard, and named the street after them-Bishop St.  Across the street is Tamarind Park (all the trees in the park) and across the street is First Hawaiian Bank, the bank that Charles Reed Bishop founded.

Pauahi attended the Royal School and loved music, painting, gardening, horseback riding, reading, history and was an excellent writer, too.  On Sundays they would attend Kawaiaha'o church, which eventually became the home church of Princess Pauahi.

Not only did she sing in the choir, she also led it for a while.  She was not only a student in the Sunday School, but she was a teacher as well.  There is a story that is told that one day a call came into the pastor to go and visit a man and has family.  The father was not doing so well.  When the pastor got to the house, Pauahi was already cooking a meal in the kitchen for the family.  She was a true servant of God.

The Will of Princess Pauahi is very important to the school.  It gives us our marching orders and gives us direction.  Pauahi actually named the school as printed in the Will, "to erect and maintain in the Hawaiian Islands two schools, each for boarding and day scholars, one for boys and one for girls, to be known as, and called the Kamehameha Schools."

There are two characteristics that Pauahi defined as important for the students.

  1.     to be good
  2.     to be industrious

"I desire my trustees to provide first and chiefly a good education in the common English branches, and also instruction in morals and in such useful knowledge as may tend to make good and industrious men and women; and I desire instruction in the higher branches to be subsidiary to the foregoing objects."

She directs that the adults whom would be giving that good moral character teaching should come from a Christian foundation.  She said, "I also direct that the teachers of said schools shall forever be persons of the Protestant religion, but I do not intend that the choice should be restricted to persons of any particular sect of Protestants."

  • The first headmaster of the Schools was an ordained minister, the Reverend William B. Oleson.
  • The first learning textbooks for the 37 boys that entered Kamehameha Schools on November 4, 1887 was the Bible.
  • In the early years, students marched to Kaumakapili to attend church services, Sunday School and Christian Endeavor activities.
  • Religious Education program/curriculum began with day one of our school life.