Living Pauahi’s Legacy

Today thousands around the world celebrate the birth of aliʻi wahine, Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Pauahi was born to high chief Abner Pākī and high chiefess Laura Kōnia on December 19, 1831 in Honolulu, and was the great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great. Through the words of her will and with the help of her husband, Charles Reed Bishop, she founded the Kamehameha Schools. Kamehameha Schools alumni of DTL share with us the answer to these two questions of reflection:

  1. How has Pauahi’s legacy impacted who you are today?
  2. What is one core value that you have learned from Pauahi and/or Kamehameha Schools?

Malia ’97

  1. Pauahi’s legacy continues to challenge me to thrive for excellence in all I do. It has provided the educational foundation on which I stand as a scholar, writer and entrepreneur. On top of that it’s gifted my 12 lifelong best friends affectionately called the Pearls.
  2. Servant Leadership

Kirra ’01

  1. Pauahi’s legacy has impacted me both professionally and personally. Not only have had the privilege of working for the trust for six years at Kawaiaha‘o Plaza, but some of the relationships I have formed there continue to create lasting benefit for the lāhui. Personally, I’ve been blessed with a handful of besties who I met in intermediate.
  2. Pauahi was trustworthy and compassionate who led by action. Those values continue to inspire me today.

Kirra and her fellow KS alumni besties.

Lehua ’99

  1. Pauahi has given me a sense of belonging- A connection to her ‘āina and the campus I grew up on, the vast network of kanaka who share this common kupuna, and maybe closest to my heart, the brothers and sisters I would have never had without KS boarding.
  2. Aloha. Pauahi’s legacy is built upon the aloha she had for others and that others had for her. Seeing how that intention can endure through times of confusion and darkness is an inspiring reminder of how powerful aloha truly is.

Angela ’99

  1. Pauahi’s legacy has created a firm foundation for me as a kanaka and allowed me the opportunity to understand my culture and where I come from. It also guides me as I strive for the best in all that I do. It has also gifted me with my closest lifelong friend.
  2. Pauahi and KS have instilled me with the value of resilience and being able to bounce back during adversity and challenging times.

Kaiani ’15

  1. Pauahi’s legacy has shaped my identity as a Native Hawaiian, and this has allowed me to understand the commitment of kuleana I must make to our lāhui. She carried a mindset that focused on what was best for others, what would be best for generations to come, and fiercely committed to what she could do to achieve those things. Her example of both compassion and perseverance continually resonates with me today.
  2. Pauahi embodied compassion, empathy, and endurance through life, and those are qualities I wish to embody as well.

Kaiani leading her class on Maui at their 2015 Baccalaureate service.


These 5 wahine are just a small fraction of the thousands of alumni of Kamehameha Schools over decades that have been impacted by Pauahi’s legacy. It is safe to say that her dream of seeing Native Hawaiians thrive has long come true.

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