“The Hui Hoʻolulu a Ho‘ola Lahui of Kalākaua I was organized at Kawaiahaʻo, Her Royal Highness Princess Kapili Likelike being President. … A large number of members joined the Society on this day, some 51. The amount of money collected was $17.00, the dues being ten cents per month.” (Report of the Executive Committee, February 19, 1874)
“His Majesty Kalākaua designed and established an organization for benevolent work amongst his people; it was called the Ho‘oululahui. The first meeting of the society having been appointed at Kawaiahaʻo Church, there was a good attendance of the first ladies of the city, not only those of Hawaiian families, but also of foreign birth.”
“It was my brother’s intention that the society should have as its head Her Majesty Kapiʻolani, his queen … Like many other enterprises of charity, the original intentions of the founders have been improved upon; and the society is merged in other good works, or its purposes diverted to slightly different ends. The organization is now consolidated in the Maternity Home …” (Liliʻuokalani)
Attending Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration, 1887, in London, Kapiʻolani made many visits to hospitals and foundling homes and returned to Hawaiʻi with much enthusiasm and exciting plans for her hospital. She wanted to establish a hospital for underprivileged Hawaiian women to have the best care for mothers and babies.
“The Kapiʻolani Maternity Home, corner of Beretania and Makiki Sts, was opened to the public on Saturday afternoon (June 14, 1890) their Majesties the King and Queen drove up to the home punctually at 3 o’clock”.
“Quite a large number of ladies were out to inspect the Home, the lady board of managers taking particular pains to shew them round. It is to be hoped that this beautiful new home will be largely availed of by Hawaiians.”
“There are five bedrooms, one furnished by Mrs TR Foster, one each by the Widemann and Robinson families, one by Mrs Canavarro and Mrs JI Dowsett, and one by Mrs S Parker, Mrs TW Everett and Mrs EP Low.”
“They all looked cosy and neat. In the dining room are hung pictures of the King and Queen. There is also a matron’s room and a kitchen with range. Mrs. Johnson has been placed in the home as matron.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, June 16, 1890)
“The Ho‘oulu and Ho‘ola Lahui Society, that instituted the Home and appointed a Board of Managers for it, has acquired an endowment fund of $8,000, only the interest of which is available for the Home.”
“Her Majesty gives the house free for the first year, which will expire in four and a half months from date. Dr. Trousseau’s generous tender of free professional services was also for the first year.” (Daily Bulletin, January 22, 1891)
It started in the former residence of Princess Kekaulike, then moved into an adjacent building (former home of August Dreier,) a more spacious 2-story structure. Services included child birthing, as well as simple neo-natal and maternal care. If complications arose, physicians from Queen’s would assist.
“The Home was unique in many regards. First, it represented one prong of the Kalākaua’s’ attempt to deal with the declining population of the native Hawaiians in the kingdom.”
“Second, the Home was established and dominated in its early management by women, And third, in comparison to the other crown-based health entities (Queen’s Hospital, Lunalilo Home and Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center,) the Kapiʻolani Home was least endowed by the mechanism of royal philanthropy.” (Kamakahi)
Fundraising was on going … “The charity luau given on Saturday under the direction of Queen Dowager Kapiʻolani, for the benefit of the Kapiʻolani Maternity Home was an unqualified success in every particular.”
“During the day the ice cream booth was also a small mint, as no young man who possessed fifty cents was allowed to depart without first spending it. … The coffee stand was … assisted by a bevy of young ladies. They all did their share towards the substantial result of the day. … The luau reflects great credit on everybody concerned, and should return a handsome sum for the Kapiʻolani Home. (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, March 7, 1892)
Luau fundraising continued as the facility was expanded, “The trustees of the Kapiʻolani Maternity Home have found it necessary to build an additional wing to the main building to meet the pressing demands and it is intended to hold a luau and fair on the grounds of the Home in the early part of the month of October coming for the purpose of raising additional fund to the already existing building fund of $4,500.” The Independent, August 26, 1903)
By the early-1920s, the Home’s sights were set on the creation of a medical facility with physicians on staff. Rather than compete with other medical institutions (Queen’s, Kuakini, Tripler, St Francis, etc,) in general care, it moved its location, again, and from Home to Hospital status, and changed its name to Kapiʻolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in 1931. (Kamakahi)
Across town, Albert and Emma Wilcox purchased land and built a hospital; in 1909, the Kauikeōlani Children’s Hospital opened on Kuakini Street and was named in Emma’s honor. (The deaths of five of her siblings at early ages greatly influenced Emma’s concern for the welfare of all native Hawaiians.)
In 1978, the Kapiʻolani Hospital and the Kauikeolani Children’s Hospital merged to become Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. (KMC)
Renovation and expansion began with construction of a new 17-floor parking structure that opened in 2013. A new five-story, 200,000 square-foot building is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2016. It will house an expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
The new building will also provide new space for the Rehabilitation Services Department and teaching space to train Hawaii’s future health care professionals in obstetrics and gynecology, pediatric and other specialty areas of care. It will include an auditorium and education and conference rooms. (KMC)