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‘I must own to one great disappointment’

“I was destined to grow up away from the house of my parents. Immediately after my birth I was wrapped in the finest soft tapa cloth, and taken to the house of another chief, by whom I was adopted. Konia, my foster-mother, was a granddaughter of Kamehameha I, and was married to Paki, also a high chief; their only daughter, Bernice Pauahi, afterwards Mrs. Charles R. Bishop, was therefore my foster-sister. … I knew no other father or mother than my foster-parents, no other sister than Bernice.” “The house she lived in, ‘Haleakala,’ “was completed in 1851, and occupied by Paki until 1855, when he died. … It was there that the years of my girlhood were passed, after school-days were over, and the pleasant company we often had in that house will never cease to give interest to the spot.”

Pauahi died October 16, 1884. “When the will of Mrs. Bernice Pauahi Bishop was read, in which she disposed of her own estate, I did not happen to be present … But nevertheless I must own to one great disappointment. The estate which had been so dear to us both in my childhood, the house built by my father, Paki, where I had lived as a girl which was connected with many happy memories of my early life, from whence I had been married to Governor Dominis, when he took me to Washington Place, I could not help feeling ought to have been left to me. … This wish of my heart was not gratified, and, at the present day strangers stroll through the grounds or lounge on the piazzas of that home once so dear to me. … Mrs. Bernice Pauahi Bishop left the estate to her husband, who turned the property over to the Kamehameha estates.”

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“King Riouriou (Liholiho) has four other wives (Kamāmalu, Kīnaʻu, Kekāuluohi and Pauahi) … and she of whom I speak, who weighed at least thirty stone, was the smallest. The others were rather shapeless masses of flesh than human figures. … On enquiring what kind of amusements they had, and how they passed their time, we were informed that they were occupied in keeping death at a distance; which must be admitted to be rather difficult, considering the ability of the physician whom I have described to you. Happy are those who can do without him! and still happier those who require no other!”

One of them “requested me in the most polite manner to teach her some of the tricks; I consented, and had the pleasure of seeing her practise some of them with great dexterity. This young lady is the sister of her husband. In her manners she has something childish, soft, and even simple; which is, however, in her not unbecoming. The presence of the King puts no restraint on the demonstrations of her affection, or on her tender caresses. … I would strongly recommend to strangers who go to Owhyhee, and wish to pass some agreeable moments there, to get acquainted with this interesting female. Her name is Kaou-Onoe (Kekauʻōnohi)”. (Arago; portions of Letter CXIII, August 1819)

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Ka Lāʻau Wī

“When Pauahi was born, her father, Abner Paki planted a Tamarind tree (Ka Lāʻau Wī) in the yard, but placed Pauahi’s ʻiewe (afterbirth) in the ground first to supply nourishment to that tree. This was located in the center of downtown Honolulu at (what is now) 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.” Today, on Bishop Street is Tamarind Park – a lone tamarind is there.

Born to Paki and Konia, “Bernice lived with Kīna‘u until she was eight years old, when she was sent to the Royal School. Paki and Konia were very desirous of retaining her as their own.” “After the death of Kīna‘u … At the urgent request of Konia and Paki, regular, official, and legal papers were made out, and, much to their satisfaction, the child was restored to them.” The tamarind tree grew to ‘noble proportions,’ but was finally cut down to make way for modern buildings.” (Krout) A remnant of the tree is in the Kamehameha Schools Bishop Memorial Chapel. Today is ‘Founder’s Day’, birthday (December 19, 1831) of Pauahi.

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Kawaiahaʻo Steeple

The Reverend Hiram Bingham prepared plans for a stone building of two stories with cellar, galleries, pillars in front, and a bell tower. The final dimensions were 144 feet long by 78 feet wide, large enough to accommodate thousands. “March 12th, 1839. Work on meeting house commenced. June 5th. Cornerstone of church laid.” “The high chief Abner Paki furnished the corner stone which was laid in 1839. It was hewn out of the reef at Waianae and floated to Honolulu on a raft, some say on canoes.” “Rev. R. Armstrong succeeded (Hiram Bingham) as Pastor of the church, and under him it was completed and dedicated July 21, 1842 (before the steeple and gallery had been completed.)”

In 1850, the town’s first clock, presented by the King, was installed in the Kawaiaha‘o tower, having come around the Horn from Boston. It cost $1,000.00 and commenced running January 10, 1851. The tower chock has continued in operation to this date. Kawaiaha‘o Church ordered an organ in 1867 to replace the melodion then in use. Music was under the leadership of Mrs Lydia Dominis (later Queen Lili‘uokalani) and Mrs Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Pauahi died on October 16, 1884. Her will (Clause 13) “provide first and chiefly a good education in the common English branches”. But Pauahi’s will also provided funds to Kawaiaha‘o Church – $5000 for repairs to Kawaiaha‘o Church. With those funds, they built up the tower with coral stone to give it the square tower (at its present height) and removed the pointed spire.

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On November 27, 1823, L’Aigle, an English whaling ship, took Kamehameha II (Liholiho), Kamāmalu and their entourage to England to gain firsthand experience in European ways. The king and his chiefs agreed that Liholiho needed a competent interpreter to travel with him and Frenchman John Rives went as interpreter.

Liholiho’s chosen party were Governor Boki and his wife, Liliha, Kapihe, Chief Kekuanaoa, steward Manuia, Naukana (Noukana), Kauluhaimalama, servant Na‘aiweuweu, and James Kanehoa Young. In London, Liholiho and Kamāmalu became ill; Kamāmalu (aged 22) died on July 8, 1824, Kamehameha II (age 27) died six days later, on July 14, 1824. The British Government dispatched HMS Blonde to return them back to Honolulu; they arrived on May 6, 1825.

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