Annually, our Kula Waena and Kula Haʻahaʻa host a Founder's Day service for Charles Reed Bishop, who was instrumental in adding the preparatory academy, which is our current middle and elementary schools.
This Friday, January 24, our KS Hawaiʻi Kula Waena and Kula Haʻahaʻa will join the broader Kamehameha Schools ‘ohana in celebrating the life and contributions of Charles Reed Bishop – husband of Ke Ali‘i Pauahi, and a driving force behind the creation of KS. The service will take place in Laʻamea Gym from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. This annual celebration coincides with Bishop's birthday on January 25.
Bishop believed in the transformative power of education and supported many other schools in shaping the future of education in Hawai’i. The schools included Punahou School, Mills Institute (now known as Mid–Pacific Institute), St. Andrew’s Priory, Sacred Hearts Academy, Makawao Female Seminary, and the Hilo Boys’ Boarding School.
Bishop was a statesman who served the Hawaiian Kingdom as foreign minister, president of the Board of Education, and chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee under four kings: Kamehameha IV, Kamehameha V, Lunalilo and Kalākaua. He was also a trusted advisor to Queen Lili‘uokalani.
He founded the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in 1889 as an enduring memorial to his wife to safekeep the mea makamae – treasured heirlooms – of the Kamehamehas. Bishop hoped the museum would serve as a facility extension for Kamehameha Schools to allow haumāna to use it as a classroom and draw pride from their cultural heritage.
After the passing of his beloved Pauahi in 1884, Bishop, as one of five trustees of her estate, set in motion the establishment of Kamehameha Schools. Because Pauahi’s estate was land rich, but cash poor, he contributed his own funds for the construction of the schools' first buildings on the open plains of Kaiwiʻula in Kapālama.
Here are some additional facts about Bishop in honor of his lā hānau:
More information about Charles Reed Bishop is available at the Charles Reed Bishop Trust website.
Charles Reed Bishop married Ke Ali‘i Bernice Pauahi in 1850. Through their 34 years of marriage and up until his death, he steadfastly advanced their shared vision of creating Kamehameha Schools. Bishop believed in the transformative power of education and supported many other schools, helping to shape the future of education in Hawai’i.
Bishop passed away in San Francisco on June 7, 1915 at the age of 93. His ashes were returned to Hawaiʻi and were placed in the vault of the Kamehamehas to be reunited with Pauahi for eternity. A stone monument was later placed next to the Kamehameha tomb to honor Bishop. It was inscribed: “Charles Reed Bishop… Builder of the State – Friend of Youth – Benefactor of Hawai‘i.”