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History & culture

Mō‘aukala & mo‘omeheu

Our History

Kamehameha Schools was endowed by the will of Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop (1831-1884), the great-granddaughter and last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I. During her lifetime, Pauahi witnessed the rapid decline of the Hawaiian population. Despite the dire condition of her homeland and its people, the princess envisioned a brighter future for all Hawaiians. With the support of her husband Charles Reed Bishop, Ke Ali’i Pauahi articulated her vision in her last will and testament. She placed more than 375,000 acres of ancestral lands in a perpetual endowment with the intent of improving the capability and well-being of Native Hawaiian children through education. Today, her endowment supports an educational system that serves nearly 7,000 learners across three K-12 campuses and 30 preschool sites statewide.

In 1887, three years after her death, Ke Ali’i Pauahi’s vision became a reality with the opening of the Kamehameha School for Boys. Seven years later, the Kamehameha Schools for Girls was established. 

Today, the Kapālama campus, serving both day and boarding students, spans 600 acres overlooking central Honolulu with more than 70 buildings and seven miles of roadway. Buildings at the high school include the Midkiff Learning Center which houses print and media materials; Kapoukahi, a technology center supporting hands-on learning in the areas of automotive, electronic, computer-aided design, drafting, engineering, and robotics; the Keʻelikōlani Performing Arts Complex as well as extensive athletic and recreational facilities.

The Kapālama High School enrolls 1,800 students annually from grades 9 through 12. Roughly 330 students from grades 9-12, primarily from the neighbor islands, reside on campus as part of our boarding program.


Our Culture

Christian and Native Hawaiian cultural values and practices, as well as service learning, are integral to our programs both on campus and in the community. Our academic program culture prepares students for college, career and life by offering a diverse curriculum designed to nurture and cultivate haumāna to become global minded servant leaders and successful lifelong learners.


Kawaiaha‘o Plaza

567 South King St
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 523-6200

KS Hawai‘i

16-716 Volcano Rd
Kea‘au, HI 96749
(808) 982-0000

KS Kapālama

1887 Makuakāne St
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 842-8211

KS Maui

275 ‘A‘apueo Pkwy
Pukalani, HI 96768
(808) 572-3100