The Legacy of a princess

Kamehameha Schools was founded by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great.

Pauahi Legacy
Home Columns Caring for our ancestral lands
Caring for our ancestral lands
The Mālama ʻĀina and Wahi Kūpuna programs care for natural and cultural resources on KS lands from the rocky shores of Waioahukini (above) on Hawaiʻi island to the lush peaks of Lumahaʻi, Kauaʻi.
Kamehameha Schools embraces its kuleana in resource management practices such as helping to protect and preserve the Ahu a ʻUmi heiau on Hawaiʻi island. The heiau was built for ʻUmi-a-Liloa, who ruled the island of Hawaiʻi early in the 16th century.
Scholars are provided opportunities to learn essential archeological field methods and reporting techniques on KS lands such as these in Kohala, where the Kohala Field System was a traditional Hawaiian rain-fed agricultural complex located on the leeward slopes of the Kohala mountain on Hawaiʻi island.

I Hawaiʻi nō nā Hawaiʻi i ka ‘Āina
We are Hawaiian because of the land.  These lands have shaped us as a people.

Through the land lineage of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Kamehameha Schools has been endowed with the largest private landholding in Hawaiʻi, containing unique native ecosystems and important ancestral landscapes.

As a Hawaiian landowner and institution, KS has the kuleana to care for and enhance these ancestral lands. Through its committed leadership to steward our important natural and cultural resources, KS is developing unique opportunities to reconnect beneficiaries to these lands and to foster the next generation of resource managers.

This approach to create and implement management strategies that protect and maintain these important landscapes is implemented through the Mālama ‘Āina and Wahi Kūpuna programs of the Land Assets Division, Natural and Cultural Resources department.

The Mālama ‘Āina program protects and restores native habitats across 136,100 acres of KS lands.

In order to carry out and implement these plans, KS has established four key strategies:

  1. Hoʻolono: assess natural resources integrity and threats
  2. Hoʻomaʻemaʻe: manage priority threats to regeneration
  3. Hoʻōla: restore ecosystem integrity
  4. Hoʻoulu: integrate and enable sustainable use

These strategies help the Mālama ‘Āina program to implement informed management decisions, leverage key resources with other conservation groups and/or Hawaiian serving organizations, and allow beneficiaries to learn from and steward these important landscapes.

The Wahi Kūpuna program aims to identify and mālama cultural sites and resources located on KS lands, which also include iwi kūpuna.

This is evidenced through four main strategies the program seeks to implement:

  1. Hoʻomaʻa: collect and understand knowledge, integrity, and threats to cultural resources
  2. Hoʻomalu: ensure protection and stewardship of all cultural resources
  3. Hoʻomana: restore and interpret wahi kūpuna and cultural landscapes
  4. Hoʻomau: support and foster the development of future cultural resource managers

In order to accomplish these goals, the Wahi Kūpuna program actively collaborates with community vendors to create and provide opportunities for kamaʻāina to get involved with actively stewarding and managing cultural sites.

These opportunities often include retrieving oral histories and moʻolelo of wahi kūpuna, conducting archaeological surveys, and creating plans that allow for the preservation and restoration of sites.

It is understood that our cultural values and resources are contingent upon the natural cycles of Hawai‘i, making them inseparable entities.

Knowing this, the Mālama ‘Āina and Wahi Kūpuna programs heavily collaborate to best steward KS lands. Together, these programs strive to optimize educational, cultural, economic, environmental and community returns through effective land and resources management that support the educational mission of KS.

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Pua‘ala Pascua, KS natural resources intern, also contributed to this column.