Image of Princess Bernice Pauahi and her husband, Charles Reed Bishop, circa 1850. The Princess granted a huge gift of land to the Hawaiian people. Original maintained at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.
The result of her wise disposition of her property,
you young people all know too well.
It is yours - you who live it each day of your lives.
Without it, where would many of you be today?
Mrs. Pierre Jones
On the Use of Hawaiian Land Owned by Princess Bernice Pauahi Paki
The wealthy Princess had to make a decision about her property. The last surviving descendant of Kamehameha I - a warrior chief who united all the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 - Bernice Pauahi Paki owned about 375,500 acres of gorgeous Hawaiian land.
She could have done anything she wanted with her treasure. Inheriting about nine percent of the entire Kingdom of Hawaii, Pauahi Paki wasn’t just land-rich. Her status as a Princess meant that she was highly respected by all Hawaiians.
Yet ... she was bothered by her wealth. What had she done to deserve it? What if she had been born into a poor family instead of a rich one? What if she were a descendant of land workers instead of land owners?
Feeling "responsible and accountable" for the inheritance she'd received from her ancestors, Pauahi Paki made a profound decision. She would place all of her land in trust for the benefit of Hawaiian children.
It is against this backdrop that we meet Matt King and his dying wife, Joanie (called "Elizabeth" in the film based on Kaui Hart Hemmings’s book, The Descendants).
ISSUES and QUESTIONS to PONDER: Pauahi Paki was a Princess of the Hawaiian royal family. As a descendant of King Kamehameha I, she was wealthy, just like the rest of her relatives. Do wealthy people have a responsibility to help others? If riches are inherited, does that make a person more (or less) likely to share?
Original Release Date: November, 2011
Updated Daily During the First Month
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