The Queen Liliuokalani Trust

Farewell to you, farewell to you

O fragrance in the blue depths

One fond embrace and I leave

To meet again.

– Queen Liliuokalani – Aloha Oe

Sightings from The Catbird Seat

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From Women of the West Museum

The same years that women in Colorado, California, and Kansas agitated for their voting rights as full American citizens, Hawaiian women led their nation’s movement for independence from American domination. The popular Queen Liliuokalani resisted threats of armed annexation led by American pineapple planter Sanford B. Dole when she inherited the crown from her brother in 1891.

John L. Stevens, U.S. Minister to Hawaii in 1893, threatened U.S. takeover. “The Hawaiian pear is now fully ripe and this is the golden hour for the United States to pluck it.”

The queen’s desperate efforts to save her people’s land, government, and culture continued even after Americans overthrew her monarchy in 1893. Indignant by polite protests against the newly founded “The Republic of Hawaii” reached President Benjamin Harrison with little effect. The Hawaiian people believed they had suffered an undemocratic, illegal, and cruel conquest by the United States.

Hawaiian journalists Emma and Joseph Nawahi popularized the independence movement with their weekly Honolulu newspaper Ke Aloha Aina (The Patriot). Emma Aima Aii Nawahi, once a “lady in waiting” to Queen Liliuokalani, published sharp anti-American broadsides in the Hawaiian language. She took over the journal after her husband’s untimely death in 1896. That same year Queen Liliuokalani was placed under arrest in her own palace for her attempts to regain her throne. She remained confined for two years before the American intruders released her.

Queen “L’il” now appealed to the American people. She traveled to Washington herself, winning the sympathy of the new President, Grover Cleveland. “O, honest Americans, as Christians hear me for my downtrodden people! Their form of government was as dear to them as yours is precious to you. Quite as warmly as you love your country, so they love theirs,” she proclaimed….

Hawaii’s fate was sealed when war fever against Spain broke out in the Pacific in 1898. President William McKinley, and Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt convinced lawmakers in Washington to annex Hawaii by joint Congressional resolution. The U.S. government thus annexed the new territory of Hawaii. No vote of approval by its people was ever taken, and no Treaty with the Hawaiian Queen was ever signed by the U.S.

Voting in the new territorial Constitution was restricted to white, male property owners. Ironically, in a land once ruled by a powerful Queen, women with official U.S. citizenship did not win the right to vote until passage of the 19th Amendent in 1920. Native Hawaiians, as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino immigrant workers remained disfranchised for some time to come.

Emma Aima Nawahi remained an ardent defender of ancient Hawaiian institutions and culture in the pages of Ke Aloha Aina until 1910.

Queen Liliuokalani lived out her life as a noted author and poet. She published her popular autobiography, Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen. Hawaii’s last monarch also penned over 200 traditional Hawaiian songs, including the romantic ballad, “Aloha Oe.”

The words express not only friendship, but Liliuokalani’s deeper faith in the eventual resurrection of the Hawaii nation….


October 6, 2005

Girl Scouts name women of distinction

The Girl Scout Council of Hawaii has named Claire Asam, Dee Jay Mailer and Colleen Wong Women of Distinction for 2005. They will be honored at a dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom.

Asam is president and executive director of Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare of orphaned and half-orphaned children with preference given to children of Hawaiian ancestry.

Mailer is CEO of Kamehameha Schools, a statewide educational system founded and endowed by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. More than 6,200 students of Hawaiian ancestry or enrolled in kindergarten-12th grade campuses on three islands and at more than 30 preschool sites statewide.

Wong also is at Kamehameha Schools where she is vice president for legal affairs.

“This year’s honorees have been given the awesome responsibility of carrying on the visions of two extraordinary women, Queen Liliuokalani and Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop,” said Gail Mukaihata Hannemann [wife of Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman], Girl Scout Council CEO. “The modern day entities that continue their legacies … both have historical ties to the Girl Scouts in Hawaii.

“It is our privilege to recognize these three exceptional leaders who continue to make significant contributions to not only their organizations but also our state. They truly are great role models for all girls everywhere.”

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September 1, 2004

A Catbird News Flash …

A reliable source has informed me that former General Counsel for Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, Nathan Aipa, Esq., has been named General Counsel for The Queen Liluokalani Trust!


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November, 2001

Hawaii’s Wealthiest Landowners

Queen Liliuokalani Trust

By Jacy L. Youn, Hawaii Business Magazine

The trustees for the Queen Liliuokalani Trust say their land strategy is quite simple: Buy nothing, sell nothing. And so far the formula’s worked just fine. Frank Jahrling, vice president of First Hawaiian Bank’s trusts and investments division, says the trust had a value of about $400,000 in 1935 and has since skyrocketed to its current value of roughly $300 million.

“The only properties that we have are properties that were owned by the queen in 1917,” he says. “That’s how well Hawaii’s done since 1935.

Jahrling represents First Hawaiian Bank (a corporate trustee since 1937) and handles assets and investments, while trustees David Peters and Thomas Kaulukukui Jr. focus on the kingpin of the trust, the Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center.

Established in 1917, the Children’s Center is dedicated to providing support and services to orphan and destitute children of Hawaiian ancestry.

The perpetual status of the trust means its trustees are looking at long-term investment in the Islands. Although there are no intentions right now to purchase any new property, the trust is continuing to develop portions of its 6,294 acres on the Big Island. Most recently, a parcel in Kona was rezoned from limited industrial to mixed industrial and commercial use, reflecting the trusts’ openness towards a diversified portfolio.

The trust may benefit greatly from the decision to diversify, following a drastic decrease in visitor arrivals to the Island after September’s terrorist attacks on the United States.

“A lot of the money that the trust earns is from percentage rents from the hotels that are on our land in Waikiki,” says Jahrling. “So when there is a downturn in tourism we are greatly affected.”…

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January 17, 2004

Trustee raises opposed

The state argues that a proposal to double the
Kamehameha board’s pay is flawed

By Rick Daysog
Honolulu Star-Bulletin

A proposal to nearly double the pay of Kamehameha Schools’ trustees relies on “flawed analysis” and could “again endanger the trust’s tax-exempt status,” the state attorney general’s office said.

In documents filed in state Probate Court yesterday, Deputy Attorney General Hugh Jones argued that a court-appointed committee’s recommendation to increase trustees’ annual pay would make Kamehameha’s board among the highest paid in the nation for public charities….

The compensation committee, whose members include Kamehameha graduate Michael Rawlins and local attorneys Allen Hoe and David Fairbanks, relied in large part on a report by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, a mainland executive pay consultant hired by the committee for $50,000, Jones said….

According to Mercer, Kamehameha Schools trustees’ pay compares with that paid to board members and directors of native Hawaiian trusts and local nonprofit organizations. The report stated that the Liliuokalani Trust, which provided services for native Hawaiian orphans and destitute children, paid its trustees more than $195,000 in 2001 and that the Queen’s Medical Center paid its board member about $100,000 that same year.

Jones said “it is illogical” to raise trustees’ pay based on last year’s experience. He noted that the board recently named former health-care executive and 1970 Kamehameha Schools graduate Dee Jay Mailer to succeed McCubbin as chief executive.

He added that Mercer erred in reporting pay at Queen’s and Liliuokalani. The Queen’s Medical Center and its nonprofit parent Queen’s Hospital do not pay board members, while the Liliuokalani Trust has sharply reduced the compensation paid to its trustees since 2001 to about $93,800 this year, he said.

Retired Circuit Judge Patrick Yim, a trustee of the Liliuokalani Trust, said the trust’s board changed its pay structure several years ago from a commission-based system to a flat salary at the recommendation of its outside consultants.

Yim added that the $195,000 pay figure for 2001 was skewed because some of that included trustees’ pay authorized for the year 2000, which was not paid until 2001….

For more, GO TO > > > Dirty Money, Dirty Politics & Bishop Estate-Part IV


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December 19, 2002

Trust for orphans will cut 45 jobs

By Kevin Dayton, Honolulu Advertiser

The Queen Lili’uokalani Trust that serves orphans and poor children will cut about 45 jobs and reduce services next year as it attempts to cope with investment losses and increasing costs.

Trust officials said the move is necessary after suffering about $3 million in investment losses over the past three years as the stock market declined. To do that, the trust hopes to transfer some services to other providers such as Kamehameha Schools, and will cut about one-fourth of its 182 positions statewide.

Trust executives said they also must find money to develop real-estate holdings in Kona, which they said offer the best long-term opportunity for the $360 million, land-based trust to increase its income.

“While it’s painful for us to make these cuts, we’re determined and bright about our future,” said trust Chairman Thomas Kaulukukui Jr. after meeting yesterday with staff at the Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Center in Hilo. “This will ensure the perpetuity of the trust.”

Operations and the trust’s children’s centers this year cost $18.8 million, and expenses need to be cut by $3.6 million next year, said fiscal officer LeeAnn Crabbe.

Officials have been holding a series of meetings with staff on O’ahu and the Neighbor Islands, and will not announce which facilities will close until staff members have been notified.

Trust Administrator Robert Ozaki said all but one of the major trust operations will remain open, but some smaller satellite facilities may shut down. He declined to name the larger facility that may close, saying only that it would continue operations as a smaller unit.

The major Queen Lili’uokalani facilities on O’ahu are in Kane’ohe, Hau’ula, Waimanalo, ‘Ewa, Wai’anae and Honolulu, and on the Neighbor Islands in Hilo, Kona, Lihu’e, Kahului and Moloka’i.

Ozaki said the trust is offering an early retirement program to ease the effects of the job cuts, and that some employees have offered to leave voluntarily.

Claire Asam, executive director of the Lili’uokalani Children’s Center operated by the trust, said the center will probably be able to reach only about 7,000 youngsters next year, down from about 9,000 in 2001. She said the cutbacks will cause the center to focus more closely on the trust’s primary mission of helping poor and orphaned children, with preference given to Hawaiians.

The center will continue individual counseling and support for families and “grief groups” to help children who have lost a parent, she said. The center also will continue support services for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren because the parents have died or are serving prison time or have other problems, she said.

However, the center plans to shift other cultural, leadership, health and educational services to organizations such as Kamehameha Schools, Asam said.

Lili’uokalani, the last monarch of the Hawaiian Islands, created the trust in her will to benefit orphans and “destitute” children. She died in 1917.

The trust’s primary asset is land, including 6,294 acres on the Big Island, with most of that property in the Kona area. It also owns valuable parcels in Waikiki, including the land under the Marriott Waikiki Beach, the Pacific Beach and Radisson Prince Kuhio hotels.

Ozaki said the trust needs to spend money to prepare for development of some of its properties in Kona. Those projects include a road and other improvements for 100 acres at the Makalapua Business Center, and water for 315 acres mauka of the Makalapua shopping center.

The trust is planning a $2 million road at the business center next year, and “we’ve got to spend money there to make money,” Ozaki said. “That’s our only source of significant increases” in revenue.

Despite the problems, Ozaki said the Queen Lili’uokalani Trust is a stable trust with quality assets.

“The future is bright here,” he said. “We need to take some painful steps in the short term to get more balance in terms of revenues and the programs they support.”


January 7, 2003


The Honolulu Advertiser

45 layoffs spark round of questions

I read the sad news concerning the termination of 45 staff positions from the Queen Lili`uokalani Trust because of financial losses in assets. But I have a few questions that need to be resolved.

How come the trustees recently voted themselves a substantial pay raise?

How come the trustees recently gave the director a substantial pay raise?

How come the trustees are building themselves a multimillion-dollar corporate office?

Why did the head trustee fail to diversify the portfolio and decide to put all of the investments into high-risk technology stocks, when the signs in the market for the last five years indicated major problems in the high-technology field, led by the failure of all those start-up dot coms and the excess capacity in fiber optics?

It was all there, if they took the time to read Morningstar and other financial news. Good returns on investments are not driven by wishful thinking.

Finally, when did the maka`ainana ever chant an ali`i genealogy – in public?


January 20, 2003

West Hawaii Today


I read the online news about Queen Liliuokalani Trust cutting programs by $3.6 million, laying off 49 staff people, closing half of its 12 offices and reducing programs for poor and orphaned children (almost 90 percent of 9,000 children receiving services from the Queen Liliuokalani Trust are Native Hawaiians) all because the trustees gambled on tech stocks, didn’t diversify and lost big time.

Worse yet, they took a big raise (27 percent) while the trust was losing money.

I just can’t believe such an idiotic thing is happening.

As a child, I lost both of my parents and was placed in a situation where I could have been an orphan with no place to go. Fortunately, someone took me in, adopted me, and became my dear mother. Queen Liliuokalani set up her trust with the intent that children in these kinds of situations should be well taken care of.

What would these three gentlemen feel if one of their children were being placed in the same situation as the other thousands of children who depend on the Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center?

I live in Japan, but I wish I could do something to help save the thousands of innocent children from being the victims of mismanagement by three trustees and their unacceptable misconduct who don’t seem to have any emotions or concerns other than their own damn wealth.

If I were back in Hawaii, I’d be standing outside asking people for signatures to help stop this from going on.

Those trustees should be removed.

Michael Chikara Forry
Tokyo, Japan


July 3, 2004


By Karin Stanton, Associated Press

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

KAILUA-KONA – Preserving local culture and open space and providing affordable housing should be priorities for Queen Liliuokalani Trust land, residents say.

The trust, which underwent a management change last year, is exploring ways to capitalize on 3,500 acres in Kona.

The Keahuolu ahupuaa, or ancient land division, is the only source for future income for the trust that provides services for orphaned and destitute Hawaiian children, said Robert Ozaki, president and chief operating officer.

After a series of meetings in West Hawaii, board of trustees Chairman Thomas Kaulukukui Jr. and trustees David Peters and Patrick Yim now will develop general land use directions.

A preliminary plan likely will be complete by fall, Ozaki said….

He and the trustees met Thursday in Kailua-Kona with 60 residents, seeking input and hearing concerns….

At every meeting, residents stressed any development should allow them the live, work, plan, learn and shop within the community, Ozaki said.

Trustees are devoted to caring for and respecting the land, collaborating with stakeholders and creating an income stream….

Residents have indicated they favor health care facilities, a performing arts and cultural center, and elderly and affordable housing.

They would like to see land at the higher elevations remain agricultural, the shoreline preserved and parks created.

Residents voiced concerns about existing traffic congestion, but opposed building roads across trust land.

Native Hawaiians urged that burials, trails and stone walls be preserved in place on the queen’s land.

Constructing condominiums and high-end homes on the land is “useless to us,” Jimmy Medeiros said. “They are just more congestion and troubles for us.”

Others called for improving or repositioning the industrial area, and said that building heights should be restricted and utility lines should be underground….

Josephine Keliipio, however, said that’s not good enough.

“It already looks like Southern California,” she said. “Be Kona, not southern California.”...

For more, GO TO > > > Paradise Paved; The Puna Connection


November 1, 2002

The Royal Capes

By Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, Hawaii Business

We live in absolutely historic and exciting times, according to Thomas Kaulukukui Jr., the chairman of the board for the Queen Liliuokalani Trust (QLT).

He’s referring in part to the recent formalization of an association of the Alii Trusts (Kamehameha Schools, Queen’s Health Systems, QLT and the Lunalilo Trust) called Na Ahu`ula, or The Royal Capes….

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Last update August 20, 2006 by The Catbird