The Queen Emma Foundation
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
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Another example of How to Pluck a Non-profit:
January 22, 2000
Queen Emma: Hawaii's remarkable queen
Book Review: EMMA: Hawaii’s Remarkable Queen by George S. Kanahele
(Queen Emma Foundation, $19.95 paper, $29.95 hardback)
By Ann M. Sato, Special to The Advertiser
Emma Alexandrina Francis Agnes Lowder Byde Na‘ea Rooke Young Kaleonalani was, indeed, remarkable, if this densely packed but fascinating history by scholar George Kanahele is any measure.
In the tiny world of the high ali‘i of mid- to late-1800s Hawaii, Emma, wife of King Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani, Kamehameha IV, was both typical and not.
Like her contemporaries, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, David Kalakaua and Lydia Lili‘uokalani Dominis, she was truly cross-cultural — both Hawaiian and Euro-American in her habits and her thinking.
But Emma often found herself at odds with her peers. And unlike many of them, she was neither romantic nor prone to hyperbole. As a number of the incidents in the book make clear, she could bring down a curtain of reserve behind which few were allowed to penetrate. She was, said Kanahele in an interview, “different from any of her contemporaries. Emma is Emma is Emma. There’s no one like her.”
A devout Christian who chose to be baptized in the Anglican church in adulthood, and a typically Victorian woman who wore widow’s weeds, gardened, drank tea, patronized charities and gave dinner parties, she yet remained quintessentially Hawaiian. She wrote exquisite chants of lament in Hawaiian, craved Hawaiian food when she was away from it, loved to fish, hike, ride and camp out (activities she kept up to the end of her life) and, throughout her life, took very seriously her role as a protector of the people’s welfare.
“In a way,” said Kanahele, “she was a harbinger of things to come in terms of Hawaii’s multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society. You have to be impressed with her eclecticism — spiritually, emotionally and physically. She was kind of our first renaissance queen.”
Emma put the idea of Queen’s Hospital (now Queen’s Medical Center) into her husband’s head and she visited patients there almost daily whenever she was in residence in Honolulu. She founded what is now the Priory School for Girls. With her husband, she championed the Anglican (Episcopal) church in Hawaii and founded St. Andrew’s Cathedral, raising funds for the building. Together, she and Liholiho laid the groundwork for what is now ‘Iolani School, as well.
Kanahele’s year-by-year history, painstakingly indexed, glossaried and footnoted is, like Emma herself, off-putting and approachable by turns....
Kanahele skillfully paints a picture of an energetic woman — loving wife, doting mother, gardener, horsewoman, swimmer, hiker, seamstress, collector — who endured the deaths of virtually everyone she truly loved, as well as political struggles and personal attacks, and remained firm in her convictions throughout.
Kanahele, who was commissioned to write the book by the Queen Emma Foundation, said that he found, over eight years of research, that although there was a fair amount of information about the queen, it was scattered through dozens of sources.
Beyond the biography, there is much enjoyment in the tidbits about Hawaii that Kanahele has gleaned along the way: that Princeville was named for Emma’s young and ill-fated son, that there was a craze for rice-growing that almost killed the taro industry, that Emma was the first queen ever to visit the White House.
Even after 441 pages, however, Emma remains elusive — even to her biographer. Said Kanahele: “When I think about the two ali‘i I have written about ... Bernice Pa‘uahi Bishop, I kind of fell in love with her. But with Emma, I was much more objective. I was able to see the world from her perspective and understand, but never got emotionally involved. I think that says something about her character. She was very complex.”
Ann M. Sato is a Kailua freelance writer.
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March 14, 2000
OHA seeks allies among trusts;
Threats to Hawaiian interests expected
By Walter Wright, Honolulu Advertiser
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is beginning discussions with the so-called “Alii Trusts” — including the Queen Emma Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, the Queen Liliuokalani Trust, and Lunalilo Home — about their common interest in avoiding further challenges to programs or operations which include preferential treatment of Hawaiians, OHA’s board chairman said yesterday.
OHA Chairman Clayton Hee said the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Rice vs. Cayetano decision that makes all Hawaii voters eligible to choose OHA trustees — instead of the past system of Hawaiians-only voting, “makes it more urgent and steps up the rhythm of hearings on this subject that have been taking place for the last 10 years.”
Hee said he also hopes to talk soon with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands about the same issues.
“All Hawaiian interests where federal or state funding is presently utilized will come on the radar screen of the enemies, if you will, of OHA and the Hawaiian efforts,” Hee said.
“The admissions policies of Kamehameha Schools are already on the radar screen,” he said.
“These ‘Alii Trusts’ have been fairly benign institutions, but the Rice decision presents a terrific opportunity for the large landed and monied Hawaiian estates to become part of the leadership which the Hawaiian community and its non-Hawaiian supporters are so desperately seeking,” he said. “We are all under the same umbrella.”
A spokesman for the Queen Emma Foundation said yesterday that it would be interested in being involved in such discussions, but that it may be immune from any direct fallout from the Rice vs. Cayetano case, because none of its programs is directed exclusively at Hawaiians....
On Thursday, the OHA board of trustees will hear presentations from Native Americans familiar with gaining tribal recognition from the federal government, to see if their efforts can offer Native Hawaiians a model.
Both Inuit (Eskimo) and Native Americans have been able to use federal money for programs offering preference to members of their groups after that money has been “channeled through a federally recognized entity,” Hee said.
“Perhaps a lead agency like OHA could get out from under the state umbrella and become the lead funding agency for some service agencies.”
Such a step could “remove the dark cloud, the shadow” cast by announcements from Rice’s first attorney, John Goemans, that the Rice decision opens the door for more court action against Hawaiian programs, Hee said.
“We have already begun talks with the U. S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice and Hawaii’s congressional delegation,” Hee said.
In the Legislature, OHA trustees are floating a proposal calling for a study of the creation of an interim entity to hold OHA assets until another independent organization is created or recognized as having the right to administer those assets.
OHA’s trustees are scheduled to discuss a draft of such legislation at their regular meeting Thursday.
State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Barbers Point, Makaha) says she has a bill that could be a vehicle for such a study proposal, but that it can go nowhere without support in the House. The House has shelved all bills relating to OHA for fear of stirring up more Hawaiian resentment and fear of a power grab. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Eric Hamakawa (D-S. Hilo, Puna) did not return telephone calls on the subject yesterday.
State Rep. Sol P. Kaho‘ohalahala (D-Lanai, W. Maui, Molokai) said yesterday a resolution expressing support for federal recognition of a Hawaiian nation has been signed by all 51 house members as a show of support for Hawaiian self-governance and self-determination.
Ka Lahui Hawaii, a political action group, said it is redoubling efforts to promote federal recognition of a Hawaiian nation.
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May 21, 2004
Judge voids sale of
units at Coral Reef
By Andrew Gomes, Honolulu Advertiser
Almost 250 hopeful condominium buyers who put down money a year ago for units at the Coral Reef Hotel in Waikiki recently had their sales canceled.
A state judge has ruled that Coral Reef owner André Tatibouet cannot sell units of the leasehold property as condominiums, blocking 247 tentative sales.
The ruling, issued last week by Circuit Judge Victoria Marks, upheld an argument by the landowner, The Queen Emma Foundation, that condo ownership could force the foundation to sell its fee-simple interest in the property via the city's lease-to-fee conversion ordinance.
"The ruling protects the foundation's continued ownership of the property," said Rosemary Fazio, an attorney representing the nonprofit landowner.
Terry Lee, an attorney representing Tatibouet, said his client respects the judge's decision, but disagrees with it.
Coral Reef unit buyers will be provided full refunds, according to Hawaiian Island Homes Ltd., the brokerage firm handling sales.
Peter Savio, Hawaiian Island Homes president, said some buyers canceled because of the dispute and year-long delay, but most hoped they would be able to complete their purchases.
"It's a bummer they couldn't get a unit in that building ... but there are going to be a number of other buildings — probably a thousand units — coming up for sale in the next six or seven months," he said.
Tatibouet in May 2003 offered units for sale at the Coral Reef, which is at 2299 Kuhio Ave., mauka of International Market Place.
Buyers, most of whom either intended to live in the units or rent them out through a hotel management firm, snapped up more than 200 units in a single weekend at prices ranging from $59,500 to $150,000.
But weeks later, Queen Emma Foundation sued to block the sales that it said required its approval. The foundation emphasized that it did not intend to give such approval, which it said Tatibouet did not seek until after the lawsuit was filed.
Marks ruled that Tatibouet's lease with the foundation requires the foundation's consent to convert the hotel to condos, and noted that in the 1980s Tatibouet made a similar request that the foundation denied.
The foundation was concerned that it could be forced to sell its fee-simple interest in the property via the city ordinance that mandates sale of the fee-simple interest in leasehold condos in cases where at least 50 percent of condo owners want to buy the land....
Lee said he does not expect Tatibouet to offer the Coral Reef for sale as a hotel. Tatibouet bought the Coral Reef in 1976. The ground lease runs until 2050.
The land under the hotel is part of the core real estate holdings that generate income for Queen Emma Foundation, which helps pay for operations of Queen's Health Systems.
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August 7, 1999
Queen’s Health System wants
out of health plans
The system's four plans cover 170,000 people
By Helen Altonn, Star-Bulletin
The Queen's Health System's board of trustees has decided to look for a means of easing out of the health plan business.
The system's four health plans, which cover 170,000 people, haven't been performing well, said Joel Kennedy, vice president of corporate communications for the Queen's systems.
Like hospitals, nursing homes and other health activities in Hawaii and the nation, health plans have been hurt by the Balanced Budget Act's reduced reimbursements to cover costs.
Because of the federal law and other priorities, Kennedy said, "the board decided it is time to get back to basics and focus on direct patient care."
A statement from the Queen's Health Systems cited capital needs for these priorities: Queen's Medical Center renovations, opportunities to collaborate with other providers and the University of Hawaii's School of Medicine, and International Market Place redevelopment.
The Queen Emma Foundation owns the International Market Place, leased to WDC Ventures until WDC went into bankruptcy proceedings last year in Dallas. The lease reverted to the foundation, which now is managing the property, Kennedy said.
Revenue from the foundation's Waikiki property supports health care programs at Queen's....
Kennedy said the plans have about 250 employees, and no layoffs are contemplated. "We don't have any preconceived answers. The decision is to look at this and decide how to do it," he said.
"We want to keep the plans as strong as possible, both for the people the plans serve and the people who work here."
May 7, 1999
Foundation to run Waikiki market
The Queen Emma Foundation will take over management of the International Market Place, its Waikiki shopping and entertainment center, starting July 1.
The foundation is the historic owner of the land under the center, but gained full control of the marketplace only last year when lessee WDC Ventures gave up its lease as part of a bankruptcy.
A Honolulu shopping center management firm, Graham Murata Russell, has been running the center for the foundation.
"Since we assumed responsibility for the operation of the International Market Place in January 1998, it has been our intent to bring management of the property in-house," said Wayne Nakashima, who will head the foundation's property management staff. He said tenants have been notified of the management switch and have been told that there should be no changes in the way the center is run, except for some personnel changes.
One of the three Graham Murata Russell employees on the property will stay, he said.
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MORE TO COME
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A Connecticut Yankee in King Kamehameha’s Court
Aloha, Harken Energy!
Birds in the Halls: The University of Hawaii
Birds in the Lobby
Buzzards of Paradise
Dirty Gold in Goldman Sachs
Dirty Money, Dirty Politics & Bishop Estate
Flying High in Hawaii
Gensiro Kawamoto: How to Pluck a Billionaire
The Hawaii Superferry
How to Pluck a Non-Profit
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Pimps to Power
The Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation
The Nature Conservancy
The Puna Connection
The Vultures in Maunawili Valley
The Peregrine Fund
The Pirates of Punaluu
Predators in Paradise
RICO in Paradise
Songs of The Drug Vultures
Sukamto Sia: The Indonesian Connection
The Nests of Osama bin Laden
The Great Nest Egg Robberies
Vultures of the Sandwich Isles
Who’s Guarding the Hen House?
Woo vs. Harmon
Yakuza Doodle Dandies
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Last Updated on October 27, 2007 by The Catbird