Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement & Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust

Discussion Questions

  • Chapter 4:  Newfound Wealth, Cultural Rebirth, Seeds of Discontent

    • Statehood and jet airplanes brought newfound wealth to Hawaii.  In your own words, explain why these changes would have such a profound difference to Hawaii’s economy.  Then, explain whether these differences have been good or bad for the people of Hawaii.
    • Faced with a huge increase in resources, the Bishop Estate trustees hired a mainland-consulting firm to make recommendations.  Would you have done the same thing, or something different?
    • The mainland consulting firm recommended making Kamehameha Schools an elite institution with a highly selective admissions policy, and helping other Hawaiian children by adding extension programs that would complement what the public schools already were doing and promote Hawaiian culture.  Does this sound like a good plan to you?  If now, what would you have recommended?
    • When the trustees combined the separate boys’ and girls’ schools into one school, they called that one school, “Kamehameha Schools.”  According to the authors, “calling it Kamehameha School might have highlighted that the trustees had ceased to honor Pauahi’s instruction to maintain ‘two schools’.”  What do you think of the decisions to merge the two schools into one, and to call the resulting school, “Kamehameha Schools”?
    • The Kamehameha baby cottage was gone by the end of the 1960s.  The authors imply that this was related to the women’s liberation movement.  What was “the women’s liberation movement”?  Was it a good or bad thing when the baby cottage closed?  Why?
    • In your own words, why did the missionary dislike hula so much?
    • Why do you think the trustees forbid the dancing of the standing hula at Kamehameha Schools for so long?
    • Gladys Kamakakuokalani Brandt grew up thinking that anything Hawaiian must be “junk,” yet she was the one who convinced the trustees to allow standing hula at Kamehameha Schools.  Why do you think she did what she did?  What might have caused her to become proud of her Hawaiianness?
    • Trustee Murray did not want to change the rule against dancing standing hula at Kamehameha Schools, yet he eventually agreed to do so.  Why do you think he changed his mind?
    • On page 60 the authors explain why many homeowners on Bishop Estate land were “filled with apprehension and fear,” and “blamed Bishop Estate for their predicament.”  In your own words, what was the problem?  Whose fault was it?
    • The legislature eventually passed a law that forced landowners like Bishop Estate to sell land to the people who had built homes on that land.  Do you think this was a good law?  Why?
    • Beginning on page 61 the authors describe the development of Hawaii Kai and the turmoil it caused.  On page 63 you can see photos of protestors.  In your own words, exactly what did the protestors want, and why was Bishop Estate unwilling to give them that?
    • What would Hawaii be like today if there had not been housing developments at places like Hawaii Kai, Mililani, or Kapolei?  In what ways do you think your life would be different?  Is this kind of development a good, or bad, thing?  Why?