King Lunalilo

A trust established by
King William Charles Lunalilo


In 1871, before he became king, High Chief Lunalilo signed his last will and testament, which, upon his untimely death, established a perpetual trust, the King Lunalilo Trust. In his will, he directed the trustees to build a home to accommodate the poor, destitute and infirm people of Hawaiian blood or extraction, with preference given to older people. This was the first time an aliʻi set aside their landholdings in a will to create a charitable trust for the benefit of their people.

Lunalilo established the King Lunalilo Trust to respond to a problem Hawaiʻi had not faced before. After almost 100 years of epidemics that decimated the population and after the decades following the Māhele of 1848, kānaka were more and more becoming dislocated from the ʻāina of their ancestors, and, for the first time, many did not have a home or someone to care for them.

In 1883, the first trustees opened the original Lunalilo Home in Makiki for 53 residents. The first Lunalilo Home served adult kānaka as young as 25 years old, and many of these younger residents were blind. By the 1920s, Lunalilo Home was renowned as a center for Hawaiian culture, with residents from across the islands sharing cultural practices from their communities.

After 44 years in operation in Makiki, with the help of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate and the John Papa ʻĪʻī Brown Estate, the trustees moved Lunalilo Home to our current location on the slopes of Kohelepelepe.

Since our renovation in 2002, we have offered three programs for kūpuna: an adult residential care home, an adult day center and kūpuna meals-to-go, and we remain firmly committed to King Lunalilo’s vision for his Trust to serve the people of Hawaiʻi.

Learn More [about Lunalilo]