The Memorial Design

The Conceptual Design of the Memorial, courtesy of G70

Family members who were part of the Kalaupapa Memorial Committee’s Design Team built an ahu at the place where the interlocking circles of the Memorial will come together.

Photo: DeGray Vanderbilt

The Conceptual Design of the Memorial was created by a Memorial Design Team assembled by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa that included architects, planners, Native Hawaiian cultural specialists and descendants of Kalaupapa. The Design Team worked for a year to brainstorm and complete the Conceptual Design.


As requested by Kalaupapa residents, the Memorial will be located in Kalawao across from St. Philomena Church on the long-vacant grounds where the Baldwin Home for Men and Boys operated from 1894-1932. During that time, the Baldwin Home was a refuge and a bustling community where single men and boys who arrived lonely and often afraid, found friendship and renewed hope. When the Baldwin Home moved to Kalaupapa on the other side of the peninsula, the buildings were abandoned and later burned. The site was bulldozed in the 1950s and the land has stood vacant ever since.


The Memorial will consist of two interlocking circles. The upper circle represents the people who were taken from their families and sent to Kalaupapa – their names will be engraved on slabs of polished granite that will rise up around the circle. The lower circle represents the families who were left behind and the descendants of Kalaupapa. The place where the circles come together represents what Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa has long envisioned:  bringing the people of Kalaupapa and their families back together.

Family members who were part of the Design Team built an ahu to mark the spot where the circles come together. Already, the ahu has become a place where descendants and visitors leave lei or flowers.

The names of those admitted to Kalaupapa will be listed chronologically. Ka ‘Ohana felt it was important to arrange the names in this way – rather than alphabetically – because so many people remembered who they were with on the ship when they arrived at Kalaupapa. In addition, by listing the names according to the years that people landed at Kalaupapa, families and visitors will learn about certain chapters of the history by noticing how many people arrived in one year as opposed to another.  A master book of names kept at the site will list the names alphabetically so descendants can locate the name(s) or their ancestor(s). This book will also contain additional information about the people on the Memorial that we have learned over the years.


The professionals assisting the ‘Ohana with the Memorial planning, designs, drawings, construction plans and fundraising are: G70 of Honolulu, Goodfellow Bros., Umemoto & Cassandro Design Corporation, Munekiyo &  Hiraga, Stastny Architect and Grant Works Hawai`i.


Members of the Memorial Design Team are: Don Stastny (facilitator), Boogie Kahilihiwa, Hitoshi Hida, Lopaka Ho`opi`I, Kehaulani Lum, Tessa Munekiyo-Ng, Kahu Kaleo Patterson, Phil Sabado and Jason Umemoto. Valerie Monson and DeGray Vanderbilt coordinated activities.


The Memorial planning is now in its final stages and Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa is preparing to launch our fundraising campaign in early 2020. Ka ‘Ohana is responsible for raising all the funds for the Memorial. Ka ‘Ohana will own the Memorial and be responsible for its upkeep and operations.


We invite everyone who reads this website to become part of our collective effort to establish The Kalaupapa Memorial.


Members of the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club dance for the people of Kalaupapa whose names will be engraved on the Kalaupapa Memorial.

Photo: DeGray Vanderbilt