top of page

In Memoriam: Pi‘olani Motta

Piolani Motta testifies before the Board of Land and Natural Resources on February 25, 2018 in support of the Final Environmental Assessment submitted by Ka 'Ohana O Kalaupapa for The Kalaupapa Memorial. The Land Board unanimously approved a Finding of

No Significant Impact for the EA, enabling the 'Ohana to move one step closer to establishing the Memorial. Photo: Kehaulani Lum 


Pi‘iolani Motta, left, and Ka‘iulani Hess scroll through the large Kalaupapa Admissions Register on file at the

Hawai‘i State Archives. Photo courtesy of Patrick Downes,

Hawai‘i Catholic Herald.

Pi‘olani Motta, a founding member of Ka 'Ohana O Kalaupapa and one of the most dedicated supporters of The Kalaupapa Memorial, died February 14, 2020, after an illness that began last summer. She was 90 years old.

Pi‘olani was the hanai daughter of the legendary musician Lena Machado, but remained close to her birth family. Later in life, when researching her roots, she learned that her mother had been born in Kalaupapa and that her grandparents had died there.

That began a new mission in Pi‘o's life. She was never able to find the gravesites of her grandparents, but she was determined that they -- along with all the nearly 8,000 others who were sent to Kalaupapa -- would always be remembered with their names engraved on 

The Kalaupapa Memorial. 

We already miss Pi‘o, her elegant presence and her willingness to take a stand for her beliefs, but we know she will continue to guide us -- and will be with us when 

The Kalaupapa Memorial is dedicated.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the service for Pi‘olani has been postponed indefinitely. We will post the date, time and location when we know.

Aloha 'Oe, dear Pi‘olani Motta. You will always be part of Ka 'Ohana O Kalaupapa. 


bottom of page