Anyone who lives in Hawaii knows that on Friday, August 15, 2008, a sovereignty group headed by a man claiming to be King of Hawaii took over the grounds of 'Iolani Palace and tried to break into the Palace and some other buildings there. The "King" said his purpose was to actually sit on the throne and to take permanent control of the Palace as the headquarters for his Kingdom. Anyone unfamiliar with this event should review the Honolulu Advertiser and/or Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspapers for August 15-18. Here's one story that is fairly comprehensive:
There are many Hawaiian "Kingdoms" or "Nations" currently claiming to be the real one. Some have an alleged King or Queen as head of government. Some have an Acting Council of Regency or a Prime Minister while they await a time when a permanent government exercises real authority. (The biggest group seriously threatening to become a real government is the Native Hawaiian Governing entity proposed in the Akaka bill.)
The news media make a grievous error when referring to these sovereignty groups as "protesters." These groups do sometimes engage in protest activities against the state or federal governments. But these groups claim to be actual governments which rightfully should have the power to control the entire archipelago of Hawaii. Two different sovereignty groups have taken control of 'Iolani Palace during Summer 2008, not as protesters but claiming to be the real government of Hawaii. In China, Cuba, North Korea, Russia or Zimbabwe such groups would be ruthlessly suppressed and their leaders would be jailed or executed for treason. Here in Hawaii they receive very gentle treatment from Palace and government officials and from the police, while the news media and public seem to treat them as celebrities or mere curiosities.
Failure to take these groups seriously and give them the harsh treatment they deserve will only encourage them to take increasingly hostile actions endangering the public safety. Already the Department of Land and Natural Resources has proposed to tighten the rules for the behavior of people using the palace and grounds. However, their proposals are merely a bandaid covering a cancerous tumor which needs to be surgically removed. See:
"Proposed new rules for Iolani Palace and grounds -- testimony to DLNR offered by Ken Conklin in honor of Statehood Day, August 15, 2008" at
A few of these groups have actual territory under their control. For example, Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele has a small piece of land known as Pu'uhonua O Waimanalo, where a few families have actually built houses and have a governing council, much like a gated community or condo association. Bumpy got a lease to the land from the State of Hawaii as a sort of bribe for giving up a protest in which his group temporarily took over Makapu'u Lighthouse and portions of Kamehameha Highway near Sea Life Park. At one point he used his land to harbor a federal fugitive -- a felony for which he served jail time. But eventually he received an official pardon from outgoing Governor Cayetano. The lesson Bumpy and the general public learned was this: Get enough people to cooperatively engage in illegal activities for a long enough time, and you will be rewarded with land, power, and forgiveness.
David Keanu Sai has at various times called himself Regent Pro Tem of the Kingdom of Hawaii, or Minister of the Interior, or Chairman of the Acting Council of Regency, or Ambassador. He claims to have followed a procedure under the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom from before 1893, which allows any subject of the Kingdom to file documents in the Bureau of Conveyances to declare himself temporarily in charge of the Kingdom government when the actual ruling monarch, cabinet officers, and Legislature are all absent or unavailable. He claimed that as Regent Pro Tem he had authority to certify or deny the legitimacy of land titles. In the "Perfect Title" scam hundreds of "clients" forked over hundreds of thousands of dollars for "title searches" and "warranty deeds" which screwed up Hawaii's real estate market and caused hardship to his clients and some innocent homeowners whose land titles were "clouded" by bogus filings in the Bureau of Conveyances. For a detailed history of the Perfect Title scam, see:
In the end, the bleeding heart Judge Sandra Simms let him off with a $200 fine and 5 years probation, plus a pretty speech acknowledging him as a freedom fighter and granting him permission to travel to the Hague to pursue his next scam at the "World Court." For details about that "World Court" scam see:
At present Mr. Sai is in the final stages of preparing his Ph.D. dissertation in Political Science at UH Manoa. The lesson Keanu and the general public learned was this: If you are intelligent, charismatic, friendly, a good speaker and writer, then you can be a con artist and use the Hawaiian sovereignty movement to make piles of money, travel to the U.S. continent and Europe, be treated like a celebrity or hero, and build an academic career providing the trappings of respectability.
One of the more bizarre claimants to actual power is A'o Pohaku Ku Rodenhurst, who lives in Kane'ohe with her husband whose oxymoronic name is "Lucky." She claims to be leader of the "Spiritual Nation of Ku." She and her family and friends built a "heiau" in Waimanalo on the beach side of Kamehameha Highway across from Sea Life Park. (It's really very attractive-looking, and definitely worth visiting. Please pray to the gods for my safety when you visit.). It's unclear whether she had any permit to build it, but in her regular hour-long 'Olelo TV show she claimed that the government (State? Honolulu? DLNR?) recognizes her as owner with a right to exclude the public from certain "sacred" portions of her "heiau." She repeatedly screamed nasty comments about a haole military man who was parasailing and who inadvertently landed inside the boundaries of her heiau and who refused to apologize for preferring not to land in the ocean instead.
On April 30, 2008 a group calling itself the Hawaiian Kingdom Government took over the grounds of 'Iolani Palace. They chained shut all the gates, and refused to allow anyone onto the grounds who lacked Hawaiian native blood. Employees of the Palace, and the State Archives, were trapped inside and unable to leave. Neither the state sheriffs nor the city police took any action to arrest the perpetrators or to take back control of the Palace grounds. The following day Honolulu Police Chief Boise Correa, in civilian clothes, sat humbly on the ground to chat with the "Queen." Both daily newspapers seemed generally sympathetic to the perpetrators' cause, while mildly chastising them for inconveniencing the state employees and the tourists who had hoped to visit the palace. There were dozens -- perhaps hundreds -- of newspapers and TV stations throughout the U.S. and abroad who published news reports on the same day the event occurred, thus validating the fact that this event was considered important. The sovereignty group repeatedly made it clear they are not protesters -- they were setting up permanent headquarters for their government on Palace grounds. By using the permit procedure of the Department of Land and Natural Resources the Queen and her followers have been successful in maintaining a permanent presence on Palace grounds from April 30 through August 15, and would probably have remained for a long time to come except for the Akahi Nui takeover. For details about the Hawaiian Kingdom Government takeover of Palace Grounds on April 30 and continuing coverage of events since then, see:
Now comes James Kimo Akahi, calling himself Majesty Akahi Nui, King of Hawaii, whose group took over 'Iolani Palace and grounds on Friday afternoon August 15, 2008. The group of about 25 chained all the gates, and also demanded to be admitted inside the palace and other buildings. Employees and management called the police, who refused to come because they "lacked jurisdiction."
Who is Akahi? The Honolulu Star-Bulletin on August 17 reported "Court records show Akahi has 20 criminal convictions in Hawaii that date back to 1961, including assault, theft and burglary. The last criminal conviction was in March 2001 for criminal trespassing and escape. In that case, court records show, Akahi pleaded no contest under the mistaken belief that he could ask for the case to be dismissed "based upon his Native Hawaiian rights.""
The Maui News of August 31, 2003 reported on a "unity gathering" at Baldwin Beach park where Akahi's group "served free food and displayed a series of documents including island deeds and the genealogy of Akahi Nui, the declared king of the Kingdom of Hawaii ... Kamalani Kaahanui, who holds the role of minister for foreign affairs under Akahi Nui, said she’s been in contact with other groups striving for sovereignty. Representatives from the Kingdom of Enenkio in the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Texas exchanged flags with Reinstated Hawaiian Government organizers Saturday."
Majesty Akahi Nui has, for many years, been claiming to own all the lands of Hawaii. In particular, he has been engaging in efforts on Maui to demand that everyone register their land with him and pay fees. Some newcomers have felt threatened by these antics, and one wrote to me saying she unsuccessfully asked for protection from the police when one of Akahi's group repeatedly trespassed across her house lot to seek access to nearby corporate land which the group falsely claims to rightfully own.
The situation on Maui reached a point where, on Sunday May 2, 2004, an investigator from the Maui Office of Consumer Protection felt compelled to publish a letter to editor in the Maui News because of Akahi Nui's repeated claims to own all the land in Hawaii. Here is full text of that letter, under the headline "Investigator sees possible scam"
"In reference to the letter "Owner of all island land is Akahi Nui" (April 28), you published information which appears on its face to be a farce.
If you try the telephone number listed in the letter, it connects through a "caller intercept-caller ID" process. The holder of that number is monitoring his calls and obtaining caller information before even accepting a call. There is no name or identity in the published letter to know who one is dealing with. Who really is "Majesty Akahi Nui"? I see lots of scams. Every once in a while even a crazy scam hooks a victim. This particular letter sounds so crazy, it may even be dangerous. I would not want my elderly relatives to be in contact with this guy. Don't you think you owe the Maui public a duty to be a responsible publisher?
Colette Watanabe, investigator,
Maui Office Consumer Protection
CORONATION OF MAJESTY AKAHI NUI AT IOLANI PALACE ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 22, 1998
The purpose of the following material is to show that Akahi Nui is not a protester. He believes himself to be King, and has a group of followers who support that belief. He is the only leader of a Hawaiian sovereignty group that I am aware of who has actually held a coronation ceremony.
, personally attended the coronation of Their Majesties Akahi Nui and Akahi Wahine on Sunday, February 22, 1998. It took place on the grounds of 'Iolani Palace, using the coronation gazebo as a background. Here are notes I made that evening, and sent by e-mail to an internet discussion group.
Following the 10:30 church service at Kawaiaha'o, I walked a block to the Palace for the coronation.
There were about 300 chairs set up, half on each side of a red carpet, in the area between the King St. side of the parking lot and the coronation gazebo. The coronation gazebo itself was not used; instead, a raised platform/stage was used for the "ceremony", with two chairs for the king and queen, and a white curtain-like backdrop with his-and-hers crowns mounted on it which appeared to be made of cardboard or papier mache. Printed programs were passed out to everybody, and a small diary-type booklet with handmade cover and handmade paper was passed around for anyone who wished to write greetings or congratulations (sort of like the guest booklet you sometimes see at an art exhibit).
The coronation was supposed to start at noon; but of course it didn't get started until about 12:45. The king and queen arrived in the parking lot in a 7-passenger van, walked along the red carpet to the platform and sat in the chairs. While walking along the red carpet, despite being escorted by several red-shirted Kingdom of Hawaii guardians, a "protestor" appeared right next to the carpet. The protestor appeared to be kanaka maoli, was dressed casually, and wore a round, brown hat that was probably made of some hard material and reminded me of a Teutonic pith helmet. As the king and queen approached the protestor's position along the red carpet, the protestor spat on the carpet in front of the approaching king and shouted "Imposter!! You are not a king, you are an imposter." Other than that, there were no further "incidents." The same protestor remained standing in the small crowd just beyond the chairs, where he watched the ceremonies, and on four or five additional occasions he shouted "Imposter" or other brief heckling protests.
The female secretary of state of the Kingdom of Hawaii gave a short explanation of the history and hopes of the organization, and introduced a reverend Christian minister, who gave a prayer and "officially" pronounced Akahi Nui to be the king. There was no use of any crown or other emblem of office; and the king himself was dressed in quite ordinary, humble style with a pair of slacks and shirt (no tie or jacket). I do not recall the king himself giving any speech. And I do very clearly recall that there was no use at all of the Hawaiian language in any part of the day's events, other that the typical recorded music played before the event got started.
The only apparent official recognition of this event by people in power in Hawaii was a brief interruption of the speech of the K of H secretary of state with a request (probably from a police officer) to produce a permit for the use of the Palace grounds. The speaker said the permit could be found in a briefcase in her car.
There was one official representative of a foreign entity, namely, the Moluccas, who was invited up onto the stage where he very properly bowed to the newly coronated king and made a brief speech. Other people from the audience also went up to say hello or give greetings; and this process was just getting underway as I left about 1:45.
As far as media coverage: I did see a big shoulder-mounted TV-type camera on the shoulder of some fellow who moved around from time to time and presumably made a tape of some parts of the event; but I have no idea whether he was from a TV station, or the Kingdom of Hawaii, or just a tourist from Iowa making a home movie.
For the families and friends who came to see the event, I'm sure it was a very special and significant day. But the lack of turnout for the coronation of a king would seem to indicate that he has very few subjects; and the silence of the media was deafening.
CONCLUSION -- OCCUPYING THE PALACE AS KING'S PERSONAL RESIDENCE ON TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF CORONATION ?
In September 2008 the Friends of Iolani Palace, the management of the Palace, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources were so kind and generous to grant a permit for the use of Palace grounds for Akahi to hold his coronation ceremony. Just what did they think they were doing?
Now, nearly ten years later, they reap their reward as the King stages a hostile takeover.
It seems logical that Akahi might have wanted to take over the Palace a month ahead of the tenth anniversary of his coronation, so he could measure for curtains and begin installing decorations in time for him and Akahi Wahine to take up residency there on September 22, the tenth anniversary of Their Majesties' reign.
** FOLLOWUP NEWS REPORTS
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Burglary charges dropped for 6 in 2008 Iolani Palace takeover
Self-proclaimed heir to Hawaii throne still faces felony burglary charge
By Jim Dooley
Six of seven members of a Hawaiian sovereignty group facing felony burglary charges after last year's takeover of 'Iolani Palace walked out of court yesterday with smiles on their faces.
Circuit Judge Richard Pollack dismissed the burglary counts against all but the leader of the group, James Akahi, who also calls himself Akahi Nui and claims to be the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawai'i.
Pollock said the state attorney general's office did not have enough evidence to prove that the other defendants had the intent to burglarize the palace when they entered the building Aug. 15, 2008, statehood day.
The six defendants still face petty misdemeanor charges of second-degree trespass. They are: Akahi's wife, Grace, who is also known as Akahi Wahine; Wayne and Waynette Nunes; Vanessa Fimbres; and Terry N. and Tanya K. Kaahanui.
Deputy Attorney General Mark Miyahira told Pollack he will consult with his office about filing a possible appeal of the ruling.
Defense attorney David Sereno said he and James Akahi look forward to trial on the remaining burglary charge, which has been tentatively scheduled for mid-June.
Sereno said he also intends to file a motion asking Pollack to reconsider his decision that allows the petty misdemeanor charges to remain against Grace Akahi and the other defendants.
The other defendants declined comment, referring questions to Sereno.
After members of the group entered the palace last year, they raised their flag on the barracks flagpole and chained gates closed around the palace grounds.
James Akahi said afterward that he intended to chain himself to the throne in the palace but couldn't find the throne room.
Pollack ruled yesterday that statements Akahi and others made to police and media after the takeover provided sufficient evidence to bind Akahi over for trial on the felony burglary charge. But the judge ruled that the statements were vague and conflicting about the other defendants' roles and intentions in the takeover and he dismissed the burglary counts against them.
Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of 'Iolani Palace and chairman of the Hawai'i statehood commission, had no comment after Pollack's ruling.
Chu said earlier this year that the palace would not be included as an official venue in any of the events scheduled in August to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hawai'i statehood. Chu acknowledged that concerns about potential demonstrations, like the one last year staged by Free Hawai'i, was a factor in the decision to exclude the palace from statehood anniversary events.
A related case in which two members of the Akahi group are charged with felony assault of an 'Iolani Palace employee during the takeover is still pending in another court.
One of those defendants, Donald Love-Boltz, 73, failed to appear for court proceedings earlier this month and a bench warrant is outstanding for his arrest.
The other, Robert Roggasch, attempted to argue in court that he is immune from prosecution because of his membership in a sovereignty group.
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn delayed ruling on that argument until next month. Miyahira of the attorney general's office has since filed a motion in the case noting that the sovereign immunity argument has been previously rejected by Hawai'i courts.
Love-Boltz and Roggasch are accused of assaulting palace employee Betty Jean Ah Yuen by repeatedly swinging a metal gate and "smashing" her against a gate pillar.
Judge Ahn rejected defense arguments that the gate did not meet the legal definition of a "dangerous instrument."
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, August 1, 2009
$1,000 fine for palace trespass
Leader of group that occupied 'Iolani Palace acquitted of burglary
By Jim Dooley
The only man to go to trial after last year's occupation of 'Iolani Palace by a Hawaiian sovereignty group was acquitted yesterday of a felony burglary charge but convicted of simple trespass.
A Circuit Court jury deliberated for a day before finding James Akahi guilty of the lesser offense — a criminal violation punishable by no more than a $1,000 fine.
Akahi believes he is the rightful heir to the throne vacated by Queen Lili'uokalani in 1893 and led a group of six supporters who broke into the palace the evening of Aug. 15, 2008, planning to place Akahi briefly on the palace throne.
But they never found the throne room on the first floor and were apprehended on the stairs leading to the second floor.
The Attorney General's office alleged that Akahi illegally entered the palace with the intent of causing criminal property damage or taking possession of a historical artifact, charging him with second-degree burglary.
Defense attorney David Sereno successfully argued that the state had failed to prove that Akahi meant to do anything more than sit briefly on the throne.
Akahi told Circuit Judge Richard Pollack that he meant no harm.
"I was trying to help out the kanaka maoli people and put them back on their own land," Akahi said.
The group had sent notices to the governor's office announcing their plans in advance, Sereno said.
And before entering the building, the group put on protective booties required of all people who enter the palace, Sereno pointed out.
Deputy Attorney General Mark Miyahira asked Circuit Judge Richard Pollack to impose the maximum $1,000 fine.
"Mr. Akahi did enter a building that is very sacred to a great many people," Miyahira said, adding that his actions could have damaged palace artifacts and placed individuals in danger of physical harm.
And Miyahira noted that Akahi has a criminal record going back to 1962 that includes convictions for escape, assault, harassment and larceny.
Sereno, a Maui attorney, recommended a $100 fine, saying that Akahi, who is also from Maui, has already spent thousands of dollars on travel and legal expenses.
Pollack sentenced Akahi to the maximum $1,000 fine and said it must be paid within six months.
"The way you went about this couldn't have been more wrong," Pollack said.
"I certainly hope you never come before the court for something like this ever again," the judge said.
During jury selection, it was apparent that Akahi's actions at the palace had angered a great many people, Pollack pointed out.
The judge earlier dismissed burglary charges against Akahi's six co-defendants, including Akahi's wife.
Miyahira said the state may appeal Pollack's dismissal of those charges.
Sereno said Akahi's six co-defendants may also be charged with trespassing.
Two other men, Donald Love-Boltz and Robert Roggasch, are scheduled for trial later this month on charges of assaulting palace employee Noelani Ah Yuen during the August 15 incident.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 1, 2009
Akahi avoids a conviction for burglary
The self-proclaimed heir to the Hawaiian throne broke into Iolani Palace last year
By Star-Bulletin Staff and News Services
A Circuit Court jury found self-proclaimed heir to the Hawaiian throne James Akahi guilty of a simple trespass violation yesterday instead of a felony burglary charge for breaking into Iolani Palace on Admission Day last year.
Simple trespass is not a crime, but is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. Akahi was charged with second-degree burglary, which is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Circuit Judge Richard Pollack imposed the maximum fine and admonished Akahi.
"You went into a place that is sacred to hundreds of thousands of people. You went there for your own benefit, your own wishes, to satisfy what you felt was right," Pollack said. "You took nobody else's beliefs or opinions about what they felt about this place."
Deputy Attorney General Mark Miyahira said Akahi risked damaging the palace and its contents.
Aikahi said he did not intend to offend anybody.
"I'm trying to help our people, my kanaka maoli people, to put them back on their own land. That's why I'm here," Akahi said.
His lawyer David Sereno said Akahi entered the palace to sit on the throne to make a statement. He said Akahi is pleased the jury did not find him guilty of burglary. But he said Akahi is not pleased the jury found him guilty of trespass "because he believes he is the king and he has the lineage, as he said in court. And so he's hoping that one day people will realize after he can prove it that this was, in fact, not even a trespass," Sereno said.
The state had charged Akahi and six of his followers, including his wife, with second-degree burglary for breaking into Iolani Palace Aug. 15 last year.
Pollack dismissed the charge against the other six defendants. The state is appealing. Two others are awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting a palace employee.
According to state law, someone commits second-degree burglary by unlawfully entering or remaining in a building to commit another crime.
Miyahira told jurors the other crime was either the taking of historic property, a misdemeanor, or fourth-degree criminal property damage, a petty misdemeanor.
An investigator for the attorney general's office testified he heard Akahi say he intended to chain himself to the throne, but did not because he got lost in the palace. The investigator also said he saw a chain inside a knapsack in the palace, which Akahi and his followers had entered, but could not find it when he went to retrieve it.
The prosecutor did not show the jurors a bag or chain, and the investigator said he did not mention them in his report because he did not think they were significant.
"I know it was a hard case for the jury," Miyahira said.
Miyahira took one day to present the state's case, and jurors deliberated just less than a day before reaching their verdict.
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Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
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