Purported monarch couldn’t find throne
» Palace clash sparks inquiry
» Break-in went too far, say sovereignty activists
Followers of James Kimo Akahi had planned to chain him to the throne in Iolani Palace that he claims for the Kingdom of Hawaii.
But, Akahi said yesterday, the group couldn't find the throne room after breaking into the historic building.
Akahi, 67, of Haiku, Maui, said he had never been inside the palace until Friday -- Statehood Day -- when he and 22 others in a Hawaiian sovereignty group were arrested by state officers.
He said all members of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Nation, as they call themselves, removed their shoes and slipped on socks before entering the palace.
"We respect that place," he said yesterday in front of the palace.
If any damage occurred, he said, it was done by Department of Land and Natural Resources officers who wore boots into the palace to make arrests.
Akahi, calling himself "Majesty," talked to the media outside the locked front gate of the palace while waiting for his wife to be released from jail. He said he was released without charges.
Among those waiting with him was Delano Muller of the Netherlands, who said he met Akahi at a conference on human rights in Geneva in 1996. Akahi calls him his "ambassador."
Muller said he's with the Mena Muria Foundation, a human rights organization helping the Mollucans in the Netherlands East Indies work for self-determination.
He said he also wants to help Akahi's group restore the Kingdom of Hawaii and plans to fly to New York with a statement for the United Nations "so the world will know what is going on here. We must find a diplomatic solution."
Muller said he was unhappy about the group breaking into the palace but "how many times did people break the law against the royal family?"
Akahi claims the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii as a descendant of King Kamehameha I, calling himself "Majesty Akahi Nui, King of Hawaii."
He acknowledges that people "think I'm crazy." But he said he has papers to prove his genealogy.
He said he is signing treaties with other countries to support his mission "to take back Hawaii, my nation."
Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr., a Hawaiian priest and longtime activist in the Hawaiian community, said he's known Akahi for many years.
"He's a real common guy, nice guy, very pleasant person. Not pushy," said Maxwell by phone from his home in Pukalani, Maui. "He's a nice guy and everything, but I think he's misguided. There's a lot of misguided people and it's sad."
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 Free Hawaii sovereignty group says on its Web site that "Majesty Akahi Nui, grandnephew of Queen Liliuokalani, was coronated King of the Hawaiian nation at the Iolani Palace" on Feb. 22, 1998.
"He holds the King of Hawaii diplomatic passport, is recognized internationally and has signed treaties with other nations," freehawaii.org says.
It said Akahi has been recognized by the United Nations and the World Court and that "the Royal Family and their staff, travel on their own, Kingdom of Hawaii, diplomatic passports and, on the strength of these passports, receive visas.
"He has made or renewed treaties with foreign nations. He has been invited to meet with European royalty despite an almost total news blackout in the United Sates, continues to be accepted and respected in international circles," the Web site says.
Akahi says his occupation is training horses.
"He's humble," Muller said. "He helps poor people in his village and all over."
Star-Bulletin reporter Robert Shikina contributed to this story.