During my senior year in high school, I was chosen to be the first ever prince in the royal court on the Big Island of Hawaii.

While sitting directly across of Uncle George Naope (former kumu hula, master Hawaiian chanter, co-founder of the annual Merry Monarch Festival, and leading advocate and preservationist of native Hawaiian culture worldwide), he asked me for my Hawaiian name. I frankly told him that I didn’t have any.  His response was only one that Uncle George can blurt out with embarrassment, and pardon the pidgin, “What you mean you no moa Hawaiian name?  What kine Hawaiian you?  Gunfunnit!  You go home and tell your madda’ give you one Hawaiian name tonight.  I need it cause gotta go in da newspaper tomorrow.“

The next day the newspaper came out with a photo of the new prince and princess of the Big Island Royal Court.


Under the photo was my new Hawaiian name, Robert “Kalaniopuupoohunaikeaupolohiwa” Akoi, Jr., my mother’s middle name.  My one and only time I actually held a Hawaiian name.


That year I was blessed to learn the protocols of our royal court and the importance of who I represented.  Today the royal court plays an essential role in different Hawaiian festivals such as, the Aloha Festivals and Merry Monarch.  They serve as a symbol of Hawaiian heritage passed down through generations of Hawaiians.

The court conch shell blowers and court chanter always ushers in the Royal Court, representing the personages of King Kamehameha I and His Royal Court.

Click on the following image to enjoy a video clip of the Royal Court’s entrance into the Merry Monarch Fesitval on the Big Island of Hawaii. 

                                                                                photo courtesy of

bobbyakoiPCC blogger, Bobby Akoi.  Originally from Keaukaha on the Big Island of Hawai’I,  his path took an unexpected turn to the little town of La’ie as student at Church College of Hawai’i.  Never in his wildest dreams did he think he’d be working at the #1 paid tourist attraction in the State of Hawaii.   Today he is the Director of Protocol & Community Relations for the Polynesian Cultural Center.  He is married to Hiromi and has 4 children.