Move Over, Monopoly: Island Game Nights Have Been Going Local with Hawai‘i-Themed Akamai

Akamai, educator Pūlama Collier’s new limited-edition board game, challenges players’ knowledge of Hawaiian culture.


An overhead view of the Akamai board game

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


The new limited-edition board game that challenges players’ knowledge of Hawaiian culture. Native Hawaiian and longtime educator Pūlama Collier (who’s logged 30 years teaching Hawaiian language and music) originally dreamt up the game during quarantine as a deliverable for her own studies with EA Ecoversity, a Hawaiian culture-based higher education program. She then teamed up with her mentor, scholar-cultural practitioner Manulani Aluli Meyer, to develop it for a larger audience and tapped local artist Alika Spahn Naihe to help bring the concept to life with vibrant illustrations.


“It’s a fun, family-friendly way to learn about Hawai‘i in a broad perspective, from the earliest migrations, connecting to land and place, to Maunakea and our struggle to reclaim our identity, to our sacred places,” says Collier. Community games popped up first on Maui, where Collier lives, followed by Hawai‘i Island and now O‘ahu—Wai Wai Collective and Nā Mea Hawai‘i have hosted a few at the Arts & Letters space in Downtown-Chinatown.


An overhead view of the cards and pieces of the Akamai board game

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Up to eight players compete, rolling dice and answering trivia questions (the set includes 600) to advance their pieces around the board and earn special cards. Topics range from historical (the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom) to local-kine and humorous (name three things you use rubbah slippahs for). And rules and strategies are rooted in Hawaiian values—the first person to roll is the elder, and to use certain cards, you must share knowledge and work together with other players—learned and internalized along the way. “It’s a Hawaiian game played in a Hawaiian way,” Collier says.


Available at, @playakamai, on O‘ahu at Nā Mea Hawai‘i, Ward Centre, (808) 596-8885.