Mauna Kea telescope construction up in the air

Aug. 2, 2019, 1:37 p.m.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources in Hawaii have granted a two-year extension of the Conservation District Use permit deadline for the initiation of TMT construction. The back up site is in the Canary Islands and Native Hawaiian protectors say their poistion is non-negotiable  

Kaniela Ing and Kekuhi Kealiikanakaoleohaililani explain that the purpose of the noho of Kanaka Māoli people at Mauna Kea is to protect the sacred mountain from the construction of a controversial Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project. 

The number of protectors participating in the noho at the base have reached over 5,000 people. As people leave the village they are replaced by Kanaka Māoli who arrive to assist daily from throughout the islands. 

The traditional name of Mauna Kea is Mauna-a-Wākea. In Hawaiian cosmology, Wākea interpreted as ‘Sky father’ is united with Papahānaumoku, the earth mother. They are the parent couple of all things Hawaiian. It’s regarded as the home of the gods, and the piko (pito) of Hawaiʻi Island.

The Kingdom of Hawaii was illegally overthrown on Janary 17, 1893, after a group of 13 Hāole (Pākehā) businessmen and lawyers staged a coup against Queen Liliuokalani and her Hawaiian government. 

The gathering of Kanaka Māoli and allies of Mauna Kea at the base of the mountain is an expression of resistance against continued attempts to further alienate Kanaka Māoli from their birthright. 

The active protection of Mauna Kea can not be divorced from Native Hawaiian land and water rights, homelessness, landlessness, frustration over tourism, attempts and questions about how the islands should be governed and economic development. 



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