HONOLULU – The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will meet again on Thursday, April 30 where they are expected to (again) take a position on the Thirty Meter Telescope planned for the summit area of Mauna Kea.
OHA voted to support the project in the past, but with the emergence of a vocal and determined opposition from beneficiaries, the Board of Trustees is entertaining the demand to reconsider.
The decision to hold the April 30 meeting was made during Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting on Oahu, following a presentation and discussion on the University of Hawaii’s management of the astronomy precinct on the mountain. The room was packed with Mauna Kea Hui members and supporters, some of whom camped out at the OHA building the night before. There was also a large media presence at the meeting.
OHA had initially issued a media release saying TMT would be on the agenda for a meeting scheduled for May 7th, but trustees – wanting to address the issue as soon as possible – called for an earlier meeting.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs also reported that it has arranged for a meeting tomorrow (April 24) for representatives from the Governor’s office, the University of Hawaiʻi, the Office of Mauna Kea Management, the Mauna Kea Hui, the Mauna Kea ʻOhana, and OHA to discuss the TMT controversy.
“We are glad that the Mauna Kea ʻOhana will participate in the discussions to convey their own positions and perspectives. With the different parties coming together in shared conversation, we believe this will bring greater understanding for everyone—an important first step in efforts aimed at finding resolution,” said OHA Chairperson Robert K. Lindsey Jr. in a media release.
“All parties are genuinely interested in hearing from one another and connecting he alo a he alo, face-to-face. The in-person communication allows us to convey more than just information. You can see and sense a lot in the presence of others—such important things as honesty, commitment, respect, and aloha. These are vital for problem solving,” said OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamanaʻopono Crabbe.
Before the full trustees meeting, TMT supporter Richard Ha testified before an OHA committee, stressing the economic importance of the project to Hawaii Island.
He was followed by Walter Ritte, who told the trustees that this goes beyond the need for profits, and that the movement to defend the mountain is a turning point in Hawaiian sovereignty.