A round-up of events connected to the ongoing debate concerning (and blockade of) the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.
Latest Events – Monday, April 20
- The Mauna Kea Hui made a trip to Oahu to deliver a petition to Hawaii’s governor – signed by 53,000 people – calling for an end to the Thirty Meter Telescope project. The Hui asked the governor to intervene on behalf of the 31 who were arrested on the mountain on April 2, and also raised the issue of a possible conflict of interest with the nomination of Doug Chin for State Attorney General. Chin was the managing partner of the law firm Carlesmith Ball LLP, the same law firm that is representing the University of Hawai’i and the TMT in current lawsuits.
- The Office of Hawaiian Affairs issued a media release saying it seeks to include Mauna Kea ‘Ohana leadership in discussions. “The Mauna Kea ‘Ohana leaders have cultivated a deep relationship with that ʻāina,” said OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamanaʻopono Crabbe. “They have taken on a kuleana that belongs to them — a kuleana that OHA cannot assume. Those leaders also have extensive knowledge about the harms the potential TMT project would bring to Mauna Kea from both environmental and cultural perspectives. This is why OHA believes their voices are crucial in the discussions.”
- The We Are Mauna Kea benefit concert set for the Kahilu Theatre this Sunday has been cancelled. “The presenter Real Farm has decided to cancel the concert because of the severe financial consequences that were building for the Theatre,” wrote Kahilu Theatre in a message to supporters. “This was supposed to be a celebration of Mauna Kea, not a divisive event for the community, nor negative for the Kahilu Theatre. Because Real Farm is owned by Melanie Holt, who is married to Kahilu Theatre Artistic Director Tim Bostock, it was widely perceived that the Kahilu supported the TMT protest. Concerns were also raised that the nature of the sponsor’s relationship with Mr. Bostock might create the perception of a conflict of interest.” The Theatre management said they are “strongly neutral in this cause and regrets the confusion to the public.” The event was quickly rescheduled for the Honoka’a People’s Theatre to be held on Sunday, April 26 at 4 p.m. Amy Hanaialii and Willie K, John Cruz, Paula Fuga, and Hawane Rios will all star in this benefit concert for an “Education Fund for Mauna Kea”.
- The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will hold another special meeting on Mauna Kea this Sunday (April 26) at 11 a.m. and this time they are using a larger venue: the Performing Arts Center on the UH-Hilo campus (200 West Kawili Street). This will be a continuation of the Regents meeting held last Thursday (April 16) that drew hours of public testimony and was standing room only. Many did not have a chance to voice their opinion, so UH officials promised a return hearing.
Today – Tuesday, April 21
- Today all eyes are on Oahu for the Ku Kia’i Mauna March. Mauna Kea Hui and their supporters will meet at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs parking lot, where they will deliver their demands to OHA, telling the Board of Trustees to reverse their position on the building of the TMT Telescope. From there the group plans to march downtown to deliver demands to the Watanabe Ing Law Firm, the legal counsel for TMT International Observatory, LLC. The law firm will be told to “stop brokering deals to build on our sacred Maunakea”. Then the marchers will head to the Governor’s Office to deliver their demand to “stop the construction of the TMT Telescope permanently”, wrapping up the Ku Kia’i Mauna March by noon.