MAUNA KEA, Hawaii – On Thursday, there seemed to be a different feeling at Halepohaku on Mauna Kea, both at the site of the encampment of the self-proclaimed protectors on the mountain, as well as at a special open house meeting organized by the Office of Mauna Kea Management.
Speaking from within Hale ‘o Kukia’imauna, Lanakila Mangauil shared with supporters his take on the latest developments regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope project.
The construction of the $1.4 billion observatory project on the northern plautaue of the summit area has been on hold ever since 31 people were arrested for blocking TMT crews from using the road.
On Tuesday, Governor David Ige affirmed the telescope has the right to move forward. But its still unclear when work might attempt to get underway. On Wednesday, TMT board member Michael Bolte said he didn’t know when construction would resume.
Thursday, across from the hale where Mangauil spoke, an unusual open house was being held in the buildings below the Visitor Center at 9,000 feet. The Office of Mauna Kea Management set up a space to talk story with the public, inviting those standing guard on the Mauna to come on over. Some accepted the offer, cautiously. We spoke to Fritz Klasner, OMKM’s Natural Resources Program Manager, about the genesis of the open house.
During his speech earlier this week, Governor Ige was critical of the curreny management of the mountain. The responsibility falls to the University of Hawaii, which leases the summit area from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Its up to the Office of Mauna Kea Management to carry out the actual work. Some with OMKM – speaking off camera – said they feel like the scapegoats in this situation.
Meanwhile, the Mauna Kea protectors are gearing up for whatever’s next. They know it won’t be easy. Lanakila Mangauil and Hawane Rios, two of the young, spiritual leaders in the Ku Kia’i Mauna movement, will soon be off island for a few weeks. They believe fellow opponents of the TMT project can carry on in their absence.