HILO, Hawaii – The philosophical differences within the tight knit community of the Ohana Wa’a related to siting the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea was apparent during the ongoing TMT contested case hearing on Wednesday.
On the seventh day of the hearing held at the Crown Room of the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo, master navigator Chad Kalepa Baybayan took the stand as the fourth witness for the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Baybayan supports the UH plan to place the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.
The pwo navigator – one of only five wayfinders from Hawaii to be so ordained by the late master Mau Piailug – serves as a Captain and Navigator of the Hōkūle’a deep-sea voyaging canoe and is currently working on the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua World Wide Voyage. His scheduled testimony was pushed forward so he could be cross-examined before he departs Hawaii to rejoin the Hōkūle’a.
Baybayan is highly respected by both sides of the contentious TMT issue.
After Baybayan gave a short opening statement, the cross-examinations began. Things moved quickly at first, as two of the original petitioners only had a few quick questions. Then it was the turn of Pua Case, a passionate supporter of the Hōkūle’a and the Family of the Canoe. Case even traveled to New York City when Baybayan arrived aboard the Hōkūle’a in June.
Case took a half hour to delve into Baybayan’s position. In a respectful series of questions, she drew comparisons between the sacredness of Mauna Kea and the Koʻa Holomoana Navigational Heiau at Mahukona, with which master wayfinder Baybayan is well acquainted.