(BIVN) – Governor David Ige on Tuesday evening visited the Mauna Kea Access Road, where he was welcomed and embraced by the opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
The visit came 4 days after the Governor came to Hawaiʻi Island but did not leave Hilo, and criticized the “leaders of this protest” during a news conference, saying they “do not want to meet”.
But the governor’s tone changed on Tuesday, when he announced that Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim will “coordinate both county and state efforts to peacefully attempt to reach common ground with the protectors of Maunakea.”
A few hours after making his statement, the governor came to the base of Mauna Kea, visiting the Puʻuhonua o Puʻu Huluhulu, and then the kūpuna on Mauna Kea Access Road.
He approached the area beside an aloha-attired Lino Kamakau, the DLNR DOCARE Hawai‘i Island Branch Chief, and William Aila, the Department of Hawaiian Homes director.
“Welcome to Mauna a Wākea,” said Earl DeLeon, greeting the governor with a hug. “Kūpuna are waiting for you very patiently. Mahalo for coming.”
“Governor Ige we are very happy that you have come to this place that is very special to us,” said Leilani Lindsey-Kaapuni, who was one of over 30 kūpuna arrested on July 17 .
The Governor addressed the crowd, saying:
Thank you so much. I did have an opportunity to talk with some of your leaders and learned a lot today. And I was inspired to stop by to visit this place. I wanted to thank Mayor Kim for his partnership. We are committed to finding a way forward in a peaceful manner. Certainly looking forward to the dialogue and much conversation that will be required as we move forward. So, thank you for welcoming me here, and I look forward to much more dialogue in the days to come.