(BIVN) – On Day 17 of the scheduled start of construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope, opponents of the project – including Hollywood actor Jason Momoa – gathered to hold a press conference at the base of the Mauna Kea Access Road.
Kahoʻokahi Kanuha gave an update. The Royal Order of Kamhemahema also spoke, as did Kaleikoa Kaʻeo. Momoa even added his manaʻo.
“As you can see you’re not going anywhere,” Kanuha said. “We remain committed. We remain organized. We remain unified in Kapu Aloha, and the protection of our Mauna from further desecration through the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope.”
“We’d like to assure the county and the state that we do have an emergency evacuation plan for the puʻuhonua in the event that a storm or hurricane is to occur on Hawaiʻi Island,” said Kākā‘ōlelo Ali‘i Michael John DeMello of the Royal Order of Kamehameha. “We are prepared to implement this plan to evacuate the puʻuhonua, if necessary. We will, however, maintain a small contingency to protect and to secure the puʻuhonua. Security is of utmost importance to us at the Royal Order.”
“I plead to David Lassner and a Board of Regents to turn away from those policies which dehumanize us,” said Kaleikoa Kaʻeo. “This Friday in the morning at 9 a.m. the Board of Regents is in fact holding a meeting and we will come and be there to speak and to share and to demonstrate to the world our humanity. That we have a language. We have a history. We have a religion. And that we are true people of this land.”
In response to the governor’s press conference held on Tuesday, in which Gov. David Ige announced that the the TMT project had been granted a two-year time extension to begin construction, as stipulated by the Conservation District Use Permit.
“The original deadline was September 26 of this year,” Kanuha said. “And yesterday morning, [DLNR Chair] Suzanne Case received the request… from the University on behalf of the TMT to extend that deadline two whole years. Within a matter of hours, she was prepared to declare to the public that they had accepted this and granted this two-year extension.”
“I ask all of us to consider whether or not this is a decision that should be made unilaterally by one individual,” Kanuha said. “Should this decision not be taken to the board for further consideration? We know that when they voted on this CDUP a couple of years ago, there were votes against it. It was not a unanimous decision. And they also mentioned in the press conference yesterday the what we see here today, they never expected. They never anticipated this many people. They never anticipated this kind of resistance. They never anticipated this kind of success on behalf of the kiaʻi.”
“They’re not doing this because they want to take their time,” Kanuha reminded all those surrounding him. “They’ve granted this extension because we have forced him into this position. Our unity, our organization, our commitment to kapu aloha has put them in a position where they recognize they’re not getting up that Mauna anytime soon.”
“I wanted to come up today, because I wanted to first hand be here, to stand with our protectors,” said Momoa. “I wanted to bring my team to come up here and interview everyone that could and so that I could just spread my awareness around the world cuz I don’t want to be on the ten seconds snippet on a KHON talking about how much I love our land.”
“I’m in it for solutions,” Momoa said. “We guided ourselves by the stars. … We love science. It’s not because of that, its because of the desecration of our land. So with that, I’m interested in solutions.”
Today was also Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, a celebration of Hawaiian Sovereignty Restoration Day.
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