comscore Pro-telescope Native Hawaiians seek hearing participation | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Pro-telescope Native Hawaiians seek hearing participation


    This illustration shows what the Thirty Meter Telescope is expected to look like.

A Native Hawaiian nonprofit educational corporation that’s supportive of building a giant telescope atop Mauna Kea is asking to participate in a hearing for the project’s construction permit.

In a motion filed with the state land board this week, Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities, Inc., known as PUEO, says the Thirty Meter Telescope will enhance educational opportunities for children. The organization’s board members “include native Hawaiians who seek knowledge and understanding and exercise customary and traditional native Hawaiian rights on Mauna Kea,” the motion said.

Unlike those who protest the project, the group’s members say the telescope won’t diminish their culture.

Some Native Hawaiians who oppose the project have also asked to participate, along with the nonprofit corporation that wants to build it.

A new contested case hearing is necessary because the state Supreme Court ruled last year the land board should not have issued a permit to build on conservation land before holding a hearing to evaluate a petition challenging the project’s approval.

A June 17 hearing in Hilo is scheduled to determine who may participate.

PUEO’s board members are native Hawaiians from the Keaukaha-Paneewa Hawaiian Homesteads in Hilo who “exercise customary and traditional native Hawaiian rights on Mauna Kea,” the motion said.

“The construction of telescopes on Mauna Kea utilized for viewing the celestial heavens and conducting valid research into the many galaxies that exist beyond our planet has never diminished my ability to be a native Hawaiian,” Shadd Keahi Warfield wrote in a declaration included with the motion. Infrastructure such as roads, restrooms and snow removal created by the telescopes already on Mauna Kea have allowed him to learn more about his culture there, he wrote.

Patrick Leo Kahawaiolaa’s declaration also notes that Mauna Kea infrastructure has made it easier to practice Hawaiian culture on the mountain.

“Before the construction of the summit road, our na kapuna walked or rode horses … or needed four-wheeled vehicle to get to the summit,” he wrote. “But now, because of the telescopes, they maintain the road so that we can drive to the top.”

Those who want to be a party to the contested case hearing have until May 31 to submit requests.

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  • It would be nice to see enlightened Hawaiians speak up in support of the telescope, rather than let the public light shine only on the ignorant, backwards Hawaiians.

    • agree..but it is likely too late. Many Hawaiians I know at the UH said they were intimidated and did not want to speak up. Now they finally realize what a loss to Hawaiians the telescope would be if not built here. Alas, it is going to India we are told. Hawaiians allowed a largely white wannabe Hawaiian protestor group dupe them.

      • I am not sure why you keep saying it is too late. The overwhelming majority of people in Hawaii want this project finished.
        It will get done.

        • There are published reports that this project is moving to India. Hawaiians realize the loss and now are coming forward. They should have done so a year or two ago.

    • Many Hawaiians feel this way and no, the mountain is not at alls sacred. God is sacred. Most Hawaiians are Christians. Anyway, it is too late to save this project.

    • I totally agree with mytake, and wish more native Hawaiians would step forward so future generations can prove to the world how great Hawaiians are, just as the Hokulea is doing. One thing I wonder about is that the anti-TMT people claim they always go to Mauna Kea to practice their religion. Where is the proof of their numerous visits? According to people who have worked at the site for numerous years, there is no recollection of seeing these visits. It would be very sad and devastating for Hawaiians’ future if astronomy goes away like the minority made the Superferry fail.

  • These guys are the legendary Paneewa guys of legal lore. Notice the proper legal terms useage small n native Hawaiian. Meaning 50-100 blood, nearest kinship group to 1778’s native population. Hawaiians and capital N Native Hawaiians do not carry the same legal power as small n native Hawaiians carry, which is the importance of this news. The former are basically salutary and state law involved, the native Hawaiians carry with them the power of federal Indian law.

  • These telescopes are commercial operations on conservation zoned land. So with enough hush money, conservation zoning laws don’t matter. Developers can bulldoze and dynamite stadium sized commercial operations on any land they want. These land based operations will never compete taking deep space pictures with Hubble space telescopes. SEE:

    • 1. These telescopes are not commercial operations. 2. The Hubble’s mirror is 2.4 meters, cost $2.5 billion, and could only be repaired by launching a mission to space. The TMT can collect more data, costs $1 billion less, and it takes, on average, an hour to drive there from any of the main population centers on the island.

      • These telescopes charge thousands of dollars a night in lease fees, while only paying one dollar a year rent. That is how they get the hush money. The hush money is an insult to all the people of Hawaii. These conservation zoned lands are priceless treasures to be protected for future generations. This is the meaning on conservation: The action of conserving something, in particular.•preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife. It looks like zoning laws don’t matter with enough hush money on the table.

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