Construction of TMT poses conflict for those who want science to progress but also respect culture

Local News

While Hawaii Island is big it’s also small at the same time, meaning everyone knows everyone in some way, which is why this issue becomes more intense and emotional depending on what role they play.

Whether you’re for TMT or not, the topic has divided many.

Sean Mitay, a Hilo native said, “Being a Native Hawaiian for me personally there’s a big conflict because one, Mauna Kea is the piko of this island, this moku and its a sacred place.”

Many kiaʻi or protectors of Mauna Kea say they don’t oppose science or astronomy it’s the sacred land becoming too crowded.

“I do see education opportunities could be benefited through telescopes… But I’m still kind of against TMT though just because we have 13 up, we don’t need one big one,” said Mitay.

And while five of the 13 are planned to come down only one is going through the environmental process so far to be removed.

Mitay said, “There has to be a line drawn and I believe Mauna Kea is that line that we as Kanaka Maoli have chosen to put our foot down.”

But there are Kanaka Maoli on the other end who support TMT and believe there is a benefit between science and culture

Jacqui Hoover, President of Hawaii Leeward Planning Conference said, “I believe science is an option our kupuna would have embraced.”

“I’m very concerned that we’re losing opportunities to help our children transition into the world we live in today. We need jobs, we need education, we need our community to have options other than those that we currently have.”

Some people on Mauna Kea say it’s really a trust issue. They said there were too many times where they told them this would be the last telescope put in but more and more kept being built. But according to TMT officials the project will create 300 jobs and expend about 26 million dollars annually.

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