Day 11 of TMT: Hawaii County mayor acts as bridge between kiaʻi and TMT construction

Local News

Day 11 of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) standoff is once again underway on Mauna Kea.

KHON2 spoke with numerous kiai who continue to say that they are not against TMT or science, they just don’t want it on Mauna Kea.

Two days ago, Governor Ige announced that Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim would take the lead on the conflict at Mauna Kea regarding the construction of TMT.

Mayor Kim has been the official liaison between the kiai of Mauna kea and those in favor of TMT for roughly 48 hours.

When KHON2 sat down with him this afternoon, he was candid about wanting to find a positive resolution to the conflict and made it clear that he does not have any authority to stop TMT from being built on Mauna Kea.

Kim’s plan moving forward is to bring together other prominent Native Hawaiians in the community to engage in the conversation. He tells KHON2, that could help foster more ideas and a positive step in the right direction.

He also wants to dispell the rumors that have plagued the conflict since the kiaʻi began their demonstration on Mauna Kea access road on July 15.

He reaffirms his role as a mediator and clarifies that he has no power to halt construction. Although Governor David Ige has not given him a timeline, Kim says he is hopeful he can forge an agreement that everyone can live with before it tears the community apart.

“What I saw coming is what is happening here today, confrontation, polarization, and a growing one,” said Mayor Kim. “We as a small community of only 200,000 people and elsewhere we can’t afford this and we will all lose, and what I’m trying to do is see if we can find a better way as that says to get to where we can go.”

“I’ve got two responsibilities here, protectors so they can exercises their right by law, protesting bringing up an issue out to the open. My responsibility is also to the public who are not part of that group so that they can carry on and function,” he said.

“Some people think the issue is the scope but that’s not the only issue. A lot of the demonstration is because of the generations of hurt coming out.”

“I tell the protectors. ‘you know, I’m not your enemy. You know, you’re not my enemy, we can join hands to get better.”

Kim also addressed the governor’s emergency proclamation and the closure of Mauna Kea to all.

He says although he agrees that kiaʻi and other Native Hawaiians should have access to the summit to practice their religious and cultural beliefs, the courts are best suited to make those decisions because the governors emergency proclamation is still in effect.

But he was adamant that the national guard will not be brought in at this point.

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