HONOLULU (KHON2) — In a House Chamber meeting with the new legislative session, House Speaker Scott Saiki spoke to representatives urging effectiveness and action as the state works to recover from an economically strained pandemic.

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“I know many of you, like me, have mixed messages about this legislative session,” the house speaker began to say.

Speaker Saiki detailed a number of pressing issues facing the state ranging from COVID-19 vaccine distribution and testing efficiency, education strains, the struggles of local businesses and even Mauna Kea.

In his speech, the speaker announced that the house will be looking into legislation that pushes for a new governance structure of Mauna Kea.

The University of Hawaii has held the master lease to manage the astronomy precinct and the natural, cultural and preservation area since 1968. The master lease is set to expire in 2033 and the University is currently working to extend it. The University has tried to manage Mauna Kea, but for too long the University’s work has been shrouded by its inability to appropriately manage cultural practices, resources and education. This is why the University of Hawaii must no longer manage Mauna Kea and it should cease its work to extend the master lease.

Scott Saiki, Hawaii House Speaker

Executive Director of Mauna Kea Stewardship Greg Chun says the announcement was not a surprise based on previous conversations University officials have had with Speaker Saiki.

We will continue to do everything that we have been doing. You know, whether that be decommissioning telescopes, updating our master plan, implementing our administrative rules, I mean, there are literally six or seven major initiatives that we have going on. And those all set the stage for hopefully, a successful application for a new land authorization. If the state decides they would like to seek a different direction, that’s something we (University of Hawaii) will work with them on. 

Greg Chun. University of Hawaii, Executive Director of Mauna Kea Stewardship