Hawaii County Mayor releases vision for Mauna Kea moving forward

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HILO (KHON2) — After months of zero construction activity on Mauna Kea, because protestors continue to illegally block access, Mayor Harry Kim has released a booklet on the government’s next move. Governor David Ige gave Mayor Kim the task to reach common ground between those against and for the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope. After countless hours and meetings, Mayor Kim has put together a vision titled “Moving Forward.”

The booklet addresses wrongs of the past and how to do better. One pledge from the Governor is to restructure the management of Mauna Kea.

“I’m hoping that this will make an opening that we are sincere and we do want to make things better and Mauna Kea can be a part of that, Thirty Meter Telescope can be a part of that. So the burden is on us to show the sincerity of going forward,” said Mayor Kim.

Those against the TMT project also agree.

“It does address potentially a shift and a change in the management structure of Mauna Kea which is something that everybody knows is something that needs to happen,” said Kahookahi Kanuha, one of the leaders of the protectors of Mauna Kea.

There’s also a pledge from the University of Hawaii about establishing a cultural facility and practitioners site on the Mauna. But those against the project say the vision does not address the biggest issue.

“The plan calls for that building for that telescope which goes against our most our strongest concerns, really the foundation of the reason why we are here,” said Kanuha.

Mayor Kim’s next move is to get a group of community members together to make the vision outlined in the booklet into a reality.

“There is a whole community out there that is very concerned where we go and how we get there and so there are much smarter and more experienced people than me will have to sit down and decide how to get these people involved so it’s a very good, fair, balanced on going forward,” said Mayor Kim.

“I don’t know who those leaders are. I don’t know who they will be but I do know that they should come from the community and they should be designated by the community. That the community should have trust. That the Hawaiians should have trust,” said Kanuha.

TMT officials say the pathway has been unclear but Mayor Kim’s “Way Forward” addresses a number of the larger issues beyond TMT that include self-determination and management of Mauna Kea. They are also open to working together as soon as possible.

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