HomePacific IslanderControversial telescope to be built on sacred Hawaiian land

Controversial telescope to be built on sacred Hawaiian land

Thirty-Meter Telescope Project
The internationally-funded TMT International Observatory LLC, based in Pasadena, is building astronomy’s next generation telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Images courtesy TIO

Construction is set to begin on the Thirty-Meter Telescope Project on Mauna Kea in Hawaii Monday despite years of opposition from Native Hawaiian groups, reports Pasadena Now.

The project will be run by Pasadena’s TMT International Observatory.

“We have overwhelmingly demonstrated our opposition to the construction of the TMT in every venue; court cases, testimonies, declarations, hearings, forums, and community meetings,” said a Native Hawaiian group in a statement published in Big Island Now. The most explicit examples were the series of large protests and arrests of dozens of Kiaʻi (Protectors) on Maunakea which physically halted the construction of the TMT in 2015.

ʻAkolu, we reaffirm that Maunakea is sacred to Kanaka Maoli. The summit of Maunakea is kapu as the highest point in the Pacific. Therefore, like all humanity, we have sacred places that should be recognized and protected,” the statement went on to say.

Hawaii’s governor David Ige made the announcement that “the day for construction to begin has arrived.”

“We have learned much over the last 10-plus years on the unique importance of Mauna Kea to all, and we remain committed to being good stewards on the mountain and inclusive of the Hawaiian community,” said Henry Yang, TIO Board of Governors chairman.”

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