Local Connection: TMT Support among Native Hawaiians

Local Connection: TMT Support among Native Hawaiians

Last week on Hawaii News Now, two Native Hawaiian leaders did something courageous which really should not have taken so much courage.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Peter Apo and master navigator Kalepa Baybayan explained why they still support construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea.

They point out that the search for knowledge was a core Hawaiian value, and it was astronomy that guided ancient Polynesians across the pacific. They agree Maunakea is sacred and has been mismanaged. But that doesn't mean the mountain can't be a revered foundation for the advancement of science and education, particularly for Hawaii's keiki.

For stating their views, they have been called traitors and had their Hawaiian values questioned.

They also lament that other prominent Native Hawaiians have not come forward to express their support for the TMT.

That's a shame because their silence leaves the opinions of opponents unchallenged, even though polls indicate that a majority of Hawaiians support the project.

It's time for Native Hawaiians who support TMT to stand up for their beliefs. If not for the sake of the project, but for the sake of free speech — a value both sides should support.

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