Native Hawaiians set up 'toll booth' at Mauna Kea – but they aren't asking for money

MAUNA KEA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - State law enforcement officers moved in on Native Hawaiian home lands beneficiaries at Mauna Kea on Monday.

Department of Land and Natural Resources officers arrived at Mauna Kea around 8:15 a.m., where the beneficiaries set up a structure that they're calling a "safety counting educational station." They say they're counting cars on the road to the summit, educating drivers about the situations and asking for donations.

The beneficiaries say they want better management of Mauna Kea and Hawaiian home lands, adding that Hawaiians on the wait list are dying while only 5 percent of the 40,000 people on the wait list have received land.

Kalaniakea Wilson, a Hawaiian home lands beneficiary, said there are people who are benefitting from the use of Mauna Kea, but that those benefits should be going towards Hawaiians. That includes money raised from visitors and from viewing time at the telescopes.

"The amount of money that's going to this mountain that's not trickling down to the beneficiaries, so that's the University of Hawaii and the TMT," he said. "We're talking millions and millions of dollars and none of it is going to fulfill the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act."

They say they're up there specifically on Prince Kuhio Day because Prince Kuhio helped create the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. Though they're stopping drivers heading to the summit, they're not asking for anyone to turn around if they don't give money, nor are they demanding cash.

Wilson said they plan to stay there as long as possible.

Hawaii News Now has reached out to the DLNR, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and Department of Public Safety for more information.

This story will be updated.

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