HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairperson Colette Machado and trustee Dan Ahuna sent a letter to Gov. Ige respectfully demanding the halt of TMT construction, which is set to begin Monday.
The letter was dated Friday and signed off by Machado and Ahuna.
In the letter, they strongly urged Ige to stop construction until four steps are taken.
They want Ige to condemn and prohibit further government action to provoke or intimidate Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners; coordinate next steps with proper agencies including Native Hawaiians to “alleviate tensions”; prohibit force against non-violent demonstrators; and ensure safety and rights to those who exercise cultural practices and right to peacefully protest.
Both sides on the issue — the state along with Native Hawaiians — have been gearing up for potential conflicts on the mountain Monday when crews are set to begin work.
Supporters of the project say the benefits from the telescope could include incredible scientific breakthroughs. They argue that Mauna Kea is the best place in the world for the telescope due to its altitude and pristine conditions for astronomy and exploration.
OHA however pointed out in the letter that the state acknowledged Mauna Kea has been mismanaged over the years, and accused the state of mere “lip service” and dismissing concerns of the Native Hawaiian community.
Hawaii News Now has reached out to the governor’s office for a response to the letter. We have not yet heard back.
Read the letter in full below: