MAUNA KEA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Thirty Meter Telescope has launched a television ad campaign in a bid to garner support for the controversial project.
The 30-second commercial airing on local televisions stations, including Hawaii News Now, features master navigator Kalepa Baybayan.
In the ad, produced for the TMT International Observatory, Baybayan says that he believes Mauna Kea is a “deeply spiritual place.”
He adds, "There is more than enough room for people to have their own practice, cultural practice, scientific research, we just need to have the collective will to share the mauna.”
The ad campaign comes on the fourth week of a TMT protest at the base of Mauna Kea.
Protesters are blocking the access road to the summit, and have vowed to remain there until plans to build TMT on Mauna Kea are halted.
TMT supporters, meanwhile, say the $1.4 billion telescope will advance the science of astronomy considerably and mean a boost to the Big Island’s economy.
As TMT launches its new ad campaign, TMT opponents are also looking for new ways to get their message out.
Organizers at Pu’uhonua Pu’uhuluhulu established a website and social media pages weeks ago, but this weekend they hope to channel those digital resources to raise more awareness.
With Jam 4 Maunakea, they plan to bring together a host of artists for a live digital concert.