Hawaiians Protest New Mauna Kea Telescope

The Mauna Kea is the highest mountain in the Hawaiian Islands and home to a huge dormant volcano. However, it is also home to the Mauna Kea Observatory where native Hawaiians are protesting the new Mauna Kea telescope, the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT). The Mauna Kea telescope project has caused the protesters to travel to the area to dispute its creation due to the sacredness of the Mauna Kea or Mauna O Wakea Mountain. Mauna Kea is considered by the natives as the most sacred place in the entire Hawaiian archipelago because of the belief that several Hawaiian gods live on its peak.

Mauna Kea Telescope Needs Clean, Unpolluted Home

The Mauna Kea Mountain is already home to 13 other telescopes due to its clean location. The island is so far out into the Pacific Ocean that it has a cleaner atmosphere. This makes it the perfect spot for the new Thirty-Meter-Telescope project to be built. This telescope is so powerful it allows astronomers to view galactic events right at the edge of our universe, so it is a very exciting adventure for future scientific studies.

In addition, astronomy being conducted on Mauna Kea is bringing money into Hawaii, so the state is in favor of the new TMT. This is not the first time that natives have protested against things being built on the mountain, as similar fights have been happening ever since any of these things were being constructed there, making the protest against the Mauna Kea telescope a part of one continuing adventure by local protestors.

Protest Against TMT Has Deeper Meanings

The current Mauna Kea telescope protest is caused by the belief that the spiritual and sacred things are more than just a religious concept and don’t agree with western thinking. To the protestors, it is a way of life; their way of connecting to the mountain and what it stands for in their beliefs. The protesters say they are not against science or technology, but are against being pushed or forced into accepting the building of the TMT, and other similar projects.

The Mauna Kea telescope isn’t being constructed on one of the sacred areas, but it is still a huge undertaking. It is projected to be 18-stories tall and take up five acres of space on the sacred mountain. Even though it went through many environmental and cultural impact reviews, and was supported by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) in 2009, recent polls say that 61 percent of the local people are against it and want the OHA to oppose the Mauna Kea Telescope.

In answer to this desire, the OHA organized a meeting on April 24 for representatives from the affected parties. Delegates from the Representative’s office, the Workplace of Mauna Kea Administration, College of Hawaii, Mauna Kea `Ohana, and Mauna Kea Hui were to gather to inspect the new Mauna Kea Telescope to decide its fate, as well as discuss opposing views on whether any more construction will be allowed on the mountain in the future. Despite the meeting, protests will continue.

Whether its building a multi-faceted gigantic observatory, or paragliding, the human condition never seems to tire of the skies: