Disputes over Mauna Kea telescopes await peaceful resolution

The Universe. Space. Tech  – 04.09.2022


Management of the reserve at the top of the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea is transferred to a commission of 11 representatives. 5 telescopes will be dismantled, but it is expected that the confrontation will stop and after 2033 the lease of land for scientific purposes will continue.

Telescopes on the top of Mauna Kea. Source: skyandtelescope.org

History of the telescope controversy

The Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea has an altitude of 4205 meters above sea level. Due to its inherent cleanliness and low humidity, it is one of the best places in the world for astronomical observations. That is why, back in the early 1960s, the University of Hawaii built its first telescope with a mirror diameter of 2.2 m on top of it.

In 1968, the entire top of the mountain from 3505 meters and above was leased to this scientific institution for 65 years. A nature reserve was set up on the site, the land of which the university began to sublet to various scientific institutions for the construction of new telescopes. Over the past 60 years, a total of 13 have been built on the mountain.

Mauna Kea Observatories - IfA Facilities

However, Mauna Kea is a sacred place for the indigenous people of Hawaii. And the protection of nature in the above conditions caused a lot of doubts. So, since the beginning of the 21st century, local activists have been actively opposing astronomers.

Activists. Source: skyandtelescope.org

Controversy erupted with particular force when plans for the construction of a giant 30-dimensional telescope on Mauna Kea were published. 2/3 of Hawaii’s population and half of its indigenous population supported this decision, but activists resorted to numerous actions and repeatedly stopped construction.

Also, due to the protests, the University of Hawaii management refused to build 4 of the 6 planned remote telescopes of the Keck Observatory.

New leadership of Mauna Kea

Recently, the government of Hawaii passed a law that should stop the confrontation. According to it, the University of Hawaii reserves the right to manage 220 hectares of territory on which 12 of the 13 telescopes are located. And the remaining 2,100 hectares will be managed by a special commission of 11 members, which will include a large number of representatives of various organizations, including activists advocating the dismantling of telescopes.

By 2028, it is planned to negotiate the dismantling of a number of telescopes already built on the mountain. At the same time, negotiations will be held on extending the lease after 2033. Now it is planned that five telescopes will be dismantled.

At the same time, negotiations will be held on extending the lease after 2033. Now it will be the Submillimeter Observatory of the California Institute of Technology, the Hoku-Kea Observatory with a training telescope in it, the infrared telescope of the United Kingdom, the James Clerk Maxwell Observatory and the fifth telescope, which will still be determined. It is planned that five telescopes will be dismantled. At the same time, nothing new will be built in their place at all.

Construction of a 30-meter telescope

The construction of new telescopes on Mauna Kea is still a big question. So far, there is no certainty even with regard to the 30-meter telescope. The Scientific Foundation managing its construction has ordered a new environmental assessment to attract more funds.

The project of a 30-meter telescope. Source: skyandtelescope.org

The University of Hawaii has announced that it will be the last facility to be built on the mountain and it will not be located at the very top, but much lower. It is expected that the rent for the use of the land on which the telescope will be located will amount to one million dollars per year.


Universe Tech. Center

Mauna Kea


Ke Aupuni Update

Keeping in touch and updated on activities regarding the restoration of Ke Aupuni o Hawaii, the Hawaiian Kingdom. Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono.
Leon Siu – Hawaiian National
Mauna Kea – It’s time to play the jurisdiction card.
On October 30, the Hawaii State Supreme Court ruled to allow the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to proceed. The decision is a disappointment to the Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners and protectors who asserted Mauna Kea is sacred and that it is being desecrated. The matter is not pau yet.
First, this recent decision can be challenged all the way up to the US Supreme Court. Second, the permitting process could take another two years. Third, the protectors are committed and prepared to continue blocking construction, to precipitate further court challenges.
The builders said two years ago that if there were any more delays they would have to cut their losses and move on. Well, that was two years ago and they are still here. Yet even with their win in the court last week, two more years are looming before they can start construction. You would think they would just pick up and leave… unless the fix is in to fast-track the permitting process… again.
The decision was not surprising. Hawaiians trying to win the case on the basis that the TMT proponents were insensitive to „native rights“ under U.S. law was a weak argument; too many subjective factors. What should have been argued by the protectors was: jurisdiction.The issue is not whether or not the state is in compliance with it policies and procedural requirements, but whether the state has any authority at all in the Hawaiian Islands, especially over lands.
The mistake is, trying to make the state comply to its own laws, when the real issue is that their American laws are invalid in the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands. Compliance is not the issue; jurisdiction is. By arguing over compliance to American laws, rules and regulations, one accepts American jurisdiction. Instead of Hawaiians arguing over compliance to American law, we should be insisting on compliance to Hawaiian Kingdom law.
How about in the next round with TMT, we challenge the State to prove lawful jurisdiction in the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands.
The fake election just completed in the fake State of Hawaii was another overwhelming victory for the chief oppressor: the Democratic Party of Hawaii. This is the party that swept into power in 1956, ushered in “statehood” in 1959 and has literally been the local muscle doing the bidding of the U.S. in Hawaii from day one of statehood… The Democratic Party controls the government, the laws, the lands, the commerce and the people of the Hawaiian Islands.
Their dominance is so complete that the fake-state is synonymous with the Democratic Party. So when we talk about boondoggles like TMT, the Rail, Kaka’ako, Ho’opili… When we talk about the Akaka Bill, Fed Wreck, DOI hearings… malfeasance in OHA, DLNR and DHHL… runaway development and exploitation… homelessness, foreclosures, evictions… the crushing cost of living… etc. it is all at the feet of the dictator in charge… the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
Impact of the  Bolomet  foreclosure case   
As mentioned in the last Ke Aupuni Update, Judge Castagnetti reversed her previous ruling and put the foreclosure actions against Routh on hold for now. As to the bigger question of jurisdiction, the judge appears to have put it off until the next court date in February 2019.
This new development has caused a lot of excitement throughout the lahui. This could have a huge impact on pending cases of Hawaiian patriots standing their ground against the unlawful system.
Community meetings are being held throughout the islands to discuss the implications. Strategies are being developed to assert Hawaiian nationality. At least two neighborhood boards on Oahu have inquired of the State Attorney General whether serving on neighborhood board under an illegal governing body of a foreign state constitute criminal violations under international law. It will be interesting to see how the AG responds.
Foreign Affairs 
The momentum is building. Having a consistent, friendly presence at the UN over the years as a non-member petitioner is beginning to produce results. Dr. deZayasʻ memorandum is one of them. Several other initiatives are in the works and will begin to surface soon.
During September, I attended back-to-back, the session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the opening week of the UN General Assembly in New York. Several valuable new connections were made. In October, I was invited to participate in an international economic conference in Taiwan, hosted by the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
I am headed to Geneva and New York in December to pick up the momentum in advancing our initiatives in those two places, and to brief our friends in the international community on the progress being made here in the islands.
Celebrating La Kuʻokoʻa
Besides the numerous celebrations all over our country (the Hawaiian Islands), places like California and New York are also set to celebrate this important  Kingdom  holiday. Make it a point either attend an event near you … or organize one yourself! Whatever you do, video it and post it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. We want the world to know the Hawaiian Kingdom is alive and celebrating!   
Malama pono,
Leon Siu