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Stop Selective Prosecution and Desecration on Mauna Kea

This petition had 832 supporters

September 15, 2015


Office of the Governor

The Honorable David Y. Ige

Governor, State of Hawaiʻi

Executive Chambers

State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96813

Board of Land and Natural Resources

DLNR Main Office

Kalanimoku Building

1151 Punchbowl Street

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96813

Department of Land and Natural Resources (HAND DELIVERED)

Land Division

75 Aupuni Street, Room 204

Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720

Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) & Board Members (HAND DELIVERED)

Kukahauʻula, Room 131

640 North Aʻohoku place

Hilo, Hawaii 96720

To: Office of the Governor

The Honorable David Y. Ige

Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR)

Suzanne Case, Chairperson James A. Gomes, Board Member

Stanley H. Roehrig, Board Member Thomas Oi, Board Member

Keith “Keone” Downing, Board Member Ulalia Woodside, Board Member

Christopher Yuen, Board Member

Director of DLNR, Land Division

Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM)

Stephanie Nagata, Director Lehua Vincent, Board Member

Gregory Mooers, Board Member Herring Kalua, Board Member

Greg Chun, Board Member Douglas Simons, Board Member

Roger Imoto, Board Member Hannah Kiahalani Springer, Board Member


Re: Formal Complaint of Desecration and Mismanagement of Mauna a Wåkea

As students within the University of Hawaiʻi system, community members and Kanaka Maoli we are writing to make a formal complaint regarding the continued arrests of our people atop Mauna a Wākea under the DLNR Emergency Rules signed by Governor David Y. Ige and the recent bulldozing of ʻAhu O Ka Uakoko.

We strongly object to the discriminative measures of Governor David Y. Ige, BLNR, DLNR and OMKM. The actions taken on September 9th enforcing the Emergency Rules on Mauna a Wākea wrongfully targeted and selectively prosecuted those who have chosen to stand in protection of Mauna a Wākea and who have gathered in vigil there with the purpose of maintaining spiritual and customary ritual connections for the function of the protection of that place. Meanwhile, others who frequent the area during the restricted times, such as telescope workers and many tour groups, have been exempt from the same kind of persecution. In the barrage of arrests on September 9th, protectors of Mauna a Wākea were targeted for prosecution while those present, not in religious or cultural capacity, but for touring, were allowed to continue their stay, free from confrontation or prosecution. This action was an explicit display of discrimination.

In maintaining our connections, ʻAhu O Ka Uakoko was erected on June 24, 2015, with extreme specificity in a purposeful location, at the highest point of our archipelago, appropriately at the peak of the piko, which is the portal to the heavens. The destruction of our ahu atop Mauna a Wākea by OMKM is unacceptable. Those of us who built the ahu and conduct our religious and cultural activities there did not give permission to any entity to destroy it.  These infractions are in direct violation of our constitutional rights of equal protection which prohibits discrimination based on religion or ancestry. They are also in violation of our rights as Kanaka Maoli to exercise our traditions and customs for cultural, religious, and subsistence purposes in a way that is appropriate for our time and age. In the Hawai'i State Constitution Article 12,  Section 7, the State reaffirms and shall protect these rights.


The University of Hawai`i and OMKM has proven to be incapable of properly managing the natural resources within the conservation district atop Mauna a Wākea. According to the most recent EIS conducted, under the current lease, Mauna a Wākea has cumulatively suffered “substantial, significant and adverse impacts on cultural, archaeological, historical, and geological resources." The OMKM is willing to allow the TMT corporation to build what will be the highest building on our island and at the highest point of our entire island chain for astronomical as well as economic gain.


Furthermore, as residents of Hawaiʻi County, we have made continuous compromise for the astronomical resource atop Mauna a Wākea with island-wide building, height restrictions, dimmed streetlights to prevent light pollution and allowing the construction of the existing 13 observatory structures on Mauna a Wākea, in addition to the obvious, irreparable, perpetual damage caused to the ʻāina due to such construction.

We refuse to compromise any further. A Petition of Support is attached and we condemn the continued persecution of our people practicing cultural, religious and subsistence rights on Mauna a Wākea by Governor David Y. Ige, BLNR, DLNR and OMKM. We call for the dissolution of the DLNR Emergency Rules, in favor of other measures that practically ensure public safety and are not discriminately enforced.



Nā Wāhine Aloha ‘Āina

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