As police prepare for TMT protests, Kim unveils guiding document, advisory committee

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo The clouds part Jan. 12, 2017, showing a snow-capped Mauna Kea from Alae Cemetery in Hilo.

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo Opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope protest June 24, 2015, atop Maunakea.

HILO — While law enforcers are preparing a response to anticipated protests of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea, Mayor Harry Kim is talking to stakeholders, has assembled a committee of Hawaiian cultural leaders and released his vision statement for the mountain’s future.

“I don’t think there’s anything more important than us resolving this in a good way … meaning that it benefits the people of Hawaii and the world,” Kim said Monday. “Those are not just words to me.”


Attorney General Clare Connors told lawmakers last month Hawaii County will take the lead in the state’s response to protesters who attempt to interrupt construction of the telescope, which is expected to resume within the next few months.

Protests of the planned $1.4 billion observatory interrupted groundbreaking in 2014 and halted construction in 2015.

The state Supreme Court overturned its land-use permit because of due process violations. The high court in November, however, affirmed a new permit after another contested case hearing.

Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Bugado said Hawaii Police Department will take the lead in any enforcement action “since we have the most resources on the island.”

“Our main objective, of course, is to be sure there are no blockades or blockages in the road (to the summit),” Bugado said. “The opponents of the project have every right to protest, and we’re going to be sure to provide a safe area for the protesters, if they do want to protest the project.”

Some opponents, who call themselves “protectors” of Maunakea, said they plan to block construction vehicles again as they did in 2015. The mountain has cultural significance to Native Hawaiians, and some consider it sacred.

Bugado noted that while county police will take the lead, they will be assisted by officers from the state Sheriff’s Division and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Both state and county law enforcers responded to protesters blocking the Maunakea Access Road in 2015 outside and above the visitor information station. Arrests were made, but many charges were later dropped.

County police officers left after protesters reached the state-owned portion of the road near Halepohaku. Bugado affirmed county police will continue leading enforcement efforts on state property, as well.

Kim, meanwhile, said he has had discussions with the governor, attorney general, University of Hawaii Board of Regents, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Kamehameha Schools, Keaukaha and Panaewa community associations, Liliuokalani Trust and other interested individuals in developing his “Vision for Maunakea” statement.

“For us to go forward, our main responsibility is to understand the whole issue of discontent,” Kim said, and added, “this is from 1893.”

That was the year the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in a coup d’état by a group of businessmen and sugar planters, who forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate the throne.

“I think this is a very important issue for a lot of people in this state — and I’m not talking about the telescope. I’m talking about the polarization of people. And that is my biggest concern,” Kim said.

Kim’s statement said his vision is “about what Maunakea can be for the world.”

That vision statement, released to the Tribune-Herald on Monday, includes Maunakea as “a symbol of nations working together for the pursuit of peace and harmony,” as well as “a symbol of native Hawaiian heritage and the inseparability of nature and culture” and “a recognition of a deeply painful history of intrusions on the first Nation of Hawaii … .”

Kim’s Maunakea Core Committee includes: Chad Kalepa Baybayan, master navigator and a captain of the Polynesian Voyaging Society canoe Hokule‘a; Gregory Chun, Ph.D., Office of Maunakea Management board chairman and UH’s senior adviser on Maunakea; Lucille Chung of the Hawaiian Civic Club; Larry Kimura, associate professor of Hawaiian language at UH-Hilo; Kepa Maly, cultural ethnographer resource specialist at Lana‘i Culture and Heritage Center; and Ka‘iulani Pahio, director of community programs at Kanu o ka ‘Aina Learning ‘Ohana.

Kim said his mission is to get more people together and see if, somehow, “we can come to some kind of agreement.”

“I have yet to meet anyone who refused to talk to me,” he said. “I have yet to meet anyone where we parted in anger or frustration or anything like that, because the whole mission is to get them to understand what I’m trying to do.”

The mayor stressed that the state and county are working “together for the enforcement of the policies on Maunakea.”


“I know they are working to ensure that there’s harmony and no conflict in who does what,” Kim said.

Email John Burnett at

  1. diverdave February 5, 2019 2:35 am

    Kim said his mission is to get more people together and see if, somehow, “we can come to some kind of agreement.”
    Kim still hasn’t learned his lesson yet. There is NO negotiating with these folks!

  2. fishman2 February 5, 2019 3:06 am

    Most people are tired of this fake sacred stuff.

    1. Charlie Ireland February 5, 2019 10:07 am

      Nothing fake about it. It’s a shame most people are loosing respect for lands considered scared by certain people. This is the Land which belongs to the Nation of Hawaii.

      1. RKimo February 5, 2019 10:49 am

        The land belongs to no one. The Earth was here first and will be here long after man has destroyed himself.

      2. diverdave February 5, 2019 12:17 pm

        It only became “sacred” in recent years. Back in the day they used it as a rock quarry.

  3. diverdave February 5, 2019 3:29 am

    John Barnett says “That was the year (1893) the Kingdom of Hawaii was
    overthrown in a coup d’état by a group of businessmen and sugar
    planters, who forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate the throne.”
    John please learn your history. Liliuokalani was allowed to just go home to
    her residence at Washington Place after the change in government model
    from a Kingdom to a Representative Republic,The Republic of Hawaii. Two
    years later in 1895 she attempted a counter revolution that was a
    dismal failure when she and co-conspirators could only muster 175 men to
    help her, and many men died. (The Polynesians refused to come support
    her, as they refuse the night of the Revolution). She was, of course, put under
    arrest and convicted of mistreason. She was held in house arrest in the Palace, not a bad place
    to hang out when given two maids in waiting, a piano, quilting supplies,
    etc. After only seven months, at the advice of her Lawyers and friends,
    she willfully abdicated her throne and swore allegiance to the Republic
    of Hawaii. Never for the rest of her life verbally in interviews, or in
    her diary, did she ever claim she did it under duress.
    She wrote in her abdication (search: Liliuokalani’s abdication):
    “First. In order to avoid any possibility of doubt or
    misunderstanding although I do not think that any doubt or misunderstanding is either
    proper or possible, I hereby do fully and unequivocally admit and
    declare that the Government of the Republic of Hawaii is the only lawful
    Government of the Hawaiian Islands, and that the late Hawaiian monarchy
    is finally and forever ended, and no longer of any legal or actual
    validity, force or effect whatsoever; and I do hereby forever absolve
    all persons whomsoever, whether in the Hawaiian Islands or elsewhere, from
    all and every manner of allegiance, or official obligation or duty, to me and my heirs and successors forever, and I hereby declare to all such persons in the Hawaiian Islands that I consider them as bound in duty and honor henceforth to support and sustain the Government of the
    Republic of Hawaii.”

    1. Charlie Ireland February 5, 2019 10:19 am

      So do you believe as I do that the Nation of Hawaii was an illegal occupation of the United States? I mean Clinton even had to apologize for what had happened.

      1. diverdave February 5, 2019 12:15 pm

        Absolutely not. The silly so called “Apology Resolution” was nothing but another Democrat effort to continue to get support from Polynesians for Akaka in Hawaii, after once again the Akaka Bill went no where. The Polynesians fall for rhetoric, and free handout programs every time.

        The Republic of Hawaii offered an annexation treaty to two U.S. Presidents, before a third decided to accept. The U.S. didn’t need possession of the Islands as they already had a long term lease on Pearl Harbor given them by the Kalakaua Dynasty in exchange for a reciprocity trade treaty Kalakaua wanted.

        Since Statehood this whole narrative has actually been encouraged by the Democrat Party, run by the Asians, to encourage Polynesians to focus on free stuff, and the sovereignty movement. All the while the Asians are running the show in this State.
        Recently they have convinced the Polynesians that they shouldn’t even vote in elections because they would be committing “war crimes”. Just too silly.

        1. diverdave February 5, 2019 1:17 pm

          Charlie only after you start reading materials of the day will you realize that the Polynesians today want to tell the Polynesians then what they should have wanted.

          Onipa’a, or steadfast, was a phrase coined for Liliuokalani by J.L. Kaulukou, who had been once a supporter of Liluokalani’s brother, the scandalous Kalakaua.
          Kaulukou is credited with giving her the description “steadfast” in
          1886 which she adopted as her personal motto. But after her attempt to put
          forth her own constitution Kalulukou changed his mind about her after her attempt at power grabbing.

          John Kaulukou was the Speaker of House of the Republic of Hawaii at the time of annexation. As Kaulukou told the San Francisco Chronicle on July 28, 1898, “I regard Annexation as the best thing that could happen for Hawaii, both native and foreign population. I have advocated it ever since it became an issue in political politics and I rejoice heartily that it has come. For years I have looked upon it as being, if not inevitable, at least as the only way in which the best interests of Hawaii could be protected and advanced”

          So, here is a Polynesian-Hawaiian, Speaker of the House of the Republic of Hawaii, (which was dominated by Polynesian-Hawaiians) saying annexation was best for all.

  4. IRLOYAL February 5, 2019 5:41 am

    I don’t get it. Hawaiians are recognized all over the world as observers. The Hoku or Lani was observed by the ancients to determine how to travel to Hawaii. I understand there is cultural significance to Mauna Kea and there are certainly areas that are considered sacred, but using a portion of the mountain to observe hoku is no less sacred an endeavor than the alakaʻi looking to the heavens for guidance to new lands.

    1. Charlie Ireland February 5, 2019 10:11 am

      From what I remember, the area this new project is is very close to areas that are very scared,

      1. Thayne Currie February 5, 2019 10:54 am

        Charlie, it is very far away from key traditional sites: Lake Waiu, Pu’u Poliahu, Pu’u Weiku, etc. It will not block key sightlights to Haleakala. There are no documented traditional burials or shrines on the TMT site and the closest (ancient) ones are downslope of the telescope. In fact, the TMT site was specifically chosen to be as minimally impactful to cultural resources as possible.

      2. RKimo February 5, 2019 10:59 am

        There are no historic properties, no burial sites in Area E. It’s a lava flow.
        A slab of basalt. Over 10 years went into the process of EIS. Three separate and independent ones were done.Numerous Kupuna were consulted.
        Experts on similar sites were consulted. No bones were found.

    2. RKimo February 5, 2019 10:48 am

      TMT is a soft target.

  5. FreddyBurke February 5, 2019 8:10 am

    “I have yet to meet anyone who refused to talk to me,” he said. “I have yet to meet anyone where we parted in anger or frustration or anything like that…” that’s what happens when you don’t invite anyone on the other side of the issue.

  6. Kaipo Wall February 5, 2019 10:49 am

    Respect the mana of the mauna

    1. Physics Police February 5, 2019 3:41 pm

      What greater respect can we give to the mana of the mauna than recognize it as the superior location for scientific discovery?

      1. diverdave February 5, 2019 8:15 pm

        It is a political issue, not a scientific one. It’s about sovereignty activism.

        1. Physics Police February 5, 2019 11:58 pm

          Sure, for some people it may be about sovereignty activism. But for Kaipo Wall it sounds like it’s about respect. Which is odd to me because I don’t understand why someone would see building TMT as disrespectful. Are you saying this idea of disrespect is a lie perpetrated by sovereignty activists?

          1. fishman2 February 7, 2019 7:15 am


  7. RKimo February 5, 2019 10:50 am

    Always interesting how they put the women and keiki up front. They love the cameras. Where are the BIG STRONG Warriors? Cowards.

  8. fishman2 February 5, 2019 10:57 am

    Why isn’t the Nation of Hawaii building the telescope?

    1. Thayne Currie February 5, 2019 10:58 am

      because they can get others [TMT] to pay for it instead?

  9. Frank M. Pelteson February 5, 2019 12:14 pm

    The vast amount of knowledge that this impressively high-tech telescope will provide about deep, deep, deep space will be denied to mankind by this form of provincialism. Already there are moves afoot made to start anew with such an incredible telescope on islands in other parts of the world. The narrow-minded have always stood in the way of human progress.

    Hawaii will forego the credit for helping to provide such unimaginable new knowledge to mankind with these tactics.

  10. Sara Steiner-jackson February 5, 2019 3:20 pm

    The State decides land use on Maunakea but lets the County shoot the Hawaiians. It’s ok though, Hawaii Supreme Court recently ruled Hawaiians CAN practice their religion in jail (if they dont get shot)…

    1. RKimo February 5, 2019 3:59 pm

      Sara get your psych meds adjusted. Cops shoot people who are an impending threat to them. Are you really this stupid? Cops have families and want to go home to them. Really Sara?

      1. Susan Rosier February 5, 2019 6:07 pm

        There is an epidemic of fatal shootings by police in these Islands .. or perhaps you are blind to it!

        1. diverdave February 5, 2019 8:13 pm

          That’s because there is an epidemic of people pulling guns on the police. Hello!

          1. RKimo February 6, 2019 1:35 pm

            She is just one of those idiots that resent all forms of authority.

        2. RKimo February 6, 2019 1:34 pm

          And you know the COMPLETE story. Assumption, rumor and the stupid coconut wireless does more damage. Do you think cops WANT to kill people? The epidemic is coming from ice heads having psychotic episodes of intense RAGE. Houses get robbed. guns get stolen. Maniacs point guns at cops Maniacs get shot and hopefully killed by cops that are protecting themselves and us. Idiot. Assumption that turns to truth is the danger.

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