HILO — Gov. David Ige just issued a statement in which he calls upon Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim “to coordinate both county and state efforts to peacefully attempt to reach common ground with the protectors of Maunakea and the broader community. Mayor Kim is closest to the situation and the impacts are greatest on the island he leads.”
“We both share the goal of achieving a resolution that is peaceful and satisfactory to as many as possible in the community,” Ige said. “I support the vision he has widely articulated for Maunakea as a beacon of hope and discovery for the world that brings us together rather than divides us. And we both understand that the issues underlying what is taking place today are far deeper than TMT or Maunakea. They are about righting the wrongs done to the Hawaiian people going back more than a century.
“While Mayor Kim will be taking the lead, hard decisions will need to be jointly supported by the state and county and we will be working together to determine next steps that are in the best interests of all the people of Hawaii.”
Kahookahi Kanuha, one of the protest leaders, reacted to Gov. Ige’s announcement earlier today that Mayor Harry Kim would be leading the negotiations with the protesters.
“We’ll see what (the announcement) means,” he said.
“(Mayor Kim has) visited here three times, he knows the community … his leadership may be more understanding,” Kanuha said.
Kanuha also noted that, “For the first time, Ige did not refer to us as protesters.” Ige referred to them “as protectors of Maunakea.”
Kanuha also noted that Ige acknowledged that the issue for the protesters is not just TMT, but more than a century of “marginalization of kanaka.”