HONOLULU — Sensing new momentum for the cause, opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope have turned up their outreach campaign this week to rally against the $1.4 billion project and push for Native Hawaiian rights.
At least four rallies were scheduled on Oahu this week culminating with unity marches on four islands on Saturday, including one through Waikiki starting at 2 p.m.
“There’s a collective momentum gaining all around the islands,” said Lanakila Mangauil, one of the high-profile Maunakea protest leaders who has a full schedule of speaking engagements on Oahu this week followed by appearances in Las Vegas, Utah and New York City next week.
On Monday, the Hawaiian island cultural educator joined a sign-waving at the Department of Hawaiian Homelands in Kapolei and then spoke to more than 500 people in the evening.
Mangauil was scheduled to conduct a “Mana ‘o Maunakea” outreach at Papakolea Park Tuesday night, while tonight he plans to join Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu in a presentation at Windward Community College.
Today, Mangauil is scheduled to appear in Waimanalo at Hui Malama O Ke Kai at 5 :30 p.m.
Organizers of the Kukahi “Together We Rise” Unity March say they are hoping to attract thousands to an event that kicks off at Ala Moana Beach Park and culminates at Kapiolani Park with music and speeches from 4:30-6 p.m. Mangauil expects to speak again.
Mangauil said he encourages his audiences to educate themselves about the aloha aina movement and urges them to take action. He also discusses the importance of kapu aloha, the nonviolent form of protest he described as the hallmark of the TMT protest.
“It’s the unifying theme that holds us together for what we know as pono,” he said.
Similar unity marches are planned simultaneously on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and in Yokohama, Japan.
Anti-TMT forces aren’t the only ones planning events this week. At noon Friday a panel discussion sponsored by Imua TMT is scheduled at the state Capitol Auditorium. The topic: Can culture and science co-exist on Maunakea?
One of the panelists is retired Judge Walter Heen, who was the first director of the Office of Maunakea Management and a former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee.
Others on the panel are Makana Silva, a Native Hawaiian astrophysics student, and Samuel Wilder King II, executive director of Imua TMT. The poster for the event says Silva and King camped out on Maunakea and spoke with protest leaders and are expected to discuss the experience.