Friday | November 17, 2017
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Ige taps Kim to lead working group on Mauna Kea peace monument

Gov. David Ige has tapped Mayor Harry Kim to lead a working group to create a “living monument for world peace” on Mauna Kea.

In an Oct. 14 letter to the mayor, Ige pledged to “make myself, my staff and my resources” available to achieve this goal.

“I could think of no better person than you to lead and organize a working group of like-minded individuals to create a Living Monument for World Peace on Mauna Kea,” Ige said in the letter to Kim.

“This journey will test all of us and will go beyond the merging of culture, science, education, economics and the environment,” Ige said. “On this journey, we must be mindful that we are able to call Hawaii our home today because of the grace, mutual respect and aloha that were given to us as a gift by the People of Hawaii’s First Nation.”

Ige could not be reached Friday for details about the level of support and resources that would be available.

Kim has been promoting a world peace park on Mauna Kea since he was inaugurated in December. But he said Friday a path to peace has been a life goal of his since he first learned as a child about Switzerland’s neutrality in the midst of warring nations.

The Switzerland analogy may not be that far off, as groups spar over the construction of a new telescope on the mountain. The permitting process for the Thirty Meter Telescope has created deep divisions on the island, as scientists, environmentalists, Native Hawaiians and other residents take sides.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources on a 5-2 vote Sept. 28 approved a permit for TMT developers, but opponents vowed to continue to fight it.

Kim wants the park, or monument, or whatever is ultimately decided, to be an oasis on the mountain where people can come together and work out whatever differences they have in a respectful manner. He also envisions a museum celebrating the accomplishments of the Hawaiian people, as well as acknowledging the wrongs committed against them.

“This is such a worthy mission as Mauna Kea and Hawaii so rightfully deserve to be globally recognized as cultural and natural treasures. A place on this earth as a symbol of diverse people living together peacefully and respectfully in harmony with nature,” Kim said in a return letter Thursday to Ige.

“This is of Hawaii, and the people of the First Nation that grew out of a painful history of wrongs and today finds a cosmopolitan people remarkable to the world,” Kim said. “This treasured place of Hawaii should be and can be a beacon of hope for peace in this world.”

There are still a lot of unknowns.

Kim said Friday he will take two or three weeks to choose about eight people to be on the working group. The final shape of the project and timeline will depend on the group, he said.

With increasing polarization in the country and threats of war around the globe, Kim said he’s serious about holding up Hawaii and the mountain as a place of hope and peace.

“The world needs Hawaii right now,” Kim said. “The world needs this symbol.”


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