Maunakea committee shrouded in anonymity

  • Harry Kim

Mayor Harry Kim says his Maunakea committee, tasked with proposing a new management model for the mountain, met for the first time Friday.

He said the meeting with the nine-member group lasted more than three hours, and the committee will next draft a charter to state its duties.


“They want a charter to define what their mission and responsibilities are,” said Kim, who drafted his own vision statement.

But he declined to identify the members because he said they don’t want to be named until the statement is finished, which could take a couple of weeks.

“Once that is done and they agree to it,” Kim said, referring to the charter, “then they are willing to put their names on it.”

He said each member is from Hawaii Island and has a “history of involvement, scholarly, professionally or personally, in regards to the Hawaiian culture.”

Regarding being identified now, he said the concern is that the focus will be on the Thirty Meter Telescope project, which some Native Hawaiians oppose.

“They all agree that the vision is not of just science,” Kim said. “This is a vision of Maunakea.”

As for his vision, Kim has said the mountain should be a monument of international importance, reflecting its scientific, cultural and environmental heritage.

The mountain, managed by the University of Hawaii because of its scientific significance, mostly is comprised of state land. Kim said the group will present a proposal for a new management structure to policymakers, who might be responsible for deciding its future.

UH has a master lease for the Maunakea Science Reserve through 2033, and is in the process of seeking a new lease.

Meetings on the proposal will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands office in Waimea and Tuesday at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.

The Legislature also is mulling management issues.

On Thursday, the state House of Representatives passed on first reading a bill creating a new Maunakea management authority. The bill, which has received hundreds of pages of opposing testimony, passed the Senate on Tuesday.

It will be heard next by the House Finance Committee.

Committee Chairwoman Rep. Sylvia Luke and Sen. Kai Kahele, one of the bill’s main sponsors, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

While a handful of people submitted testimony in favor of the bill, the measure has received a mountain of criticism from astronomers, state agencies and Hawaiian cultural practitioners alike.

Under the measure, a paid seven-member board appointed by the governor, which would include cultural experts, an astronomer and environmental expert, would run the authority. Four members would have to be from Hawaii Island. It also limits the number of telescopes.

Critics, depending on their perspective, say the bill is unnecessary because UH has the management expertise and that a new entity replacing UH-Hilo’s Office of Maunakea Management isn’t necessary to improve management. OMKM is overseen by a volunteer board whose members are from the island and approved by the UH Board of Regents.

“While I appreciate the intent of this bill to protect the cultural and natural resources of Maunakea, its specific motivation to create an entirely new management authority is misplaced and the bill, if implemented, would bring about disastrous consequences,” Thayne Currie, a Maunakea astronomer, said in written testimony.

He said he thinks OMKM excels at an “exceptionally difficult task” and that the bill would at best “create unnecessary and significant chaos” that would impede stewardship.

Kealoha Pisciotta, a longtime critic of UH, said she is against the bill because she thinks a proposal for a new management authority should come from the public.

Pisciotta, along with others challenging TMT in court, criticized Kahele in a statement for moving forward with the bill after they said they asked for that issue to be set aside during a meeting with him earlier this year.

“He is misrepresenting to the people that this is what we want,” she said.

Walter Ritte, a Hawaiian activist from Molokai, said in testimony that he supports it because a new management team would set a “new norm on how issues such as the TMT can and will be treated in the future so as to avoid such lose-lose conflicts.”

Kahele is hosting meetings around the state regarding the bill.

“Without question, Maunakea is a culturally revered and special place to many of Hawaii’s people and finding that critical balance, without continuing to divide our communities, is of utmost importance to me,” Kahele said in a press release. “What does not exist today is a vision for Maunakea and leadership to bring that vision to fruition.”


Meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m. March 20 at the Kanu O Ka ‘Aina Learning Center in Waimea; 7-9 p.m. March 21 at Keaukaha Elementary School cafeteria; and 6-8 p.m. April 2 at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona.

Email Tom Callis at

  1. Poi March 11, 2018 6:32 am

    So the Full Weasel Kim’s secret Lavatube Award Nominee MK committee will duplicate and contradict Kahele’s MK committee, which in turn duplicates and contradicts UH’s OMKM, and nobody’s too satisfied with any of it. Doin’ It Island Style! Thayne Currie’s making the most sense.

  2. Steve Dearing March 11, 2018 6:44 am

    Demo rats and racists have and will only make matters worse, Kahele wants to give all funds raised to OHA and the racists are already exercising control. Clearly, the problem is the demo rats corrupt racist agenda in collusion with racists to further defraud taxpayers. Lying Harry and these racists are not trust worthy nor do they serve the public interest. Another stupid demo rat idea catering to racists only makes matters worse and is certain to result in another disasterous demo rat failure at taxpayer expense.

    1. RKimo March 11, 2018 11:23 am

      Steve, I usually agree with what you are saying and sometimes you are full of crap (as we all are.) I want to take a moment to ask you to Not make yourself sick. You have so much anger and if you get cancer or have a stroke or something I for one will be bummed that I cannot read your wisdom. Go easy on yourself.

    2. Poi March 11, 2018 5:45 pm

      It’s nonpartisan, Steve. But please feel free to disregard RK’s advice, turn up the hate, and die soon, unnoticed.

  3. Rusty Da Clown March 11, 2018 6:54 am

    Is Harry Kim forgetting what his job is? So quick to do everyone else’s job (UH, state, civil defense) and forgetting to do his own (roads, housing, sewers). If he wanted to do something else he shouldn’t have run for mayor again.

  4. Scooby March 11, 2018 7:19 am

    Do they even exist or is it in Harry Kim’s hallucinations? Either way, what happened to yet another one of his campaign promises of transparency and restoring trust? Don’t believe a word this guy says, its all part of his grand scheme of self promotion at taxpayer expense.

  5. Benny HaHa March 11, 2018 10:12 am

    Harry Kim knows what’s best for the people. He will let us know who is on this mighty committee when he decides the time is right, because he knows what is best for us. This guy couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag. Lucky to live Hawaii!

  6. LRT March 11, 2018 11:35 am

    Hewa nui loa, when respect is removed more hewa appears. Why do you think Hawai’i has the highest crime rate per capita. When desecration within a family occurs family breaks apart. Harry Kim and Kahele are doing exactly the dreams of the illegal occupiers who stole a native nation by illegal overthrow and International Law and the United States Constitution admits it is illegal. Harry Kim he is Korean without Kanaka Ma’oli blood but Kahele who olelo Hawaiian Language and the koko runs in his veins has no respect for spiritual believes of our na Kupuna Kanaka Ma’oli needs to dig deep into his na’au and protect what we have left after 125 years of destroying Hawai’i. Kahele supporting the quick sly mongoose move and not supporting over 900 testifiers against the wrong needs to have a conversation with Poli’ahu and Tutu Pele.

    1. Steve Dearing March 11, 2018 12:37 pm

      I realize you are profoundly lost and racist if you really believe that pile of BS. Not to mention an enemy within so keep on destroying yourself and the other fools that repeat such nonsense.

      1. LRT March 11, 2018 12:48 pm

        Steve Dearing you are absolutely right mahalo for the confirmation. Enjoy the Uhane of Mauna Wakea and may na kupuna kahiko keep you safe in all your endeavors. Aloha.

  7. metalman808 March 11, 2018 12:52 pm

    Is it Mauna Kea, Mauna Wakea or MaunaKea. It’s getting so confusing like the demorats.

  8. thebamboo March 12, 2018 6:59 am

    The Star Chamber.

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