Removal of ahu
Mahalo to reporter Michael Brestovansky for correcting Thursday’s article incorrectly crediting statements made regarding the cultural significance of the two ahu constructed on the permitted Thirty Meter Telescope site.
Any cultural action or activity conducted by practitioners, whether it is on the mauna, coastline, valleys or seaways is deemed culturally significant to those adherents of the specific practice. There exists no mechanism for evaluating cultural significance either by opinion or statute. The practice of culture is a personal matter, whether performed solemnly by oneself or collectively as a group.
In our recommendation to the chancellor of University of Hawaii at Hilo by the seven-member volunteer Hawaiian advisory council, Kahu Ku Mauna, regarding removal of the two ahu, our recommendation was guided by established policy and definition.
The Comprehensive Management Plan dictates that a policy regarding new cultural features be established — this policy was approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. It requires that a new cultural feature must be registered and cannot be located in a way that is an obstruction.
The constructors of the ahu did not follow the process; they did not register the ahu and purposely built the ahu in a location that obstructed access to the TMT construction site.
We further determined that the ahu were historically insignificant. The standard for determining historical properties is that it needs to be at least 50 years old. The ahu were constructed four years ago.
Lastly, one of the ahu was constructed with imported and uninspected beach stone instead of local quarried rock. Had those responsible for constructing the ahu followed the process, the ahu would NOT have been removed and rather it would have established some protection for the new cultural site.
No more desecration
This is in response to A. A. Sadegh’s letter (“We need the TMT,” Tribune-Herald, June 2), publicly disrespecting Hawaiians.
The way humanity is unbalancing the environment, caves might be the dwellings of the future. However, we (the people of this place) had science down to an art and lived sustainably in hale (houses) before Hawaii was even discovered (by the Western world).
We already have TMT! Only it stands for “Too Many Telescopes” (13 to be exact), which is the real issue!
Science aside, it is people’s ignorance of common decency that is most appalling on Maunakea! It’s like you come to my house (or anybody’s house), and your friend tells you to go ahead, move into the loft because you like the view. I heard he was charging you $1 a year, and somebody kept telling me you were going to move some stuff out, but now you are condemning me for not allowing more space upstairs for you to move into? Absolutely not!
Yes, “every inch of this planet is sacred” — we cannot change what happened in the past, and all the lies about taking telescopes down. But today we cannot allow the continued desecration of Maunakea and the wao akua!
Hawaiians love science, too, but all the telescopes atop Maunakea must remain in the already developed area. Want to build more? Take some down! No more desecration!