The pioneer Polynesians who discovered and first settled on the Hawaiian Islands were daring seafarers, braving the vast ocean, sailing beyond the horizon to an unknown land.
Undoubtedly, they prepared themselves physically and mentally for the journey, with knowledge of the ways of the sea and wind and directions from the stars. Also, they must have been meticulous in picking the finest trees growing on their home island, which they cut down to build seaworthy canoes or other sailing vessels — serving as their home for days or weeks ahead — needed in their bold undertaking.
To top it all, I am enthralled by a timeless legend that the early settlers of Hawaii handed down for those who would come after them. It’s about the demigod Maui, a real giant of their race, who — as depicted in one artwork that’s stuck in my mind — stood straddled atop the tallest mountains, a mighty figure, with rope in hand and snared the sun during its daily sojourn in the sky above to slow it down in its passage so people on Earth would have longer days to enjoy the daylight.
I see the demigod Maui as a projection by Hawaii’s ancient settlers of how they defined themselves, and their hope for those who would come after them — bold in venturing into the future, making use of the forces and elements of nature, in a way that would benefit all mankind.
I see the Thirty Meter Telescope project atop Maunakea as honoring and advancing the legacy of the island pioneers. This time, it’s about venturing into the farthest reaches of outer space.
The project has gone through a remarkably lengthy, thorough and fair process of public discussions for more than 10 years. It has gone through a contested case proceeding. It has duly come before the Hawaii Supreme Court, and the court issued the decision for the construction of the project to proceed. Reports have shown that 80% of Hawaii’s people support the project. Construction must proceed without any further delay.
The world has waited too long for the discoveries from the Thirty Meter Telescope. With all kindness, I beg TMT to go quickly to the Canaries, where they are welcome.
Let the Native Hawaiians instead build a pile of rocks on the mountain, call it a sacred heiau and worship there.
Hawaii is already the lowest-ranked state for support of business. Now we can add the lowest in support of science.
Hawaii is doomed to be overrun by the increasing mobs of tourists who invade every part of our islands.