Emotional testimony at a public hearing on proposed new rules atop Mauna Kea
Tonight's testimony lasted almost three hours.
Emotional testimony at a public hearing on proposed new rules atop Mauna Kea Monday night. After consulting with groups like the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. University of Hawaii says its latest draft reaffirms Native Hawaiian rights.
Tonight's testimony lasted almost three hours. UH is hopeful its latest version of rules represents both sides but people against it believe their rights are being violated.
"Unfortunately, I'm not hopeful you'll take these comments seriously, scrap the process, do what we're asking, which is have meaningful conversation with the people affected most by these rules. So I guess we'll see you on the Mauna," one testifier, said.
"For them to try to block or manage access for us to go up there is horrific because it infringes on our religious rights," Healani Sonoda-Pale, Ka Lahui Hawaii Political Action Committee chair, said.
Modifications in this version include changes in violation protocol. Instead of issuing a fine during the first citation, it will be a warning.
"We made modifications and then we went out between January and March did a series of informal consultation. Met with people, reached out to people, particularly those who expressed concerns. Made some more changes," Greg Chun, Mauna Kea special advisor to the UH president, said.
But some native Hawaiians say there shouldn't be any restrictions placed on them for access to what they call sacred land.
"We have more of a right to actually access that place than the astronomers than the University of Hawaii. We’ve been here for 2000 years and we’re not going anywhere," Sonoda-Pale said.
The rules could be refined after this round of hearings. If there are changes they will be presented to the Board of Regents on July 18.
The other three meetings are throughout the week on the Big Island and Maui:
- Tuesday, June 4, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Waiakea Elementary School, 180 W. Puainako Street, Hilo, HI 96720
- Wednesday, June 5, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School, 68-1730 Hooko Street, Waikoloa, HI 96738
- Friday, June 7, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pomaikai Elementary School, 4650 S. Kamehameha Avenue, Kahului, HI 93732