Kumu hula fly in to show support of 'protectors' of the Mauna; teach hula and perform chants
It's been the center of the moment -- right at the intersection of Mauna Kea Access Road and Daniel K. Inouye Highway on Hawaii Island.
At least 100 people sat on Mauna Kea access road taking a lesson from kumu hula Vicky Holt Takamine. She was one of several kumu hula who flew over from O'ahu to protest the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) by teaching and performing chants that were written specifically for the mountain.
Takamine says the chant she shared with the crowd Thursday was composed by Mary Kawena Pukui. It tells a story about the snow goddess Poli'ahu -- Pele's rival who dwells at the uplands of Mauna Kea.
"When I think about why I'm doing this here today, I think she wrote that mele just for today, just for this occasion," said Takamine. "As the dancers and chanters are sitting there, looking at that mauna, everything, all those words that are in the chant, are visible to them. They can experience all of that."
The hula was interrupted by a truck that was heading up the mountain. For a moment, some thought it was a TMT construction truck, but it turned out to be water for the mid-mountain facility called Hale Pohaku.
Thursday night at the base of Mauna Kea -- other than the DOCARE trucks -- there were no police in sight, and no word on when TMT construction crews will arrive.