An interview with Mauna Kea protector, Pua Case

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The Mauna Kea movement has recently gained international momentum and attention despite being an issue that has been developing for a number of years.  We look back at an interview with Pua Case, one of the driving forces behind the movement, who spoke to Te Ao reporter Te Kuru Dewes when Case visited Aotearoa as a keynote speaker for the He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research Conference.

"The true essence of the Mauna Kea movement is the timing," says Case, "The timing of something that is pivotal for our culture. Either we stand or we give up everything.  Are we ready, truly, to say we give you the rest of what is the most sacred?  For me, if I let that happen, I say I may as well just lay down and die right here and I'm not ready to do that.

"So the mauna has said 'Pua, stand for me, but that is a gift I give you because I could shake this off in one shake but I'm giving you the opportunity to transform and all of our people the opportunity to be braver than our fear, and to crawl to courage', and that is the journey that we are on because of the Mauna."

Case believes that indigenous Hawai'ians must seize the opportunity to make a stand, for their voices to be heard and respected.

"Right on time we have a decision to make, do we stand, do we utilise the thought that we have the right to say no?  We as a native people have a right to say no we have a responsibility, a birthright and a privilege to say enough is enough.

"And we are standing, we are rising, we are learning, we are progressing and the mauna is our training ground because sacred place, sacred conduct ... it trains us so that we may go back to our own lands and stand in a better way, stand together, stand in a way that is stronger than we ever thought possible. 

"Without anger, without rage, just standing strong and true, and that is what the mauna has taught us."