Māori visit Mauna Kea as Hawaiians visit Ihumātao

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Hawaiian activist and Professor of Pacific Studies, Dr. Emalani Case, arrived at Ihumātao this morning bearing support from the Hawaiian campaign for the ongoing occupation movement in South Auckland.

Case addressed the front line at Ihumātao, speaking on behalf of the Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiians) and expressing love and support.

“Mauna Kea and Ihumātao are not isolated moments, they are movements that speak to each other across oceans ... from Mauna Kea, we recognise the struggle at Ihumātao because we know it, we’ve felt it.  From Mauna Kea, we’ve also felt the Māori recognition of our struggle, we’ve felt the prayers, we’ve been inspired by the actions, and we’ve been empowered by the solidarity," says Case.

At the same time, a delegation of Māori scholars and advocates are being welcomed on to the Pu'uhonua 'o Pu'uhuluhulu at the base of Mauna Kea, lead by Dr. Leonie Pihama (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Māhanga).

“We are here to stand in solidarity with our Hawaiian relations who are taking a position of self-determination in protection of this sacred Mauna Kea.  We carry the movements of Ihumātao and 'Hands Off Our Tamariki' to support the Kingdom of Hawai'i," says Pihama. 

The Thirty Meter Telescope planned for the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai'i. The mountain is considered to be sacred to Native Hawaiians. (Source: Facebook)

As the battle for the two indigenous nations continue, so too does the push back from their respective governments.

"I don't ever see a time where we would pass a law that says the Waitangi Tribunal can make orders in relation to privately owned land," says New Zealand Justice Minister, Andrew Little.

Governor of Hawai'i, David Ige made it clear what his current stand is regarding the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, in a Facebook Post earlier this week:

"Mauna Kea has a climate that is particularly stable, dry, and cold; all of which are important characteristics for capturing the sharpest images and producing the best science.  For these and other reasons, Mauna Kea was chosen as the site of the telescope.... I remain committed to seeing the project move forward while keeping all involved safe."

Despite these comments from government officials, demonstrators remain undeterred.

"The government is wasting a whole lot of money because we're not going anywhere," says Case.