Welina mai me ke aloha e nā hoa makamaka o ka ʻāina aloha mai Hawaiʻi nui o Keawe, a Maui nui a Kamalālāwalu, a Lānaʻikāula, a Molokaʻi nui a Hina, a Oʻahu o Kākuhihewa, a Kauaʻi o Manokalanipō a i Niʻihau a Kahelelani a me nā hoa kākoʻo mai kahi kihi a kahi kihi o kēia honua nui ākea nei, ke aloha nui iā kākou pākahi a pau.
We would like to start off this, our very first press conference, by saying mahalo nui loa to everyone who made time to join us today at the statue of our brave, courageous, intelligent and beloved Queen Liliʻuokalani here in Honolulu, on the island of Oʻahu a Lua with such a short notice. To everyone who has joined us here today, mahalo palena ʻole iā ʻoukou pākahi a pau.
We have decided to call this press conference so that we may offer a formal and official response and statement in regards to the OHA BOT meeting that was held yesterday, April 30 at Nā Lama Kukui here in Honolulu as well as offer comments and responses to any questions the media and people may have before returning to our home island of Hawaiʻi, to resume our kuleana of protecting our sacred mountain of Hawaiʻi, ka piko e kū haʻo nei i ka pohu laʻi mālie, Mauna a Wākea.
We would first like to acknowledge the three trustees of OHA who have, for one day, joined us on Mauna a Wākea and provided us with food and/or monetary donations from their own pocket. Mahalo nui to Trustee Rowena Akana, Trustee Lei Ahu Isa and Trustee Hulu Lindsey. We would also like to mahalo Ka Pouhana Kamanaʻopono Crabble for his visit up the mountain. These four leaders and have taken the time to ascend Mauna a Wākea and experience first hand the movement of the people of Hawaiʻi to protect our most sacred mountain, our rights as native peoples of this land as well as our national heritage, identity and pride.
We would like to thank all those who attended yesterdays OHA BOT meeting, especially those who gave great and enlightening testimony opposing the Thirty Meter Telescope. We would also like to mahalo the Trustees who stood for us yesterday in the OHA BOT meeting. Mahalo palena ʻole again to Trustee Hulu Lindsey for her support to those of us who have resided on the mountain for the past 36 days and her motion to rescind as well as oppose the building of he TMT on the top of sacred Mauna a Wākea. Although her motion was seconded, it was unfortunately amended by Trustee Peter Apo and seconded by Trustee Collete Machado to simply rescind OHAʻs previous resolution of 2009 supporting the TMT without taking a stance of opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
The amended motion passed, and OHA has decided to remain neither for nor against the desecration of Mauna a Wākea and the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. While we are disappointed in OHAʻs decision to not oppose the TMT, we are grateful for OHAs rescinding of the letter, as we feel it is a small step in the right direction and a sign that some of the Trustees are hearing the voice of the people, which as we know through the words of our Queen, is the voice of God. Mahalo nui to Vice-Chair Dan Ahuna, Trustee Hulu Lindsey and Trustee Lei Ahu Isa for their firm stance in support of the many beneficiaries who have protected Mauna a Wākea for more than a month now as well as their desire to oppose the building of the TMT.
We hope that in the very near future, with much consideration to the many testimonies given by the people of Hawaiʻi to OHA as well as the BOR of UH, the BOT will continue to take steps in the right direction and address this situation, the greatest activation, mobilization and unification of the Hawaiian people since 1897, further and in greater detail.
What OHAʻs decision of yesterday does is allow us, the people of Hawaiʻi nei who love our land and who love Mauna a Wākea, the opportunity to work together with OHA staff, administration and trustees in a larger capacity not available to us before this decision was made.
We look forward to the possibility of OHA working:
To engage our communities throughout Hawaiʻi in discussion and education on the issue of building the TMT atop Mauna a Wākea. The fact the OHA neither supports nor opposes the TMT provides them with the opportunity to provide our communities and those who perhaps are not knowledgeable enough of this situation to make a firm and well informed decision, with truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
We feel that education is very important so that all who take a stand on this issue may do so on facts and not misinformation, regardless of what their stand may be. We have absolutely no fear in providing the truth and facts of both sides of this situation and feel that perhaps an open and unbiased approach to those who are undecided offer them the most opportunity to go ahead and make a well informed decision that will be best for them, their ʻohana and their future descendents.
We look forward to the possibility of OHA working:
With the State of Hawaiʻi, the DLNR and the University of Hawaiʻi to provide them with valuable and accurate information that may have perhaps been overlooked or ignored in past years and offices and hold these entities accountable to their duties and obligations of properly managing the most sacred lands in all of Hawaiʻi that have been designated by the State itself, as conservation lands in a way that preserves the life of our Mauna as well as the integrity of these state entities.
We have great hope for a better future for Hawaiʻi and its people and the protection of our natural resources and most valued sacred sites. Our love for the great mountain of Wākea, our land and our people will sustain, empower and guide all of us to do whatever is necessary to be victorious for Hawaiʻi. I aliʻi nō ke aliʻi i ke kanaka.
A chief is really only a chief because of the people. This is the time for the people of Hawaiʻi to take a stand and take control of our past, present and future. Although we look forward to the potential fruits of OHAʻs decision, we will not wait around for leadership to do for us what needs to be done. We will do it ourselves, with or without the assistance of said leadership.
Now, we understand that those who support the TMT construction atop Mauna Kea view our mountain as the most ideal place for the telescope, however, that does not make it the right place. We would like for everyone all around the world to know, that we, the people of Hawaiʻi, Kanaka and non-Kanaka alike, will continue to stand 24/7 on the slopes of Mauna a Wakea in a effort to protect our mountain from any further desecration and irresponsible development.
OHAʻs decision to rescind their support for the project, while not opposing it, has energized us and reinvigorated ourselves and we look forward to returning to Mauna a Wākea at the end of this press conference and joining the rest of the aloha ʻāina and kiaʻi mauna who are currently standing strong in kapu aloha. With all due respect to the officials, employees and funders of the TMT, they have chosen the wrong place, the wrong time and the wrong people. The TMT will not be built. It is as simple as that. We will do everything possible, in aloha, to protect Nā ʻĀina Lei Aliʻi, the Crown Lands of Hawaiʻi, which Mauna a Wākea is, that were illegally seized by the United States of America on August 12, 1898 when they illegally annexed the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi through an act of a Joint Resolution, an American domestic law holding no authority and power outside of the boundaries of itʻs territories, which Hawaiʻi clearly was and clearly is to this day. We will win, we have no other option. We will restore the ea, ke ea o ka ʻāina, the life, breath and sovereignty of the land to Mauna a Wākea.
In taking from the famous and iconic words of James Keauiluna Kaulia, President of the Hui Aloha ʻĀina, who played a leading role in the gathering of about 38,000 signatures protesting the annexation of Hawaiʻi to America in a time where only 40,000 Hawaiian were alive, on Sept 6, 1897 at Palace Square in Hilo, we will close with this thought. We will protest forever the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna a Wākea, until the very last Aloha ʻĀina! Because, as Kaleikoa Kaʻeo has said numerous times, “If this is the best they got, we have already got them beat.” Aloha ʻĀina ʻOiaʻiʻo a mau loa aku. Mahalo.
KŪ KIAʻI MAUNA!