The Mauna is sacred. Say the words.

The righteous indignation being spouted by TMT supporters, about following “the rule of law”, is ridiculous. Gag me with a fork.

The state and in fact all government entities exercise discretion on which laws they enforce, every single day of the week.

Today, at this very moment the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC), a state agency, is dumping literally millions of gallons of water polluted with pesticides and heavy metals into near-shore waters (ie – at the beach), on the west side of Kauai. The court has ruled that it is illegal to do so without an NPDS permit. The ADC is breaking federal and state law, yet our government looks the other way and lets it continue.

Where is the righteous indignation here? Oh, forgot to mention – If the state makes their own agency, the ADC, follow the law then corporations doing the polluting will be shut down.

The protection of profits takes precedence over the protection of people and the planet – and to hell with the rule of law in this case.

But of course on Maunakea it is different (#not).

The pro-TMT forces whine about the government not enforcing the law, demanding that the troops be called in to protect the billions of dollars that will supposedly flow to the University, and then theoretically trickle down to the rest of us.

They complain about an un-permitted structure and demand its removal. But of course, no one is demanding that all un-permitted structures be removed from around the state, only this one particular structure. What a joke. There are zillions of un-permitted structures located in communities on all islands and government chooses to look the other way, except of course on Maunakea.

Today, we read the protectors on the Mauna are possibly trampling upon and damaging endangered plants, and so the state must take action!

DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case is quoted in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser as saying. “Intentional or not, this damage is happening and it’s very concerning…There’s really just no way to have hundreds of people every day, often thousands, in sensitive natural areas…without this kind of harm resulting.” Please. Give me a break. On my island and on every island the state allows and in fact encourages not thousands, but millions of tourists to trample our reefs, mountain trails, and sensitive areas DAILY. The state’s selective enforcement tells us that it is not here to protect our reefs, mountains, or wildlife habitat. The state’s highest priority is to protect the investments of large landowners and foreign corporations.

Our state government allows and in fact grants permission to for-profit corporations via massive water diversions to literally kill countless streams and their related eco-systems. Yet they shout out with righteous indignation and threaten enforcement over the possibility of Native Hawaiians accidentally or inadvertently stepping on endangered plants while seeking to protect the Mauna. Give me a break.

If our state government is sincere about resolving the Maunakea issue, then they need to stop the BS righteous indignation act. Sending in the troops (complete with black masks) to shred our flag and tear down one lonely un-permitted structure, and now rattling the saber about Hawaiians trampling on vines – is not the way to build goodwill and better friendships (mahalo to Rotary).

Dialogue begins with respect.

And respect starts with acknowledging that Maunakea is indeed sacred, deserving of the attention and protections being demanded by those who now occupy the ground at its base.

All who wish to come to the table must first agree to the sacredness of the Mauna. No good-faith conversations, let alone “negotiations” – can possibly be conducted until everyone at the table acknowledges that yes Maunakea is indeed a sacred place.

I encourage all who question the sacredness of the Mauna to read and study the Kumulipo which is the ancient Hawaiian “creation chant”. You can find more information and translated text HERE–11haw-50-20-frameset-book–1-010escapewin&a=d&d=D0&toc=0

Please also read this excellent article “What Makes A Volcano Sacred?” in the Atlantic Monthly:

“In the Kumulipo, the ancient chant that tells the story of how the Hawaiian Islands and the Hawaiian people came to be, the volcano is considered kino lau, the physical form of the gods. Mauna Kea is the son of Wākea, the sky father, and of Papahānaumoku, the Earth mother.”

It is of course past time for our government leaders, to begin leading.

The situation at Maunakea will not be resolved by force, nor by the conventional western notion of negotiation.

The use of force will only intensify and magnify the opposition, with negative repercussions that will last far into the future. Western-style negotiation of “I will give you this if you give me that.” is also a non-starter, and will lead nowhere.

The leaders on the Mauna cannot be bought with the promise of jobs, a learning center/museum, scholarships for the keiki, nor any other bright and shiny objects. Theirs is a position of principle. Theirs is a position of a righteous and just cause – the sacredness of the Mauna.

To move forward, this is the context upon which all discussions must be grounded. The TMT developers must acknowledge this and our government must acknowledge this, AND until this happens there will be no respect and consequently no progress toward any resolution.

The Mauna is sacred. Say the words – and then hopefully talks can begin.


Footnote and Disclosure: I am certainly no scholar of Hawaiian history and culture. However, many other scholars in many different publications – have referred to Mauna Kea as being sacred. Many point to the Kumulipo to justify the sacredness statement, as I did in the piece written above. However, others have informed me that the kumulipo does not expressly refer to Mauna Kea.

The Kumulipo does contain a specific reference to a body of water that is on Mauna Kea, by the name of “Waiau” – And from hours of reading/research…it seems clear that Waiau is considered also sacred in a historical context. Because Waiau is located on Mauna Kea and referenced in the Kumulipo, and because Mauna Kea is included in many other historical recounts, references, and chants, may be some of the reasons why so many “sources” scholarly, mainstream credible press and otherwise, say that Mauna Kea is referred to in the kumulipo.

In any case, I have no doubt as to the sacred nature of the Mauna – this conclusion is further supported by the following.

Mauna a kea – Examining a Chant–11haw-50-20-frameset-book–1-010escapewin&a=d&d=D0&toc=0

The intercourse between Wākea and Papa gave birth to the islands of Hawai’i—the solid foundation for life. The Big Island is their haipo or eldest child. Mauna Kea is the child’s piko, which is translated to umbilical cord, navel, or belly button (Puhipau 2006). The reference to Mauna Kea being the first-born is seen in mele hānau (birth chants) like this one for Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III):

The below thesis contains much information, and also refers to Mauna Kea being part of the Kumulipo…and also has this information as to other chants referencing the Mauna

Click to access f97b311e2f83324955a1c9fd674e62002341.pdf

O hānau ka mauna a Kea, (Born of Kea was the mountain,)
‘Ōpu‘u a‘e ka mauna a Kea. (The mountain of Kea budded forth.)
‘O Wākea ke kāne, ‘o Papa, (Wākea was the husband, Papa)
‘O Walinu‘u ka wahine, (Walinu‘u was the wife.)
Hānau Ho ‘ohoku he wahine, (Born was Ho‘ohoku, a daughter,)
Hānau Hāloa he ali‘i, (Born was Hāloa, a chief,)
Hānau ka mauna, he keiki mauna na Kea… (Born was the mountain, a mountain-son of Kea…) (Korn 1979)

I continue to read, to learn and to research…gh

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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43 Responses to The Mauna is sacred. Say the words.

  1. Haaheo Scanlan says:

    Mahalo for your eloquence in communicating what so many of us feel in our na’au 💜🙏🏽

  2. Hilton Aki says:


  3. Ku Kia’i Mauna says:

  4. Haaheo Scanlan says:

    Is it true that Kealoha signed the EIS for TMT? Does that make it void?

    • garyhooser says:

      Yes, it is true that Kealoha was the OEQC director at the time the EIS was approved. However, only the governor at the time can “accept” or approve the final document. The OEQC director actually has very little power. I was actually also in that position for about 18 months under Gov. Abercrombie, and so have some experience. She could have advised or urged the governor to accept the EIS but she does not have the authority to actually approve or accept for the state, the EIS…but yes…given her recent history…it does look suspicious and makes one question/wonder what might have happened.

  5. REGINALD Daniel CAMACHO says:

    Many Mahalo for that eloquent words, yes it is ironic considering they talk about the rule of law, and yet the entire state is just an illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. So whose rule of law they are talking about. Is not the rightful owners of the land and the governance of their Nation have the say in what is happening or going to happen for that matter in their Nation. Not an illegal government

  6. April flores ( kaawa says:

    Mahalo Nui Loa
    Aloha Ke Akua

  7. I do value your love for what matters! Thank you

    Sent from my iPhone Sharon Douglas


  8. Adriane Adams says:

    Awesome! Mahalo for this article.

  9. Lani says:

    Mahalo for speaking up!

  10. Ne says:

    Mahalo Gary. KU KIA’I MAUNA.

  11. Winona Kuhns says:

    Mahalo for your input. I want to vomit when I see on TV these rediculous people who support this disgusting sham of a project and defy the wants, beliefs and needs of the people! This is true evil shoring it’s face

  12. Don Diehl says:

    Thank you for reason.
    I feel this is in the same vein as in California in the sixties. Reagan was governor. He wanted to cut down old growth redwood trees. 2000 year old ones.
    His quote ” you seen one redwood you seen them all.”
    We stopped him.

  13. Liko Puha says:

    Mahalo nui for expressing and sharing your manaʻo so eloquently. You have shown me the words I have been seeking to express.

    • garyhooser says:

      Thank you for the acknowledgment. Sometimes the words just come together. I have been thinking about this (especially the “rule of law” argument) for many weeks…then with the removal of the hale and then with the press release over the “vines”…I had pretty much had enough and heard enough. I then also had a conversation with a wise Hawaiian uncle who pointed out to me the kumulipo and the fact that no conversation is possible unless all at the table acknowledge that the Mauna was sacred…after this…the writing all came together.

  14. Neil McManus says:

    Excellent presentation Gary Hooser ! !

  15. Lorrie Ann Santos says:

    Mahalo Gary Hooser!! Everything you have voiced rings so true. What about all those illegal structures in Kunia on O’ahu, whose perpetrators put up a locked chain, so inspectors say they aren’t able to access and cite. I don’t see the government cutting those chains or taking down those structures. Oh, but those are not Native Hawaiians. Or the monster houses and many more un-permitted and illegal structures. Again, not Native Hawaiians. Where’s the government and DLNR’s enforcement of the daily illegal hikers on Haiku Stairs that not only trample the existing environment, but also threaten O’ahu’s primary watershed resource. That’s right, not Native Hawaiians, and Mayor Caldwell wants to commercialize it.

  16. Larry A. Rutkowski says:

    Aloha E Bruddah Gary H…SPOT ON BRUDDAH. Very eloquently and pointedly correct. I can see your love for Hawai’i and your diligent quest for knowledge, everything Kanaka. First time truly reading your piece here and have signed up to keep receiving your dissertations. God Bless You, you have an ally on the Big I, Bruddah lary.

    • Larry A. Rutkowski says:

      Lost my other post, I think. Here goes again. I stand at the Pu’uhonua 8 times in 19 days since I have been back home in Hilo. I go up there as a member of The Royal Order of Kamehameha. I watch hundreds and hundreds of cars drive by me. 8 and sometimes 9 OUT OF every 10 cars that past me, FLASH the Shaka and Mauna signs. Go figure. The fake polls say majority of people in Hawaii WANT the TMT. That is total B.S. The other one or two cars that pass me that do not flash the signs, are tourist that dont even know what the heck is going on

    • garyhooser says:

      Mahalo to you Larry for all you do, for reading the piece and for your acknowledgment. Greatly appreciated!

  17. Larry A. Rutkowski says:

    Ohhh, one more thing here, to wit: As a member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha that has stood up there 8 times in 19 days, my observation of just ONE facet of the entire scenario up there to wit: Fake news, fake polls say that the majority of Hawaii WANT the TMT up there, is FALSE. Hundreds and hundreds of cars pass me on Dan K Inouye Highway. HONESTLY, about 8 and sometimes 9 OUT of EVERY 10 cars that pass me, FLASHES either and at times BOTH, the Shaka and Mauna signs.

  18. Larry A. Rutkowski says:

    WE ALL KNOW, how fake news prevails and how we can BEND any purported poll and slant it in any direction we desire. 800 people polled, registered voters, academia or whatevers. I can get them to vote ANY way to slant them to agree to anything. How many Kanaka were polled. The B.S. Goes On” (to the tune of Sonny & Cher, “the Beat Goes on”). I should write a song to that beat, regarding the illegal State of Hawaii, selective enforcement ways, Blah lary.

  19. christa wagner says:

    just wondering why there was no protest/action about the other- what- 13 observatories that are up there ?

    • garyhooser says:

      Would have to ask those who are now actively engaged. My guess is that the TMT is the straw that broke the camels back. It is my understanding also that there were objections and legal actions that happened during and prior to some of the previous telescope developments.

      • christa wagner says:

        o.k., but the next question is why the problem now when this has been planned for 10 years+ and approved?

  20. garyhooser says:

    Christa…I don’t have all the answers but as indicated…am thinking that the culmination of issues, problems, and challenges regarding the management of Mauna Kea…became such that people just had, had enough. I am not on the inside and certainly not one of the leaders, and so I am only guessing as to what created the motivation that led to where we are today.

  21. Dodie Boewer says:

    Mahalo Gary for your vigilance, persistence and support of the Mauna. Your words are some that I myself have said so often. And yes, TMT is so full of it with the all the wonderful things that we would benefit from. If that’s so why only now are they hanging the carrot out there? To everyone who believes Mauna is sacred, mahalo nui loa.

  22. Sherrie Moore says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever been disappointed in one of your positions. As a 47 year resident of the STATE of Hawaii, 40 years on the Big Island, with part Hawaiian family by marriage and 3 grandsons who were born here, I am shocked that you are taking the side of superstition over science. And I’m sure this comment will generate a string of Hate responses, since the Anti-TMT Forces are the ones sending out all the hate, including death threats to our Governor and other TMT supporters. Mauna Kea is no more “sacred” than ALL of Mother Earth, but that should never stop scientific progress. Otherwise we would all still be living in caves. #IMUATMT

    • garyhooser says:

      I respect your position Sherrie. I truly do. I disagree but I respect that you have come to a different conclusion than I have. If you read what I have written about Maunakea and the TMT issue…I hope you will see that I do not take this position lightly and have given it much thought. Please know also that I have received a number of hateful angry messages as well from people who do not respect my thoughts and position on this issue. I think good people can look at the same facts and circumstances and come to different conclusions. You will see no hateful posts on my blog of that I am sure.

  23. John Matthews says:

    First question, What was the Mauna before modern Hawaiians came. Or, before the Tahitians , Marquesas, Samoans and Tongans came??? Second, how many of the native practitioners are actually Christians?
    I know the answer. Most of the them Are followers of western religious tradition. They are traitors to their own religion. claiming sacred, something that they don’t worship. So what is the real story? People (who never go to a place that is sacred to christians? I don’t think so. I think that your opening argument regarding the water and land use issues is far more valid.

    • garyhooser says:

      Why not respect those you disagree with rather than call them names? Many are arguing that the discourse has degenerated into hatefulness. I ask you and everyone to be respectful even if you do not agree with the other side. Please. We can never all get to the same table to discuss this until the name-calling​ stops and mutual respect takes over.

  24. Kainani says:

    Mahalo Piha, Gary! For your Mana’o and for the aloha pouring from your fingers! The word “sacred” IS, in and of itself, a belief. A belief so powerful, felt so strongly, that it is deeply rooted in the very core of ones being. So much so, that even the very thought or attempt to deny it, subjects one to such emotional anguish that it can manifest into physical pain. This is what i feel, and what flows through the na’au of our Kupuna and our Kanaka on the Mauna and all over the world. To attempt to scientifically identify or discredit what is sacred from one person to another is not only disrespectful, it is foolish. THE MAUNA IS SACRED, maybe not to those who don’t understand it, but to us, to the Kanaka Maoli of this Aina, it is! And one does not have to be Kanaka to see, feel and respect it, we just have to be human… Forced to give up so much of our beliefs, our culture, our land, even our language, because what was not understood, was considered wrong. What I do know to be true is that we are all different. However, we share one commonality, we choose to see what we want to see, we have ALL turned a blind eye to another’s plight, until of course, that plight is on our door step, threatening our way of life, by denying us our beliefs, blinding us, covering our mouths, and finally binding our hands and feet like criminals.
    Ku Kia’i Mauna, EO! #Kapualoha

    • garyhooser says:

      Mahalo to you Kainani…your words also inspire and educate…both myself and others whom I hope read them here and who may have doubts as to the foundational nature of the fact that the Mauna is indeed sacred.

  25. Misty says:

    💯♥️ Just being real 💯

  26. Shelley Choy says:

    Thank you, Gary Hooser, for your sensitivity, perception, and truth.
    Have you been to the Mauna? I’m sure you would be blown away by witnessing Kapu Aloha and Aloha Aina in action. The whole world needs to learn from the kia’i and the community they’ve created there.

    • garyhooser says:

      Aloha and mahalo Shelley. Yes, I have been to the Mauna. It was several weeks ago and was an experience I will not forget. I agree 100%. The world can and hopefully will learn from the community that the kia’i have created there.

  27. Koanaki'ikaha says:

    I have spent a total of 15 days on the Mauna goin up and down to stay in Hilo, and bringing supplies that are needed daily. I have cooked for the Kupuna, I offered Ho’okupu, and I am a true witness to Kapu Aloha and Aloha Aina that is the heart of this movement to protect Mauna A Wakea. Please know that all are welcome to come and sit and ask questions and also take a course and educate yourself as to what’s really going on there. I can remember back in the 70s when people were involved in protecting Maunakea and sad to say their voices were not adhere to,
    only to have false promises “This will be the last one built”….no more lies…enough is enough and Maunakea is sacred….and the Mauna says “NO MORE”

  28. Wil Welsh says:

    Isn’t it possible to appreciate and value what is sacred and to value, also, scientific inquiry? Can’t the pursuit of more complete understanding of the universe be, at some level, a sacred endeavor? I tend to agree with Sherrie Moore that the whole earth is sacred if you choose to look at it in that way. Some pursuits are more “worthwhile” than others. Ultimately, the development of this new instrument serves a higher purpose, even including the traditional Hawaiian observation and use of the heavens in their exploration of the vast Pacific ocean.

    • garyhooser says:

      “Isn’t it possible to appreciate and value what is sacred and to value, also, scientific inquiry? Can’t the pursuit of more complete understanding of the universe be, at some level, a sacred endeavor?” – I agree actually…but the situation that has developed over the past 30 years on Maunakea has resulted in the stalemate that now exists. There is no trust that the government or the telescope developers will do what they say they are going to do, as they have not come through in the past on their promises. There also comes a time when enough is enough. If all parties could hit the pause button and government and the owners of the telescope can clean up and remove the telescopes they have already promised to remove, but not yet followed through with AND if they can restructure the management authority which they have also promised to do…then perhaps a conversation could be restarted as to adding in another telescope, or not. But it seems that this conversation cannot even be started until the government and the telescope operators have fulfilled past promises. To be clear…I am not “on the inside” and only speculate….

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