FIJIANS STAND TALL AT HIGHEST HAWAIIAN PEAK
Delegation stands shoulder to shoulder with Hawaiian to protest against scientific research on sacred mountain
AFijian delegation has supported indigenous Hawaiians protesting against a scientific research on what they regard as their sacred mountain. It was led by Ratu Apenisa Tuisavura and Ratu Joji Lewenilovo visited the highest peak in Hawaii known as Mauna Kea.
It is considered a deeply sacred place that is revered in Hawaiian traditions and is culturally regarded as a shrine for worship – a home to the gods. In reassuring the indigenous custodians of Hawaii, Ratu Apenisa said: “The Fijian people had come to stand in solidarity with our Hawaiian cousins and as fellow Peoples of Oceania, we Fijians also understand the value.” Meanwhile, almost immediately after Hawaii became the 50th American state in 1959, American scientists decided that the summit of Mauna Kea was one of the best places on Earth to observe space. In the 1960s, the first telescope was built there. However opposition to the Mauna Kea Observatories has existed since then after a research by Gerard Kuiper of the University of Arizona, had seen the expansion of Mauna Kea into being the world’s largest observatory for infrared and submillimetre telescopes.
Peaceful protests began during a groundbreaking ceremony in 2014. In 2015, they prevented construction from beginning. However, the Hawaii Supreme Court later affirmed a decision by the State Board of Land and Natural Resources to grant a building permit. The current stream of protests, which the Indigenous People of Hawaii claim as their right to ‘Protect’, stems from controversy over the proposed site of an enormous observatory known as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).
Protesters, who call themselves kia‘i, or “protectors”, argue the construction will further desecrate Mauna Kea, which is already home to about a dozen telescopes.
Kealoha Pisciotta, one of the protest leaders and a spokesperson for Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, a Native Hawaiian group, says the movement is “pushing back on corporate culture” through Hawaiian concepts of “Kapu Aloha”, which emphasises compassionate responses, especially towards opponents, and “Aloha Aina”, a saying that translates to “love of the land”.
MEMBERS OF THE FIJIAN DELEGATION WITH HAWAIIAN FRIENDS.
Yaqona cup bearer Etu Baravilala with Ratu Joji Lewenilovo.
MEMBERS OF THE FIJIAN DELEGATION IN HAWAII.
MEMBERS OF THE FIJIAN DELEGATION PERFORMING AN ITEM IN HAWAII.