FI­JIANS STAND TALL AT HIGH­EST HAWAIIAN PEAK

Del­e­ga­tion stands shoul­der to shoul­der with Hawaiian to protest against sci­en­tific re­search on sa­cred moun­tain

Fiji Sun - - Suncity - Source: Talanoa Pasi­fik Feed­back: [email protected]­JISUN.COM.FJ

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.

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