Protecting what is sacred

  • Ryan Collins / The Garden Island

    Protesters point at passing cars Friday in Hanapepe during the third organized protest on Kauai this week against construction of a proposed massive telescope atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island.

  • Ryan Collins / The Garden Island

    Protesters gather Friday in Hanapepe in support of those on Mauna Kea wishing to stop construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and against the proposed expansion of Maverick Helicopters at Port Allen airport.

HANAPEPE — Hundreds of protesters peacefully organized Friday afternoon in Hanapepe along Kaumualii Highway against construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and the proposed expansion of the Maverick Helicopters at Port Allen Airport.

Protesters waved flags and sang songs as passing cars and trucks honked in support.

Protesters broadcast the gathering from their phones as they chanted “no more helicopters,” and “ku kia‘i mauna,” which means “guardians of the mountain” in Hawaiian.

Some held children on their shoulders while holding signs.

“Showing up in strength, showing up in volume, showing up united,” Chad Schimmelfennig said. “If we come united, it’s more than just about the mauna. It’s our way of life, it’s our way of living, it’s who we are. By just showing up in this strength it is showing that we are united and we are together.”

Schimmelfennig said the protesters were there to show their support for protesters atop Mauna Kea, and the mountain itself, and that it was also about what is happening on Kauai.

“We’re dealing with the protection of our pa‘akai our salt beds of Pu‘olo,” he said. “That’s a major thing going on right now on this island. So for what’s going on on Mauna Kea and pa‘akai (sea salt) and every other island like this, I think this is a clear message to the state that we’re not going to shut up and we’re going to come together whether they’re Hawaiian or not. Everybody is just coming together to protect what is sacred to us.”

Others protested for personal reasons.

“This is for pa‘akai and Mauna Kea and I have an employee pa‘akai down in Hanapepe, so it just figures two for one of why we have to protect everything,” Kahiau Niheu said. “Pa‘akai is obviously getting developed with more helicopter companies coming in and Mauna Kea being one of the bigger issues in Hawaii right now, maybe even the biggest. So much with the development and there are so many by-laws and other laws being broken like the fact that it’s an 18-story telescope in a county that only accepts a six-story building.”

Niheu added that Mauna Kea needs to be kept in the same state in which they found it.

Some people were caught off guard by the protest.

“First I thought, ‘oh my God,’ because you never know with this sort of thing if it is against haoles,” said Nieves Martinez from Argentina, who was waiting for the bus behind a wall of protesters. “I understand. It’s great that they can do it. They can say what they would like to say, but do you think that it will really stop it?”

Some were there to show they care.

“I’m here to just show my support for all of the protectors on the mountain, I’m here to show them that we care and that we love them from Kauai all the way to the Big Island. We support them around the world,” Kaleinani Buhk said while holding a flag with several friends standing nearby.

“We support our culture because it’s our culture and we care for our lahui (race, nation) and we just want to let them know that we are here for them. Even though we can’t be there, we’re here for them.”

  1. manongindashadow0711 July 20, 2019 8:06 am Reply

    It may have seem peaceful. However the protesters being near(on the shoulder of the highway) to vehicles passing. There were some who yelled/shouted violently at passing vehicles. Especially to tourists.

    Also, there were no KPD Officers present.

    1. M Kanahele July 21, 2019 4:35 pm Reply

      That is such an inaccurate statement. We were being mindful of our boundaries. Also there were 2 officers posted at both ends.

  2. harry oyama July 20, 2019 10:46 pm Reply

    Time for Hawaiians to invoke their former kahuna spiritual endeavors and reject entirely the false Christian religion that is designed to keep all under servitude and docile so that the clergy benefits at your expense. When Native Hawaiians finally utilizes their connections to the kahuna spiritual realm and ask for justice, those that do this injustice will start to experience strange and unexplainable events of the much dreaded Kahuna forces which only the native Hawaiians are familiar with can invoke, since they are the victims of injustice.

    The Christian as well as other religions are all false and non-existent and does not even have access to the human subconscious which the kahunas understood quite well. This is what will give Hawaiians back the power that many fear as heathen savages, but is a science that has been proven although only in superficial form and not in depth. Your salavation lies in yourself and how you access the subconscious not this stupid false religions which are designed to fool the ignorant.

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