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‘The Rock’ visits Hawaii protesters as envoy prepares talks

  • Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson talks to opponents of the TMT telescope during a visit to the protest site blocking the construction of the giant telescope on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the base of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson watches a kahiko performance during a visit to the protest site blocking the construction of the TMT telescope on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the base of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson visits with kupuna, an honored elder, during a visit to the protest site blocking the construction of the TMT telescope on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the base of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, right, is greeted by community leader Pua Case during a visit to the protest site blocking the construction of the TMT telescope on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the base of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, center, greets community leader Pua Case as opposition leader Kaho’okahi Kanuha watches at far left during a visit to the protest site blocking the construction of the TMT telescope on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the base of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, right, is greeted by community leader Pua Case during a visit to the protest site blocking the construction of the TMT telescope on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the base of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

HONOLULU — Hollywood actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson visited protesters blocking construction of a giant telescope on Wednesday as the Hawaii governor’s envoy to Native Hawaiian leaders prepared to start talks to find a way out of the impasse.

Dancers performed hula and chants as Johnson arrived at the protest site on Mauna Kea. News broadcasts and social media sites showed him exchanging nose to nose greetings called honi with protesters.

Johnson said he was honored to be there and told a crowd: “I stand with you.”

“This is such a critical moment and a pivotal time. Because the world is watching,” Johnson said to loud cheers.

Johnson, who is Samoan and not Hawaiian, spent part of his childhood in Honolulu. He’s due to star as King Kamehameha the Great, the leader who unified the Hawaiian Islands in 1810, in an upcoming movie from his production company.

The protest blocking a road to prevent construction crews from reaching Mauna Kea’s summit to build the Thirty Meter Telescope marked its 10th day.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, who is the governor’s envoy to the protesters, said he’s organizing the first of many meetings with Native Hawaiian leaders.

Kim said he wants to get people to work together for what he hopes will be a common goal. He said there will be “a very splintered community” if that doesn’t happen.

“We do not want this to become the cause of a polarized community,” Kim said in a telephone interview. “That to me is a main issue here.”

Kim said the governor called him Monday night to ask him to take on the role. He recalled saying a silent prayer to help him “do the right thing for the right reasons.”

The mayor said he was also talking to law enforcement to go over policies and goals with them.

Kim said he didn’t have a time frame for when he hoped to finish talks, just “as soon as possible.”

He said a lot of “pain and anger” was coming out in the protests in reflection of how successive governments have treated the Hawaiian people since the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

He said the standoff over the telescope may give “us an opportunity to be better and I hope we take advantage of it.”

The 13 telescopes already on the mountain have suspended nighttime observations and other operations while the road is blocked because they can’t be sure they’ll be able to get staff to the summit. On Tuesday, protesters prevented Gemini Telescope technicians from going to the summit to perform maintenance.

The protesters object to building the Thirty Meter Telescope because they are concerned it will harm a site some Native Hawaiians believe to be sacred.

6 Comments
  1. harry oyama July 25, 2019 3:34 am Reply

    Its a wonder that when the world is watching the State and Federal agencies all of a sudden after more than 100 years of oppressing the Hawaiians, finally acts in a civilized manner? Do that mean this feable attempt “wipes the slate” clean as how the false Christian religion propoganda works every Sunday so its okay for the next 6 days of mayhem and plunder?

    Native Hawaiians should reject this false religion, which is a major factor in keeping you in servitude, should go back to its roots.


  2. Bluedream July 25, 2019 11:50 am Reply

    This doesn’t make this whole saga any less boring. I really could care less about a telescope. What a stupid protest.


  3. Leilani July 25, 2019 3:52 pm Reply

    Reject Christianity. Right.
    One problem is the original Hawaiian religion which allowed men to sacrifice women.
    On the mainland, they are also finding this was done by Native Americans. Anthropologists are finding women’s and children’s bones at the base of tall cliffs.
    NICE.
    While the first pioneer women in Oregon were the first in the world, apparently, to own land in their own names.


  4. Leilani July 25, 2019 3:55 pm Reply

    This article begs the question:
    Why do Samoans come to Hawaii? Not doing so well in Samoa? Why not?


    1. Really? July 26, 2019 8:19 am Reply

      If Samoans never came to Hawaii, or Tahiti….there wouldn’t be Hawaiians!!!


  5. Leilani July 25, 2019 4:13 pm Reply

    Oyama:
    Yes, in Japan, they killed Catholics by the tens of thousands in the 1600’s. That’s the way to get rid of that fake religion. Even when they are your own people?
    My mother became a Christian in Honolulu and she never stopped. She read the Bible early in the mornings, quietly.
    I would find her setting in her bedroom, reading. She was a very sweet person and given strength by the verses.


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