Businesses Close in Solidarity with TMT Protesters

July 22, 2019, 8:52 AM HST (Updated July 22, 2019, 8:52 AM)
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Native Hawaiians hold vigil at Pu‘uhonua o Pu‘uhuluhulu at the base of Maunakea, July 14, 2019. PC: Scott Cate

The Old Lahaina Lūʻau in West Maui will suspend it’s lūʻau experience today as a “peaceful stand” in support of employees who support the protection of Maunakea. The company announced the decision in a Facebook post on Saturday.

The business is among a list that are responding to a call for hospitality industry employees statewide to stand in a peaceful boycott.  The call came in the form of a press release from various groups supporting the movement at Maunakea against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Skyline Eco-Adventures, which operates the Haleakalā Skyline Tour and Kāʻanapali Skyline Adventure on Maui is also closing its zipline tours across the state today.  In addition to the Maui tours, the company also operates Skyline ʻAkaka Falls on Hawaiʻi Island and Skyline Poʻipū on Kauaʻi, which will be closed today.

In a press release statement, Skyline Eco-Adventures representatives said, “Hawaiian Culture is a critical part of our company, and is the foundation upon which our society in Hawai’i stands – we stand with Kānaka Maoli – the people of these islands.” Company representatives say the one-day shutdown is, “in honor of Hawaiian Culture, and in respect to the demonstrators atop Maunakea.”

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According to Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu Maunakea (the area of refuge established at the base of Maunakea Access Road and site of an ongoing demonstration), the original call came from Lori Halemano on Friday morning. Halemano was among those who were arrested during a standoff at Maunakea three years ago on June 24, 2015.

On Saturday, Halemano issued a joint press release alongside KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, HULI Hawaiʻi Unity and Liberation Institute and Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi Political Action Committee (KPAC).

The press release issues a call to the governor and state to “respect the host culture.” The release further states, “It’s time to stop the abuse of our Aloha. It’s time to huli and put the people before profit.”

The protest at the base of Maunakea has officially entered week two. Today marks Day 8 of the ongoing demonstration.

Opposing views were shared on Friday afternoon by Gov. David Ige and leaders of the ongoing demonstration. During the exchange, protectors called for an apology from the governor after he called the puʻuhonua “unsafe” and said it “fell apart.” In making the announcement earlier this month of plans for TMT construction to begin, Gov. Ige said that after a 10-year process, the day for construction of the 30-meter-telescope has arrived.

This morning, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green is visiting the puʻuhonua. This comes after numbers at the puʻuhonua swelled over the weekend to around 2,000, according to state estimates.

Opponents of the project say development atop the mountain will result in further desecration of an area they consider sacred. Supporters of the project say they believe in the co-existence of culture and science atop the mountain. Supporters also say it will provide permanent jobs for as many as 140 workers.

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