Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Camp Kiaʻi Calls for Maunakea Visitation Halt in Midst of COVID-19 Outbreak

March 15, 2020, 11:06 AM HST
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Worldwide Jam for Maunakea, August 11, 2019. PC: Crystal Richard

Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu published a letter Sunday morning asking supporters of the anti-Thirty Meter Telescope demonstration to refrain from visiting the camp located at the mouth of Mauna Kea Access Road.

The request, sent to supporters and posted on Facebook, is related to the outbreak of COVID-19. The number of cases of novel coronavirus confirmed in Hawai‘i tripled on Saturday from two to six cases, as two people tested positive on Kaua‘i, one tested positive on O‘ahu and one positive on Maui.

Demonstrators made the request out of an abundance of caution for the kūpuna on the mountain, who comprise an important contingent of the kiaʻi and are among the most vulnerable of populations.

The published letter is as follows:

“Aloha ʻāina kākou,

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Out of concern for the safety of our kūpuna and camp kiaʻi, and to do our part to help curb the proliferation of COVID-19, Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu is requesting that our supporters and allies refrain from visiting the camp until the crisis has passed this critical stage. We are halting all visits by coordinated groups such as schools, conferences, clubs and organizations from coming to the puʻuhonua until further notice. Kūpuna and those with a higher risk of respiratory illness are especially asked to stay home.

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We ask that ʻohana, individuals and small groups use discretion and commit to best practices in sanitation and sickness prevention while on the mauna. As much as it goes against our instincts, those at the puʻuhonua should refrain from honi and hugs and physical contact with each other. The camp remains under the watch and care of the Mauna Medic and Healers Hui under the direction of Dr. Kalama Nīheu.

If you are planning a visit, please plan on going DOWN the mountain in the evening as there are currently no overnight accommodations for visitors. Please also be prepared for the possibility that the camp may need to request that all visits stop if the threat of the virus continues to escalate. For more information about visits to the puʻuhonua, please contact Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, [email protected] or Pua Case, [email protected]

Finally, we want everyone to rest assured that we have made these decisions to reduce visitors with an understanding that there is no imminent threat of construction at this time. Should that time come, we will notify you all immediately. We remain committed to stop the TMT project on Maunakea and continue to work with our supporters and allies at the legislature, in Japan, Canada, US and elsewhere toward this end.

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Be well, take care of one another, and kū kiaʻi mauna always. E ola ka lāhui Hawaiʻi.

Me ke aloha,
The Puʻuhuluhulu ʻohana”

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