Hoolohe. To listen.

It was something I realized I had not done on my journey to navigate what many would consider impossible, a solution for peace on Mauna Kea. In recent memory, few issues of land management have divided and polarized Hawaii like Mauna Kea. It may be the Kahoolawe of our generation.

The journey to a peaceful solution for Mauna Kea cannot be measured by any Western poll, it has to be nurtured by the greatest gift Hawaii has to offer — aloha.

What is aloha? Aloha is reciprocity, balance.

Visitor makes a photograph of the various telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea. 9 april 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
A visitor takes a photograph of the various telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea, April 2015. Legislation pending at the state Capitol would create a new management authority for the mountain. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In order to understand this you must understand the Hawaiian worldview. The Hawaiian worldview is rooted in the physical, intellectual and spiritual institutions from which life cycles emerge. It is a foundational set of guidelines and the framework for fundamentally shifting from Western-modeled behaviors and value systems towards island consciousness. To live like an island, to think like an island.

When things are out of balance, we look to aloha to find that balance between our people, our aina and our universe. Aloha is the only way to find balance for Mauna Kea and balance is the only pathway to peace. For you cannot have peace, you will not have peace, if you do not have balance.

Proposed Legislation

Today, Mauna Kea is not in balance and so our community is not at peace.

My conversations across this state, because of proposed legislation restructuring the management and stewardship of Mauna Kea, have been educational, candid and deeply personal. Mahalo to everyone who has taken the time to attend those conversations, who have allowed me to listen, feel, respect, acknowledge and understand how special Mauna Kea is to all of us.

From Nanakuli to Waimea from Pukalani to Hilo the message is clear…something has to change. Mauna Kea’s recent past must not be a blueprint for our future.

That is why the Hawaii State Senate will continue this conversation in a new proposed draft.

There is never a perfect bill and there is never a perfect time.

On April 5, the Senate Committees on Higher Education, Water and Land, and Ways and Means will gather for a public hearing to discuss House Bill 1985 Proposed Senate Draft 1. This new proposed draft is a direct result of those meaningful conversations and feedback from our communities.

The Senate continues to encourage you to provide feedback. We welcome your thoughts, feelings, manao and suggestions to improve the bill. Additional community conversations continue over the next few weeks in Kailua-Kona, Kaunakakai, Kauai, Honolulu and finally Papakolea. We hope you will attend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is never a perfect bill and there is never a perfect time. Despite assertions to the contrary, this bill does not attempt to destabilize the situation nor does it circumvent any ongoing effort in the courts. Rather it aims to achieve balance on Mauna Kea and the ability for all to coexist through collaboration, collective leadership, mutual respect and aloha.

Only by protecting and preserving our aina and perpetuating our unique and special culture can we make Hawai‘i a strong place for all our keiki. This must be done with the aloha that exists in each and every one of us, for the common good and collective existence of us all.

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