House Speaker Scott Saiki is seeking Native Hawaiian nominees for a Mauna Kea working group tasked with restructuring government management of the mountain.

The 15-member group would include seven individuals nominated by Hawaiian groups and communities. Saiki would be able to appoint those seven members, a provision of the working group that has already drawn criticism from some Native Hawaiian activists.

The other members of the group would include one representative each from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and the Mauna Kea Observatories. Saiki would also appoint three House members as well as the group’s chairperson.

“This working group will address one of the most consequential public policy issues facing Hawaiʻi. Its work will be inclusive and constructive, and I hope that we will receive a range of diverse nominations,” Saiki said in a press release.

House Speaker Scott Saiki wants nominees for a Mauna Kea working group. Blaze Lovell/Civil Beat/2019

The House is asking interested parties to complete nomination forms available on the Legislature’s website. The applications should be sent to MaunaKeaWG@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Applications for Native Hawaiian organizations are due April 5. Nominees from the Big Island will be given special consideration, according to the House press release.

The House voted to approve the working group Thursday, when a majority of the chamber’s 51-members approved House Resolution 33, the measure proposed by Rep. David Tarnas that lays out the working group’s responsibilities.

The resolution came as Saiki called for UH, which controls a master lease over Mauna Kea’s summit, to relinquish management of the mountain. The working group would be tasked with evaluating a new management structure for Mauna Kea.

The group has until Dec. 31 to produce a report and propose legislation for next session.

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