Prominent Native Hawaiians appointed to Mauna Kea Authority

HONOLULU (AP) — Governor David Ige on Monday named several people, including prominent Native Hawaiian activists, to a new council to manage the Mauna Kea summit lands under some of the most advanced astronomical observatories in the world.

Two of the eight named – Lanakila Manguil and Noe Noe Wong-Wilson – were leaders of the 2019 protests that halted construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, the last proposed observatory for the mountain on the Big Island of Hawaii. .

Many Native Hawaiians consider the summit sacred, and protesters have opposed the construction of another telescope there. The summit currently hosts a dozen telescopes built since the late 1960s.

In response to protests, the state created the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority this year with a new law that says Mauna Kea must be protected for future generations and science must be balanced with culture and the environment. . Native Hawaiian cultural experts will have voting seats on the governing body, instead of simply advising summit officials as they currently do.

All eight nominations must be confirmed by the State Senate.

The authority will have 11 voting members. The other three are representatives of the Council of Lands and Natural Resources, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, and the Mayor of Hawaii County.

Ige thanked the contestants for agreeing to be part of the authority.

“Through this new management model, I believe we can find a way for science and culture to coexist on Mauna Kea in a mutually beneficial way,” Ige said in a statement.

Also named is Kamanamaikalani Beamer, a professor at the University of Hawaii and a former commissioner of the Hawaii State Water Resources Commission. He was nominated for his expertise in land resource management on the island of Hawaii.

The current general counsel of Kamehameha Schools and former president of Hawaiian Telcom was nominated for his background in business and finance.

The governor selected Rich Matsuda, an engineer who directs community relations for the WM Keck Observatory, from three names submitted by Maunakea Observatories.

Matsuda, Wong-Wilson and Mangauil all served on a task force formed by the House of Representatives develop recommendations for mountain management. The task force report laid the groundwork for the new law.

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