TMT Construction Restarts

With the announcement the TMT will restart construction everything seems headed for a showdown on the mountain. The protesters are clearly preparing for action. The day is Wednesday. I was scheduled to do a training session for our crew this Wednesday, I have cancelled this. This sort of thing is common as the rest of the observatories consider how we will deal with a possible prolonged blockage of the road.

Protest Rock
The rock to build an ahu passes through Hale Pohaklu on Monday, photo by Dan Birchall, used with permission
First move was by the protesters. Alerted by a message from Dan Birchall that trucks of rock were headed up the mountain, I took a look with one of our cameras. The protesters were building an ahu (stone altar) right in the middle of the TMT access road. Women, children and guys clothed in nothing but malo hauling rock down the access road while security looked on.

Dan confirms that the rocks were rounded boulders in mixed sizes. Rounded rock, as one would find in a stream bed, is particularly desirable in the building of a proper sacred structure such as an ahu or heiau. According to legend that the rock to build the great heiau at Puʻu Kohala was hauled all the way from Waipio Valley by a chain of men across the island.

Obviously they are daring the construction crews to dismantle the structure, then to be able to claim desecration when that happens. Whatever happens our crews will have a first hand view from our site overlooking the TMT site.

I hope for more updates as the situation evolves. With Wednesday cancelled I still hope to go up Friday to complete a few things, whether I do attempt to go up is a bit indeterminate at the moment. Will wait and see.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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