Also see: Haleakala telescope project would focus on students, Honolulu Advertiser, February 11, 2001

Faulkes Telescope Project atop Haleakala insults Hawaiian culture

The Maui News
Monday, February 05, 2001


The Maui News article (Jan. 28) on the Faulkes Telescope Project on Haleakala, quoting from a draft environmental assessment, contained half-truths, innuendoes and downright lies. Ka'ohulani McGuire, the researcher for the report, stated that I "declined to be interviewed" and it was reported that way in the article. In all my years with Hawaiian issues, I have never shied away from an interview.

When this project was first introduced, my sister, my grandson and I invited ourselves to the press conference in Kihei. I interrupted the ceremony and protested the fact that the Faulkes Telescope Project was being dumped on the people of Maui without prior notice. Two days before the press conference, Mike Maberry of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, contacted me. He said the Faulkes people would like to hire me as a Hawaiian consultant for the project. I told him that I could not participate until I knew the entire plans for the project.

I attended a community meeting put together by the Friends of Haleakala National Park. Dr. Jim Heasley and Mike Maberry explained the plans for the telescope. Again my objections to the project were made on a cultural basis. Maui Community College Provost Clyde Sakamoto and I had a breakfast meeting to discuss the educational value of having the Faulkes Telescope built and again I voiced my objections on a cultural basis. Sakamoto organized a meeting with myself, Kiope Raymond, a Hawaiian cultural teacher at MCC; Cordy McLaughlin, principal of Kamehameha Schools; and others. We agreed the telescope would be good for the children of Maui but that there were cultural and spiritual concerns that had not been addressed.

Last year, Mary Evanson, chairwoman of Friends of Haleakala National Park, and I testified before the Maui County Council on the project and tried to have the council vote delayed until the new council came in. Upon hearing our testimony, Councilmember Wayne Nishiki asked that a resolution be passed asking the governor to release funds for a master plan of Haleakala.

That is the point of all of this. There is no Science City master plan so the people do not know what else will be put on top of Haleakala.

In a meeting with Maberry and Heasley, I asked if they could sign a paper saying the Faulkes Telescope would be the last facility built on Haleakala. They said they could not do that.

Mr. Charles Fein and his firm were hired to do the Faulkes Telescope Project environmental assessment. He is the same person who worked with Rockwell Power Systems and the U.S. Air force several years ago when more than 111 tons of sacred rock were removed from the top of Haleakala.

Culturally speaking, Haleakala is the piko (navel) of Maui and is one of the most sacred sites for the surrounding islands. Haleakala contains the remains of ancient kings and queens since it was used as a burial site for alii for more than 1,000 years. It was and still is being used as a navigation point by voyaging canoes. There is a boulder on the top of Haleakala that is the starting point for all the ahupua'a (land divisions) in East Maui. I have personally seen a heiau (temple) in the crater where the demi-god Maui prepared the lasso he used to snare the sun and slow it down so his mother Hina could dry her tapa cloth.

The entire mountain is steeped in Hawaiian lore that is culturally significant and spiritually enhancing to kanaka maoli. The late Papa Kawika Kaalakea, a renowned kahu (Hawaiian priest), noted the ancient name of Haleakala was Ala Hea Ka La (The path to call the Sun). It was the Sacred House Of The Sun, a place of prayer and initiation rites for our po'o kahuna (great priest). How many more buildings do we allow on Haleakala before this sacred Hawaiian place is desecrated?

Write your objections and comments on the assessment to Dr. Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, director, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Dr., Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. is a kahu and Hawaiian cultural consultant.

Also see: Haleakala telescope project would focus on students, Honolulu Advertiser, February 11, 2001

Ho`iho`i Mai