VIDEO: Maui Hālau Honors Mauna Kea Amid TMT Controversy

April 11, 2015, 4:39 PM HST · Updated April 14, 1:28 PM
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By Wendy Osher

A Maui hālau was among several groups of hula practitioners that danced atop Mauna Kea on Friday amid demonstrations at the site against the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope, and an ongoing effort by cultural groups and concerned citizens seeking protection of the site from development.

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    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka under the direction of kumu hula Nāpua Greig, danced a kahiko or ancient hula selection in the middle of the road on Friday morning, prior to performing the hula at the 52nd Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo last night.

    The same road was where demonstrators blocked construction crews from accessing the upper reaches of the mountain for the planned construction start of the Thirty Meter Telescope project or “TMT” earlier this month.

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    The dance, entitled “Manono,” commemorates Manono, the wife of Kekuaokalani.  The two are credited with defending their religious beliefs in the kapu system to defend their way of life, according to festival literature.

    In a message to her Facebook page, kumu Nāpua Greig said, “Although we are humbled by your support of our Merrie Monarch performance, it was this presentation on our Mauna a Wākea that will resound with us forever. To hula for Manono with and for those who truly posses her ʻano (character/likeness), our fellow kānaka (people) who stand as her kiaʻi (guard/caretaker), was the true function of this years journey.”

    The Maui hālau also joined two other groups in a hula and chant to ʻAuʻa ʻIa E Kama I Kona Moku, the title of which can be translated as, “Kama refused to part with his island.”

    Other hālau that were observed performing included Hālau Hiʻiakaināmakalehua under the direction of nā kumu hula Keʻano Kaʻupu and Lono Padilla; and Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea under the direction of Kapua Dalire-Moe.

    Today, Governor David Ige announced that the Thirty Meter Telescope or “TMT” team has informed him it will postpone construction until Monday, April 20, 2015.

    Image courtesy: Cherish Ravenscraft.

    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka under the direction of Nāpua Greig joined Hālau Hiʻiakaināmakalehua under the direction of nā kumu hula Keʻano Kaʻupu and Lono Padilla; and Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea under the direction of Kapua Dalire-Moe in a hula at Mauna Kea. Image courtesy: Cherish Ravenscraft.

    Image courtesy: Cherish Ravenscraft.

    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka under the direction of Nāpua Greig dances a hula at Mauna Kea prior to their Merrie Monarch performance. Image courtesy: Cherish Ravenscraft.

    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka offers a hula at Mauna Kea at the site where demonstrators are standing guard against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Image courtesy Koa Paulo.

    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka offers a hula at Mauna Kea at the site where demonstrators are standing guard against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Image courtesy Koa Paulo.

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