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UH Board of Regents Approves Mauna Kea Rules And Management Resolution

Deborah Ward
After a 11-hour meeting in Hilo on Wednesday, the UH Board of Regents approved new rules governing the university's management of Mauna Kea as well as a resolution to further improve management of the mountain.

The University of Hawai?i Board of Regents on Wednesday approved the latest draft of rules governing activities on Mauna Kea and a resolution that calls for a plan to improve management of the mountain.


After hearing from public testimony from nearly 100 people, the regents voted unanimously to adopt the rules with one amendment.

The board eliminated a requirement that groups of 10 or more must register before entering UH managed areas. The amendment sought to address concerns that the rules restrict native Hawaiian cultural practitioners.  

Most who offered testimony at the eleven-hour meeting denounced the rules, blasted the planned Thirty-Meter Telescope on the summit, and criticized the university. A protest blocking access to the telescope's construction site has stopped the project for over three months. 

The regents' rules aim to limit the number of vehicles and commercial activity on the mountain and will now go to Gov. David Ige for final approval. (The rules can be viewed on page 627 of the board meeting materials posted by the university but do not yet reflect the amendment on group registration.)

The board also approved a resolution calling for a reorganization and restructuring plan for improving management of Mauna Kea. The resolution lists 11 action items and a timeframe for decommissioning five telescopes on the mountain. (View the resolution on page 9 of the board meeting materials.)

The regents adopted the resolution in a 9-to-0 vote, with one regent abstaining. 

The proposal was criticized by the Mauna Kea Management Board and its advisory council, both of which said in their testimony that they did not have input on it. In response, the regents requested that the administration report back on which stakeholders would be involved in developing any reorganization and restructuring plan for the management of the mauna. 

Several models that broaden the management role of native Hawaiians are operating in areas that include Kaho'olawe, Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument and community-based sustainable fishing areas.

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at khiraishi@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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