One of the thorniest issues to arise during the contested case hearing over a Conservation District Use Permit for the Thirty-Meter Telescope was what weight and deference would be given to the claims of petitioners that its construction would offend their religious beliefs and interfere with their religious practices. Under the state Constitution, state law, and precedent set by numerous court cases (including PASH and Hanapi), Native Hawaiian traditional or customary practices are entitled to protection.
The issue arose early in the proceedings with the proposed participation of Mo`oinanea, described by E. Kalani Flores (one of the two members of the petitioner Flores-Case `Ohana) as the “nature spirit and guardian of Lake Waiau” who “presently resides on the summit of Mauna a Wakea.”
On behalf of Mo`oinanea, Flores petitioned to have her formally admitted as a party to the contested case. According to his petition, Mo`oinanea “has never been previously consulted regarding this and other projects on this sacred mountain. Therefore, she wishes her express concerns to be disclosed.” Her participation in the proceeding “would provide insight not previously disclosed in this CDUA,” Flores wrote in his filing for the petition. “This information is significant in order to avoid obstructing the piko/portal on the summit of Mauna a Wakea that connects with Ke Akua (The Creator) and `Aumakua (Ancestors). This is a major portal for the life forces that flow into this island.”
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environment hawaii mauna kea native hawaiians kalani flores pua case lake waiau mo'oinanea mooinanea paul aoki kealoha pisciotta tim lui kwan chad babayan jacqui hoover wallace ishibashi jr. diana larose