- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Officials are holding off on decommissioning Hoku Kea, the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s broken teaching telescope on Mauna Kea.

Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities, a group of Native Hawaiians who support the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope, were joined by others in expressing concern about the potential impact of losing teaching tools, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/28Vc4gX ).

Office of Mauna Kea Management board members want input from the public and governor’s office before they decide whether to move forward with approving the official notice of intent to decommission the telescope.

Gov. David Ige decided three telescopes would be removed from the mountain considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians after protests stalled TMT construction there.

Faculty members have said lawmakers will not remove funding allocated for Hoku Kea’s replacement if the new telescope is installed elsewhere.

Hoku Kea director Pierre Martin says new equipment arriving in July will likely stay on the university’s Hilo campus as the search continues for an alternative site.

“Unless a site becomes accessible quickly, we will likely install some of this equipment on campus this fall,” he said in an email. “We are working with PUEO to be able to have members of the communities involved in these activities.”

He said the goal is to make Hoku Kea accessible to children from the start.

“As for a more suitable site, we will see how events develop in the coming months,” Martin said.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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