- Associated Press - Friday, October 7, 2016

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Proposed rules for cultural practices on Mauna Kea are drawing criticism from those who say the rules interfere with their beliefs.

About a half-dozen people spoke out against the regulations at a Maunakea Management Board meeting Tuesday.

“You are not my church, you are not my priest, you are not my minister,” Chandell Asuncion said.

The board agreed to have its Native Hawaiian advisory group review the proposed rules, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2djhVgD).

The draft regulations would require a permit for construction of cultural features, prevent offerings from being placed on roadways or existing structures and require cremated remains to be scattered out of public view. They would also prohibit the “stacking or piling of rocks.”

Stephanie Nagata, the head of the management office, said the rules aren’t intended to regulate religious beliefs. The office needs to know who is responsible for building altars and other cultural figures at the site to determine whether they are authentic, she said.

“It’s a compliance issue for us,” Nagata said.

All those who voiced opposition to the rules Tuesday have been involved in protests over the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the mountain. Opponents of the project built several altars, known as ahu, on Mauna Kea during demonstrations last year.

Attorney Lanny Sinkin said he filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking to prevent adoption of the rules, although he acknowledged he hadn’t yet seen them. The suit was filed on behalf of Frank Kamehameha Tamealoha Anuumealani Nobriga of the Temple of Lono, which is involved in the telescope case.

The proposed regulations would also allow Mauna Kea rangers to tell people to leave developed areas, consider any vehicle left for 48 hours to be abandoned, prohibit disorderly conduct and camping and allow the office to set public access hours.


This version of the story deletes incorrect information that the board voted to have the governor authorize public hearings on the matter.


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

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