PHOTO ESSAY: Concerns about TMT voiced at BOR meeting

While respect and aloha were shown, testimony occasionally included direct criticism and pointed challenges to the BOR and UH.

Photo essay by Jaysen Niedermeyer

As tensions mount regarding the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Maunakea, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has facilitated much discussion on campus. Today, one such event took place in which the UH Board of Regents (BOR) held a special meeting at UH Hilo where anyone from the UH community or general public was welcome to stand before their peers and the BOR to voice their concerns.

Over the three-and-a-half-hour meeting only about half of the 120 opinions to be heard had time to be presented. A future meeting will be scheduled to accommodate the people that did not receive a chance to present today.

A speaker at the podium with a room filled to capacity with about 150 people.
Members of the UH Hilo community and the general public presented their views to the BOR (sitting in the front row) and peers.
Testifier shakes hands with regent who sits in the front row.
After giving testimony, in a gesture of civility and aloha, a testifier shakes hands with regent.
Line of people waiting to get into venue.
People line up outside the doors of the UH Hilo lecture hall where the BOR meeting was held.
The large crowd, filled to capacity, listen to a speaker.
People listen closely to someone give testimony.
President Lassner listens to testimony.
UH President David Lassner listens to testimony. Presentations occasionally included direct criticism and pointed challenges to the BOR and UH.
Testifier in green cap.
Presenting an immensely powerful and lengthy position entirely in Hawaiian, this testifier summarized and translated himself in saying: “Wrong people, wrong place, wrong time,” and that “There hasn’t been a movement of the Hawaiian people like this since 1897.”
Photo from prespective of two men in caps looking toward podium.
The room was filled to capacity with people standing in the back and to the sides, the doorways chock-full of onlookers.
An onlooker holds ti. Others are filming event.
An onlooker holds ti. Many people in the room were recording the event.
Photo looking back into the audience. Some are applauding.
Members of the audience show approval to testimony just given.
A woman in green t-shirt with words "Hawaii Aloha" at podium.
A woman gives testimony to the BOR.
Shot of full venue. Tiered lecture hall. Filled to capacity.
The BOR and audience listen attentively to a woman give testimony.
Stephanie Nagata, Greg Chun and Barry Taniguchi in audience.
The crowd’s diversity reflected the local community with business and community leaders, students, faculty and other educators.
Member of audience holds sign, "We are Mauna Kea." Matt Platz to left.
Signs with “We are Mauna Kea” were scattered throughout the audience.
UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney stands at right against wall with others.
UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney (at right in aloha shirt) listens to person giving testimony.
A flag is held by a member of the audience.
Flags and signs were shown throughout the room.
La‘akea Caravalho at podium, holds sign ver head' In the foreground is a sign, "Protect Maunakea, too many telescopes."
A member of the anti-TMT group Aloha ‘Āina gives testimony. Most presenters began by criticising the TMT, but then moved onto the deeper subjects of Hawaiian sovereignty and war crimes.
An elder speaks at podium.
A member of Aloha ‘Āina testifies.
Photo shows standing room only in the room. Against far wall is sign: Aloha Aina.
Standing room only.
Testifier in red speaks at podium.
The presence of the anti-TMT community, Aloha ‘Āina, was considerably larger than the pro-TMT community, and this dichotomy was further intensified by the presence of large colorful signs and red clothing.
Testifier at podium gestures.
A woman gestures as she gives testimony.
A person gives testimony at the front of a very crowded room.
Although over 60 people gave testimony, there were another 60 who were unable to express their views to the regents because of time constraints. Another meeting will be scheduled in the near future so those who were unable to speak today can give testimony.

To watch video testimony of one supporter and one opponent, see Big Island Video News. More video of testimonies at ʻŌiwi TV.

Learn about UH’s stewardship of Maunakea.

Photos by Jaysen Niedermeyer, a senior at UH Hilo majoring in marine science and a photographer for UH Hilo Stories.