PUA'S TAKE ON
MAUNA KEA and the TMT:
Pua believes the right to worship, or not, is one of the greatest fundamental human rights that we have. The people's right to worship and practice must be respected and protected whether Christian; Jew, Buddhist; Hawaiian faith practitioner; or any other faith. This right is protected under the United States Constitution, First Amendment, Bill of Rights, that Government cannot deprive people of their Freedom of Religion. If practitioners of a faith believe Mauna Kea is sacred and that there should be limited/no development on Mauna Kea, Pua believes those beliefs should be respected and their ability to practice their faith protected.
He understands that TMT is a very complex issue with many interest and concerns including, economy, science, environment, culture, land ownership, procedural issues, broken promises, and mismanagement. However, for Pua this issue turns on the U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment, Freedom of Religion, and for that reason, cannot support the development of TMT on Mauna Kea.
He believes only Hawaiian faith practitioners can determine the how, what, and when, of their faith and practice. He supports continued dialogue between practitioners and supporters of TMT towards a mutually beneficial resolution if possible. As your Trustee, Pua would be happy to assist in such a process. In addition, Pua will promote a state law, similar to the Federal NHPA Section 106 review process. Such a law would require the State of Hawaii to deliberate with the Hawaiian Community regarding any act that my impact a significant cultural site such as Mauna Kea, before any action can be taken.
In the interim, Pua supports the continued "mutual stand-down," where TMT construction remains suspended and access to Mauna Kea remains open.
Pua believes in principles of justice and fairness. He believes in Ho‘oponopono. The essence of Ho‘oponopono is to make right what is wrong and restore what was lost or taken. It is Pua's position that we must Ho'oponopono the Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i of 1893. That for the good of the Hawaiian People and all the People of Hawai‘i, this wrong must be made right. Only then will pono (balance and righteousness) return to the People and Land and both can prosper. Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ʻĀina I Ka Pono.
The question here is, what was lost?
The answer, a Sovereign and Independent, Nation of Hawaiʻi.
As such, Pua believes Sovereignty must be an option in regards to any governance model.
He believes only Native Hawaiians, and Hawaiian Nationals have standing to choose a process and governance model whether it is Sovereignty, Federal Recognition, or any other model. These decisions cannot be made by OHA, the State of Hawaii, or the Federal Government. The process and model must be initiated and facilitated by Native Hawaiians and Hawaiian Nationals. This body may choose to receive assistance from other entities and governments at their discretion and under their conditions.
Pua believes OHA's role should be a resource, to educate; facilitate; and assist; in the process as needed and requested. Furthermore, OHA must remain neutral regarding any governance model (not pro Federal Recognition as it has been in the past). In short, OHA is to be a resource, and not dictate any particular course of action or particular governance model.
Pua's heart goes out to those who lost loved ones from Covid-9 as well as all of those who have suffered in any and every way from lost employment, reduced income, restricted travel, and social distancing. Covid-19 has been a terrible thing and burden on so many of our people. Yet, Pua believes there are silver linings and some very important takeaways that we can learn and benefit from. These include, but are not limited to the following:
(1) It is often during difficult times that we are humbled and seek protection, guidance, comfort, and blessings, from that which we consider Divine. And in so doing, our faith and testimonies grow and are stretched in the Divine. Covid-19 has provided the incentive for many to strengthen their relationship with their God.
(2) The down time for many has given them the opportunity to bond and draw closer together as families.
This down time has also given us the opportunity to reflect on our many blessings and to consider what is truly important in our lives, a reality check if you will.
(3) As people have suffered in numerous ways, others have had the opportunity to rise to the occasion and exercise their humanity and provide charitable services. This has been a win-win situation, providing needed help and services to the needy while building compassion and character for providers.
(4) It has become abundantly clear that we are extremely vulnerable when our economy depends so heavily on one industry such as tourism. Under the current situation, anything that negatively impacts tourism in Hawaii, will have a substantial and significant negative impact on Hawaii's economy.
(5) With lost jobs and reduced incomes, many people struggled to provide food for their families, thus the long food lines at various locations on ever island.
Given 4 & 5 above, as your OHA Trustee, Pua will advocate for and promote the following:
(1) In the spirit of E Komo Mai and Malama Aina, Pua will work with the Tourism and Hospitality Industry to promote culturally competent tourism including eco tourism. The goal here is to share, educate, and promote traditional Hawaiian cultural values at home, abroad, and worldwide.
(2) Pua will advocate for and promote diversity and reduce dependency on tourism. He will look at Hawaii's resources, and geographic location to identify and promote economic opportunities not related to tourism.
(3) Pua understands that at the time of Captain Cook there were as many as 800,000 Hawaiians living in Hawaii, totally self sufficient. That today, we import 90% of our foods, including 63% of our seafood, and we live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He realizes that we have 1.4 million people in Hawaii today, but also believes that we can do much much better regarding sustainability. Pua will look at opportunities to provide incentives and implement restrictions to keep agricultural lands agricultural and not being developed. He will also advocate that Hawaiians return to the land, whether it is their own lands or community lands to grow produce and raise live stock. This sustainability initiative would also include workshops to teach beneficiaries how to be sustainable on the aina such as fishing, hunting, and gathering.