Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson joins Native Hawaiians protesting giant telescope construction on sacred site

Mauna Kea's summit considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians

Clémence Michallon
New York
Thursday 25 July 2019 15:24
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Dwayne Johnson visits Hawaiians protesting against telescope

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has joined Native Hawaiian protesters seeking to prevent the construction of a giant telescope on Hawaii’s tallest mountain.

Johnson reached the protest camp on Mauna Kea as dancers performed hula and chants.

The Hollywood actor, who spent part of his childhood in Honolulu, exchanged nose to nose greetings – called honi – with protesters and then went into a tent to meet elders.

Johnson’s production company Seven Bucks Productions is making a movie about the life of King Kamehameha the Great, the leader who first unified the Hawaiian Islands in 1810.

The actor will star in the title role.

Demonstrators have been blocking a road for the last 10 days to prevent the construction of the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea’s summit, which some Native Hawaiians consider to be sacred.

Also joining the protest is an indigenous group in Canada, which has asked the Canadian government to stop funding the project.

The Canadian Press reports that the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Hawaii Governor David Ige asking them to shut down the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

Protesters block a road to the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii on 21 July, 2019.

Canada is a partner in the $1.4bn (£1.12bn) project along with universities in California and national observatories in China, India and Japan.

In April 2015, Canada said it would provide up to $243.5m (£195m) for the project over a 10-year period.

The Hawaiian governor’s envoy for talks with protesters said on Wednesday he was organising the first of many meetings with Native Hawaiian leaders.

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Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said he wants to get people to work together for what he hopes will be a common goal – and there will be “a very splintered community” if that doesn’t happen.

Kim recalled saying a silent prayer to help him “do the right thing for the right reasons” when the governor gave him the assignment.

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