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Paddlers statewide show support for Mauna Kea

Paddlers off Launiupoko Beach Park assemble in the mountainlike shape that’s been the symbol of the movement to block the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. MATTY SCHWEITZER photos

The Maui News

At noon on Sunday, paddlers across the state took to the ocean to show solidarity for the Mauna Kea movement.

The coordinated statewide paddle-out known as “He’e Nalu No Ka Mauna” drew more than 350 people to Launiupoko Beach Park for workshops, hula, cultural protocol and Hawaiian music performances. The paddle-out ceremony at noon coincided with similar events at beaches around the state.

“It was a beautiful day of learning, sharing and building our community,” said Kahele Dukelow of Kako’o Haleakala, which organized the event. “Educating our lahui on our ‘aina, on our own terms, through mo’olelo, mele and hula to encourage political activism.”

Demonstrators across the islands have been holding rallies and marches in solidarity with the kia’i, or protectors, who have gathered at Mauna Kea since mid-July to stop construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on a summit that many Native Hawaiians consider sacred. Surfers and ocean enthusiasts also have been showing support for the movement using the hashtags #SurfersForMaunaKea and #MaukaToMakai.

Participants at Sunday’s event join in a mauna protocol hula class

“As surfers and paddlers, we have kuleana to malama mauka to makai,” said Tiare Lawrence, also of Kako’o Haleakala. “We really wanted this event to inspire and motivate people of the ocean to get involved in protecting the mauna and becoming more community engaged in local issues.”