Gov. Ige visits telescope protesters at Mauna Kea

HONOLULU (AP) — Gov. David Ige visited protesters blocking the construction of a giant telescope on the state’s tallest mountain Tuesday while acknowledging that their grievances were not just about a new observatory but also about the treatment of Native Hawaiians going back more than a century.

Activists met the governor with a nose-to-nose greeting called honi as he approached a tent where Native Hawaiian elders have been blocking a road prevent to construction equipment and crews from reaching the summit of Mauna Kea.

Some Native Hawaiians consider the summit sacred and believe building the Thirty Meter Telescope there will only do more harm to a site that already hosts more than a dozen observatories.

Hawaii News Now streamed the governor’s arrival live, showing protesters presenting him with lei and thanking him for coming.

Earlier in the day Ige said said in a statement he and Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim understand that the issues go deeper than the telescope and were about “righting the wrongs done to the Hawaiian people.”