• Maunakea

    The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation is commited to helping the protectors of Mauna Kea.

  • Emergency Proclamation Cannot Stop Kumu Hula From Accessing Mauna Kea

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     July 24, 2019

    On Tuesday afternoon, the three-judge panel in Neves v. Ige issued a temporary order allowing Kumu Hula Paul Kevin Neves alone to access Mauna Kea while Governor Ige’s Emergency Proclamation (“Proclamation”) remains in effect. The Court also scheduled a new hearing for August 1-2, 2019.  

    Neves, who lives on Hawai‘i island, filed his lawsuit to protect the constitutional rights of Native Hawaiians and the public to access Mauna Kea; rights the Governor’s Proclamation violates. On Friday, July 19, 2019, Neves, through his attorneys at the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, asked the Court to temporarily suspend the Governor’s Proclamation in its entirety until a second hearing on whether to issue a “preliminary injunction” was scheduled. The temporary order issued Tuesday allows Neves to access Mauna Kea until that hearing. If a preliminary injunction is then granted, it may operate to prevent the Governor from enforcing the Proclamation until Neves’ underlying lawsuit is decided.

    While Tuesday’s temporary access order is a favorable one, its application to Neves alone offers limited relief. The order is the first of many rulings to be made in this case.

    Supporters are invited to attend the hearing requesting suspension of the Proclamation. The two-day hearing will begin on Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 16, located on the 4th Floor of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit at Ka‘ahumanu Hale, 777 Punchbowl Street. Attendees are asked to observe kapu aloha in solidarity with the kia‘i keeping vigil on Mauna Kea.


  • Press Release

    *Update*: Location changed to Kaahumanu Hale, 777 Punchbowl Street

    Saturday, July 20, 2019

    For Immediate Release:

    On July 18th the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (“NHLC”) filed suit against Hawai‘i State Governor David Ige objecting to his July 17th Emergency Proclamation (“TMT Proclamation”). The Governor’s proclamation is the State’s response to Mauna Kea Kia’i (protectors) and their peaceful protest against construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (“TMT”) on the mountain. 

    Emergency proclamations are for exceptional situations involving imminent public danger and threat to Hawai‘i’s population and its critical infrastructure.  During times of emergency and natural disasters, the Governor can suspend any and all state laws.  When issuing the TMT Proclamation, Governor Ige made clear that his intent was to enable construction of the TMT.  The TMT Proclamation’s dubious effect has been to prevent Kia’i from exercising constitutionally protected rights of free speech, free assembly, free association, and free exercise of religion on the mountain; block Kanaka (Native Hawaiians) from accessing the mountain for spiritual purposes; suspend laws enacted to maintain public lands; and criminalize legally protected traditional and customary practices. 

    NHLC is representing Paul Kevin Neves in the litigation.  Mr. Neves is a member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha, a Kumu Hula, and a Kanaka Maoli traditional religious practitioner.  Kumu Neves frequently travels to Mauna Kea, a sacred temple and site of pilgrimage, for traditional and customary practices and beliefs. 

    NHLC vows to vigorously protect Kumu Neves’ constitutional rights.  There is no emergency or imminent danger at Mauna Kea requiring suspension of state laws or violation of rights.  The Kia’i at Mauna Kea are non-violent. Their occupation of the mountain, while demanding pono (righteous) stewardship of the ‘āina (land), does not pose a danger to public health or safety.  Their traditional spiritual practices and exercise of constitutionally protected rights are not crimes.  Their kuleana (responsibility) to honor, worship, and protect Mauna Kea is not criminal.  By invoking emergency powers, Governor Ige abused the authority entrusted to him as our State’s highest executive officer to violate the rights of Kanaka for the benefit of the TMT. 

    NHLC is seeking a temporary suspension and stay of the enforcement, operation, and execution of the TMT Proclamation.  A hearing before the three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit in Honolulu is scheduled for Monday, July 22nd at 1 p.m.  The hearing will be held in Courtroom 16 on the 4th Floor of the Kaahumanu Hale, 777 Punchbowl Street.

    Kū Kia‘i Mauna. 


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