Maunakea is one of the most revered places in Hawai‘i because of its cultural, historic and environmental significance, as well as being the world’s most scientifically valuable site in the northern hemisphere for astronomy. The University of Hawai‘i is privileged to be responsible for the stewardship of significant lands on Maunakea and for providing a thoughtful approach to astronomy research on the mauna. In 1968, the state granted UH a 65-year lease to operate the Maunakea Science Reserve as a scientific complex to establish astronomy in Hawai‘i. Though UH has succeeded in developing one of the world’s scientifically valuable sites for astronomy, it has become clear over the last two decades that the privilege of stewardship carries an even greater responsibility to mālama, or care for, Maunakea.
UH has taken a significant step forward to meet that greater responsibility with the establishment of the Center for Maunakea Stewardship (CMS). CMS merged the Office of Maunakea Management with the Maunakea Support Services and formalized the collaborative roles of the UH Institute for Astronomy and UH Hilo ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. CMS provides clear lines of accountability while leveraging the strengths of the responsible units and programs within UH’s management operations.
In the months to come, I look forward to providing updates on the numerous initiatives that will enhance the strong foundation of stewardship that has been built. The initiatives include the removal of telescopes, including two that are currently being decommissioned; implementing rules to manage public access and commercial activities to ensure responsible stewardship; updating the Master Plan and Comprehensive Management Plan; improving outreach to the Native Hawaiian and broader communities; seeking a new land authorization; and our work to protect natural and cultural resources.
My hope is that as more people learn of our commitment to collaboration and about our ongoing work on the mauna, the more they will see that the university is uniquely qualified to continue managing and caring for Maunakea.
I look forward to providing more information and updates, and creating opportunities for dialogue, in the months to come.
Me ka ʻoiaʻiʻo,
Gregory Chun, Ph.D.
UHH Center for Maunakea Stewardship