Jason Momoa and Dwayne Johnson Oppose New ‘Thirty Meter Telescope’ on Sacred Hawaiian Mountain

August 17, 2019 Updated: August 22, 2019

In native Hawaiian religion and culture, the dormant volcano Mauna Kea—the highest point of the island of Hawaii—is considered to be the holiest mountain on the island. Now, that sacred ground is facing desecration from an unlikely intruder: science.

The scheduled construction of the “Thirty Meter Telescope” on the mountain has sparked passionate and longstanding protests over the years. Ironically, a couple of stars from Hollywood are now opposing the new facility.

Hawaii-born actor Jason Momoa (the Aquaman) and California-born Polynesian actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have both added their voices in opposition to the proposed telescope, which was designed and approved by the U.S. Government as a way to enhance astronomic research in coming generations.

The Thirty Meter Telescope has seen protests from indigenous community members since 2014, but those have escalated more recently on social media, attracting the pair of extreme celebrity local natives to show their support for the natives’ cause.

The telescope, which would have nine times the power of the iconic Keck Observatory, also located on Mauna Kea, was planned for the summit of Mauna Kea due to reports that suggest the summit boasts the most optimal conditions for observations in the northern hemisphere.

#LIVE: Jason Momoa, perhaps the most vocal celebrity supporter of Thirty Meter Telescope protesters, arrives at Mauna Kea.

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Momoa, who was born in the city of Nānākuli on Hawaii’s island of O’ahu, joined the protestors to address the reasoning for the protests. He was quoted as saying that the protesters aren’t anti-science but rather are opposed to the desecration of sacred land.

“It’s kind of the umbilical cord to earth,” Momoa, 40, explained in an interview with CNN to help shed light on what Mauna Kea means to Hawaiian culture. “You know, if you think about the Hawaiian islands, that’s the biggest mountain in the world, right? All the way up. So Mauna Kea is the most sacred. They call it the belly button, too. That’s like our birth place. You can imagine that in the middle of the ocean. That’s how our islands were formed. So how can that not be sacred?”

He also posted an explanation for the protests on his Instagram account, showing what construction of a large-scale telescope looks like in order to help people understand why indigenous Hawaiians are offended by the construction.

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A post shared by Jason Momoa (@prideofgypsies) on

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Joy from the mauna. Goodbye 39 cheeehooooo🤙🏽🤙🏽🤙🏽🤙🏽so thankful to be here Aloha j

A post shared by Jason Momoa (@prideofgypsies) on

“Sorry Warner Bros we can’t shoot Aquaman 2. Because Jason got run over by a bulldozer trying to stop the desecration of his native land THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. WE ARE NOT LETTING YOU DO THIS ANYMORE. Enough is enough. Go somewhere else. Repost. This is what telescope construction looks like (Subaru Telescope, 1992). The TMT will be four times larger on unscathed land. We must protect our scared mountain from further desecration,” he wrote.

Unlike Momoa, Johnson was not born in Hawaii—but his family is Samoan on his mother’s side, and he spent time living in Honolulu during his high school years.

He explained during his appearance on “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” that his decision to lend support to the protestors stemmed from a desire to see consideration taken for the Hawaiian culture being ignored in favor of the telescope’s construction.

The Rock Talks About Mauna Kea On The Tonight Show

"The Rock" talks about his visit to Mauna Kea in his appearance on The Tonight Show. The interview airs at 10:30 p.m. on KHNL.Read more: https://buff.ly/2LUT0F4#HINews #HNN

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“This mountain is their church. It would be like building on this church.” Johnson explained. “This is so much bigger than a telescope being built. This is humanity. This is human beings who are hurting.” Johnson continued, talking about the native Hawaiian men, women, children, and elderly “kupuna” protesting on the mountain.

“Let’s be considerate, let’s be empathetic and let’s always take care of our people. Because at the end of the day it comes down to that. Taking care of the people.”

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