In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

TMT Ensuring that science and culture coexist on Mauna Kea

The University of Hawaii shares its vision for the mountain's future

Sponsored by the nonprofit partnership of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory

Hawaii is a special place that has long honored the art and science of astronomy and navigation. Many different groups of people recognize this and believe that science and culture can coexist there, as it has for the last 50 years.

Dr. Greg Chun, senior advisor to the University of Hawaii on Maunakea, joins HI Now in studio to share more details about TMT’s vision for the future. “Maunakea represents a lot in the history of Hawaiian people,” said Chun. “In many ways it is a cultural landscape that just happens to be the premier place for astronomy in the world. And so, it’s taking that frame of reference and applying that to these various plans and management activities.”

Chun adds, “The economic impact has been documented in various studies and in various means. Astronomy also represents and provides our youth opportunities to pursue something that they may not have ever considering pursuing. And there’s no way of quantifying that. There’s no way to put a number on how valuable that is, said Chun. “The vision for Maunakea has evolved and has been evolving. We are currently going through an update of our masterplan, and so going forward, astronomy is one of the key pillars of our vision. But it has to be jointly formed with commitment to culture, education, stewardship. All sort of supported on a platform with collaborative management. There are number of steps already in process that reflect those values. A lot of people are aware of the upcoming administrative rules that we are seeking approval of. In addition to that, updating our comprehensive management plan. You will start to see the reflected values of culture, education, stewardship, and astronomy because it requires a lot of community input. Its not our role to just decide alone what the vision of Mauna Kea should be.”

For more information:,, @TMTHawaii