<i>Mauna Kea: Ho‘omana Hawai‘i</i> and Protecting the Sacred


  • Marie Alohalani Brown University of Hawai'i at Manoa




Native Hawaiian, Mauna Kea, Hawaiian Religion


A culturally informed understanding of what constitutes the sacred is the impetus for Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) struggles to protect that which they consider deserving of profound respect, such as ancestral remains, places, geographical features, animals, plants, and traditions. The controversy over the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) near the summit of Mauna Kea, also known as Mauna a Wakea, has garnered global attention and brought misconceptions about and biases towards Ho‘omana Hawai‘i (set of beliefs and belief-related practices indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands) to the fore because at the core of Kanaka Maoli efforts to protect the mountain is the belief that it is sacred. In public forums such as newspapers and social media, people have denied that Mauna a Wakea is sacred and questioned the authenticity of ceremonies on the basis that the Hawaiian religion is defunct. In actuality, there is abundant evidence for arguing the contrary.

Author Biography

Marie Alohalani Brown, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Department of Religion Assistant Professor




How to Cite

Brown, M. A. (2016). <i>Mauna Kea: Ho‘omana Hawai‘i</i> and Protecting the Sacred. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 10(2), 150–169. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v10i2.27795