Hawaii Residents Support Building TMT

One thing that the current COVID-19 crisis has shown Hawaii is that the economy cannot survive with only tourism as the main private industry. People have been saying for decades that Hawaii needs more economic diversification. Agriculture, technology, science and astronomy are some of the areas where Hawaii could do good in an expanded economy.

Astronomy is ready for the next big step. The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is the major tool that is still supported by the astronomy, science and tech industry that will continue to put Hawaii at the forefront to future discovery. TMT as most know have been delayed for many years despite going through all the legal hurdles to get it approved and built. Now is the time to start building the TMT.

Attached is the most recent email / press release I got from TMT regarding a recent poll taken by the Honolulu StarAdvertiser.

*Maunakea Remains TMT’s Preferred Choice*


The results of a new scientific poll show Hawaii residents continue to support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. The public opinion poll conducted in March 2020 by Ward Research, Inc. shows that 61 percent of Hawaii residents support moving ahead with construction of TMT, with 32 percent opposed.
“Given where we are, it was important for us to understand how Hawaii residents feel about the project,” said Gordon Squires, TMT VP, External Relations. “These results are significant, demonstrating that a majority of the Hawaii community supports TMT moving forward on Maunakea. The findings also show that the people of Hawaii see the benefits TMT will bring in terms of Hawaii’s economy and education. They also understand that TMT will likely revolutionize humankind’s understanding of the universe and will help to ensure that Hawaii remains the global leader in astronomy.”
Among the key findings in the latest poll:
  • 92 percent of Hawaii residents agree there should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture both to exist on Maunakea
  • 83 percent of Hawaii residents agree that the protest on Maunakea is really about issues larger than TMT, such as Hawaiian homelands, overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, and land management
  • 80 percent of Hawaii residents agree that peaceful protests are fine but have no tolerance for protests that result in laws being broken
  • 79 percent of Hawaii residents agree that the government is responsible for providing safe construction access to the TMT site
  • 76 percent agree that TMT will help create good paying jobs and economic and educational benefits for those living on Hawaii Island
  • 65 percent of Hawaii residents agree that failure to move forward with TMT will lead to the departure of Hawaii’s $167-million astronomy industry
Law Enforcement Attitudes
The latest poll also tested attitudes about law enforcement.
Two-thirds of the Hawaii residents surveyed support the State using law enforcement to provide access to Maunakea and to allow other projects to proceed around the state.
Three-fourths of the Hawaii residents surveyed agree that the Government should enforce the law and peacefully arrest protestors that break the law – commenting that many protesters are choosing to get arrested to make a political statement.
Maunakea remains the preferred choice for the location of TMT.



Melvin Ah Ching is a photographer, consultant, blogger, desktop publisher, and computer enthusiast living and working in Hawaii. The Hawaii Files have been online since 2006.