Press Release Tuesday 14th July
Dr. Keanu Sai, political scientist from the University of Hawai‘i is visiting Aotearoa this week to meet with tribal and political leaders regarding the assertion that Hawai‘i is under an illegal occupation by the U.S. and the implications this has for Aotearoa/New Zealand. Dr. Sai states that in 1898 “the United States unilaterally seized the Hawaiian Islands for military interests during the Spanish-American War and has since maintained an illegal and prolonged occupation of Hawaii, an independent and neutral State, which has resulted in the commission of war crimes at a colossal scale”.
Receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Dr. Sai’s research focused on Hawai‘i’s legal and political history since the 18th century to the present, and highlighted the illegal occupation of Hawai‘i by the United States. Dr. Sai currently lectures at the University of Hawai‘i Windward Community College and does consultant work.
Te Wharepora Hou member, Dr. Mera Lee-Penehira is co-ordinating Dr. Sai’s visit, which will include meeting with student and community groups also. According to Dr. Lee-Penehira “this affords us the opportunity to greater understand the realities of the illegal occupation of Hawai‘i, as well as to reawaken ourselves to the treaty relationship between Hawai‘i and Aotearoa. This has major implications for us. Our political leadership need to take notice and be ready to inquire into the legal status of Hawai‘i under international law and its economic, political and legal implications to Aotearoa and its citizenry.”
This millennium has uncovered new understandings of what has happened in Hawai‘i. As Dr. Sai states, “In 2001, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, acknowledged that, ‘in the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States.’”
However, the US continues its illegal occupation, abuse of human rights and desecration of sacred lands. Te Wharepora hou have maintained their stance of solidarity with native Hawaiian peoples who presently struggle for the continued protection of Mauna a Wakea. Dr. Lee-Penehira advises, “Protectors of Mauna a Wakea have been occupying the sacred ancestral mountain on the island of Hawai‘i for over 100 days now, to prevent the construction of the world’s largest telescope; the planned Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) project. This is a direct attack on the physical, spiritual and cultural integrity of the maunga and the wellbeing of the Hawaiian People and the generations to come. Dr. Sai and I will be joining other supporters of Mauna a Wakea in a dawn ceremony of solidarity on Saturday morning here in Auckland.”
It is time, as Dr. Sai states, for the world to understand “the violation of human rights and war crimes that continue to take place on a grand scale whilst hidden under a cloak of deception and lies. These abuses are now coming to the forefront”.
1. Dr Mera Lee-Penehira (Aotearoa) firstname.lastname@example.org +64 21 478194
2. Dr Keanu Sai (Hawai‘i) email@example.com 00 1 808 383 6100