Although the mountain volcano Mauna Kea last erupted around 4000 years ago, it is still hot today, the center of a burning controversy over whether its summit should be used for astronomical observatories or preserved as a cultural landscape sacred to the Hawaiian people.
For five years Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina captured on video the seasonal moods of Mauna Kea's unique 14,000-foot summit environment, the richly varied ecosystems that extend from sea level to alpine zone, the legends and stories that reveal the mountain's geologic and cultural history, and the political turbulence surrounding efforts to protect the most significant temple in the islands, the mountain itself.
Mauna Kea - Temple Under Siege paints a portrait of a mountain that has become a symbol of the Hawaiian struggle for physical, cultural and political survival. The program explores conflicting forces as they play themselves out in a contemporary island society where cultures collide daily.
In an effort to find commonalities among indigenous people elsewhere regarding sacred mountains, the documentary visits Apache elders of Arizona who face the reality of telescope development on their revered mountain, Dzil Nchaa Si An, known as Mt. Graham.
Partially funded by Pacific Islanders in Communications, Native American Public Telecommunications, and Deviants from the Norm.
Music by Brother Noland
Aka Mahi, Pualani Kanahele, Kealoha Pisciotta, Paul Neves, Manu Meyer, Keawe Vredenburg, Sam Gon III, Julie Leialoha, Kahu o Terangi, Kapono Souza, Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, Debbie Ward and Nelson Ho.
Ola Cassadore Davis & Mike Davis, Apache Survival Coalition
length: 57 minutes
National Film Registry
“Mauna Kea - Temple Under Siege” has been named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The film was among 25 added to the registry in 2020 as “America’s most influential films.”
PBS stations throughout the U.S.
Māori Television • Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Documentary award, Berkeley Video & Film Festival
Honorable Mention, Earthvision International Environmental Video Festival • Santa Cruz
National Museum of the American Indian • NYC, Washington, D.C.
ImagineNATIVE • Toronto
National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival
Native American Film & Video Festival • NYC
Maui Film Festival
Hawai‘i International Film Festival
Arizona International Film Festival
Pacifika • New York City
Brisbane International Film Festival • Australia
Cinema Paradise • Honolulu
First Nations Film & Video Festival • Chicago
Human Rights Film Festival • Fiji
Winnipeg Aboriginal Film & Video Festival
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Roshd International Film Festival • Iran
World Islands Film Festival • Jeju island, Korea
Smithsonian Institute • Washington, D.C.
New York Botanical Garden • New York City
See our Mauna Kea informational website