Question: Did Kalākaua support the building of telescopes on Mauna Kea?
Answer: No. This is unfortunately an outright fabrication. Mauna Kea has always been a Wahi Kapu -- a sacred place revered and protected by all of the aliʻi. Kalākaua did permit a small telescope (with a structure about the size of a large toolshed) to be built in his backyard in Honolulu. This was specifically to allow the observation of the Transit of Venus in 1874, which the King slept through.
This telescope is the one that was built in Honolulu during Kalākaua's time. His gracious permission for its construction (in downtown Honolulu) is often cited as "support" for astronomy projects like the TMT.
You can read the full story of the observation of the Transit of Venus in Hawaiʻi here. Unfortunately, what is shown by these historic accounts is an intense disrespect for the King and the Hawaiian people by the project's astronomers, who refer to them as "pagans" and "savages".
We think that the scientists of today can do better.