"I've got mokopuna...where are they going to go?" - Nanny Betty

By Taroi Black

Ihumātao kuia Betty King is upset over the construction of 480 homes on one of the Auckland’s most historical sites which commences tomorrow. 

Fletcher Building have confirmed publicly a consent from 6 May to close Ihumatao Quarry Road to allow for works to start.

“I feel angry, mamae!” says King.

Born and raised in Ihumātao for 65 years, she says mana whenua with affiliations to this historic site have been mistreated.  However, the company says Te Kawerau a Maki have negotiated the return of over 25% of the land Fletcher Building owns (8 hectares).

“We have never been consulted about it and yet my family homestead is right out down the road here," says King, "We found out about this because whānau noticed that the survey pegs were being put into the ground and they came up to make inquiries.”

The land at issue has been in private ownership for the past 150 years and used for farming.  Fletcher Building purchased the land in 2016 from the Wallace family who had lived there for generations.

King, who belongs to Te Waiohua, one of the iwi from Ihumātao, says the housing development will have future implications for the 30th generation of mana whenua on the land. 

“It makes me tangiweto because this is why we're doing it, because we have 30 generations that have literally lived on the land and we've got to give it up for other people who would never care less about it.”

“I don't want the houses, I've got mokopuna.  I am the 27th generation and I've got a 30th generation.  Where are they going to go?  We've got Pākehā, we've got Hainamana, we've got Indian, Māori mokopuna.  Where are they going to go when Auckland gets too big?  They're going to come home and there's no place for them to go.  We want it to be part of their history, not to give to any Tom, Dick and Harry that don't give two hoots.”

The house currently occupied by protesters is owned by Fletcher Building.  No one has been authorised to live at the property and trespass notices were served on three people in 2016.

In November 2017, the Tenancy Tribunal granted Fletcher Living possession of the property.