Locals plead with Ngāti Paoa to stop development

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Nearly 1500 signatures have been collected against the development of 250 homes at Point England reserve in East Auckland. Glen Innes community groups and locals are pleading to Ngāti Paoa to stop.

Glen Innes is the rougher part of East Auckland, but a teacher and local resident Safron Witika calls it paradise.

“There’s little pockets of paradise around here and we need to save them for our kids, not for us and the next generation. If we don’t fight now then our kids won’t fight for it, then those kids won’t fight for it.”

But her paradise is under threat. Ngāti Paoa is set to build over 250 new homes at Point England reserve.

“If you build here there will be no reserve, there will be nothing to come and detach ourselves, get away from wifi, take your jandels off and rub your feet on the grass, and there will be none of that.”

A petition to 'Save Point England reserve from Development' is being backed by Glen Innes community groups and locals with an initial 1500 signatures.

Te Kāea got the following comments from local residents who asked not to be identified.

“What will it do for the Māori community? What's the bigger plan, will it bring back more Māori to the community so they can contribute to it?”

“I recon they should keep it as a reserve because it's really family orientated, they have movie night down there for the kids, and they have things that happened down there....with Mai FM that's happening this month. So I think the houses shouldn't be built there, they should find someone else to build them.”

Te Rata Hikairo is leading the charge. He says it's not the answer to Auckland's housing crisis.

“We are not going to solve the Housing crisis with a marae and a couple of houses, that's not gonna happen.”

Ngāti Paoa will meet locals here at Ruapotaka. Te Kāea tried to contact a spokesperson but no one was available. Public submissions to the government close at the end of the month before a final decision is made.