Mangere community rally to protest development Ihumātao

By Harata Brown

A human chain has been formed at Ihumātao in protest against Auckland Council's proposed Ōruarangi housing development. Protesters claim the development will impact an area of cultural significance.

Local Māori and community members stand hand in hand, in the hope to save this site from housing development.

Pania Newton, Save Our Unique Landscape, representative says, “We are here, first of all, to bring together all peoples, so that they can find out the significance of this land to the Māori people and community here.”

Fletchers Residential Ltd is set to build more than 300 houses at Ōruarangi Road. The 33-hectare site has been identified as one of Auckland Council's Special Housing Areas, to fast-track development and combat Auckland's housing crisis.

“The Community has a petition before one of the select committee's in Parliament so we want to make sure that we advocate their voice on a consistent basis because the Government should be reviewing this special housing area, there are other alternative sites they should be considering.” Su'a William Sio, MP for Mangere.

Local iwi say the site is confiscated Māori land, which has been under the ownership of a farming family for many generations. The location is adjacent to the Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve, which is listed as a heritage site.

Green party MP, Marama Davidson says, “Don't build houses near sacred sites, near burial grounds, there are other sites to achieve that. In addition, this land was also confiscated by the Crown.”

“Some sacred sites include special water holes, burial sites, as well as our mountain. It is hugely significant to us,” says Newton.

The Minister of Building and Housing Nick Smith hasn't revoked the Order in Council making Ōruarangi Road a Special Housing Area.

An urgent application hearing has been filed with the Waitangi Tribunal.