Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei leader reflects on Auckland history

By Heeni Brown

With Auckland's 175th Anniversary weekend approaching, who better to speak with than 78-year-old Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei leader Grant Hawke about the highs and lows of being Māori in Auckland and what he thinks is the way forward.

It's clear he's old in age, but that doesn't mean he's given up the fight.

Hawke says, "We're always going to the Crown to say look we've been denied to live on our land for a hundred and something years and you want to charge us the rate that's going now because of Paratai Drive and Mission Bay."

Hawke has lived in Auckland for more than 75 years, he's chaired the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust board and has clear views about where to from here for the iwi.

"What I'd like to establish is a real good honohono with all those other groups, those 14 other groups and that we can improve the status of those Māori or tangata whenua here in Tāmaki Makaurau so that we have our own systems to be able to develop these things through councils. Assist rather than going to them and begging," says Hawke.

It was only earlier this week that Auckland was considered the ninth least affordable metropolitan city in the world according to the 2015 Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

Newbie Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says it's an issue he's aiming to tackle.

Like the rest of Auckland, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are feeling the housing issues but Grant is optimistic for the future.