Ngāti Whātua want in on any Ports of Auckland sale

By Talisa Kupenga

Ngāti Whātua wants to buy Ports of Auckland and is making moves amid discussions of potential relocation and speculation of its sale.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust spokesperson Ngarimu Blair announced the iwi's interest today with talks of a potential consortium including other iwi and big time businesses.

A business valued at $1.1 billion on 77 hectares is estimated to be worth more than half a billion dollars.

Blair says, “We have always laid claim to this land along with the Waitematā seabed, which is why we are again making this known to the current mayor.”

Blair says the iwi is committed and able to put together a consortium should there be a sale. Discussions have already been held with iwi inside and outside the region and businesses with a potential interest.

“We have spoken in recent years to businesses like the NZ Super Fund and those discussions are on-going,” says Blair.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has long-campaigned for the relocation but says its sale was pure speculation and land purchase was not on the table. Blair says regardless of the port's location, if it or the land is to be sold, the iwi want in.

“We have long awaited this opportunity. When the mayor has some time, I would also like to talk business.”

Blair says as the natural owner, the iwi would like to do right by the city. The mayor says he's happy to discuss with Ngāti Whātua in potential developments.