'No tank you' to land sale

By Taroi Black

It may be a mock-up of war but for locals the real war is yet to begin between Ngāti Whātua Orākei Trust and members of the iwi.

The dispute is related to the selling of iwi land to purchase single sections off the Kupe Street Ridge for property development.

Protestor Steve Phillips says, "Our trust board has ignored our requests to meet with them to discuss and to sit down with the hapū, the wider hapū members and discuss the sale, or not, of the whenua in Orākei."

“We've got over a hundred whānau on a housing waiting list, waiting to get homes.  These whānau are waiting on the streets, in garages, in overcrowded conditions.”

CEO Jamie Sinclair says there is a plan in place to meet the demands of whānau.

“The sale of these homes will enable us to actually look at a plan to put up to 1,000 more homes along Kupe St Ridge so that we can get as many whānau back where they want to be, on the papa kainga,” says Sinclair.

Tribal members claim they were given a two-week window for first right of refusal to purchase a home.

“We have had significant interest from whānau who are interested in taking it further.  Look, there was always going to be a time frame, I'm not sure about two weeks but certainly there was a time frame around that and, yep, these homes, they will be expensive.”

However, Phillips says he knows of no one in the iwi who can afford $1.8mil to purchase a house.  

The issue is likely to fire up again at the Ngāti Whatua Orakei AGM at the end of this month.