Police raid Mataharehare protest site; remove tents, serve trespass notice

By Will Trafford

Police and Auckland Council staff have entered the Mataharehare (Dove Myer Robinson Park) site in Parnell where protestors have gathered in opposition to a memorial to the Mt Erebus plane crash; authorities removed tents and served the group with a trespass notice.

Protect Mataharehare says 15 Auckland Council staff and eight Police officers entered the site just before noon, issuing a 48-hour trespass notice to remove the remaining tents.

Made up of kaumātua of Ngāti Whātua Orakei and Parnell locals, the group have occupied the site since February, when they laid a rāhui. Their primary concern with the development is fear construction could undermine the root structure of a 180-year-old pōhutukawa tree ‘Te Ha’.

Protect Mataharehare says the notice comes days before the Chief Ombudsman is to release a report on the consent process used by the Ministry for Culture & Heritage and Auckland Council in picking the site for an Erebus memorial.

The protesters say they were successful in stopping contractors erecting fencing at the site.

Te Ao Māori News has approached Auckland Council and Police for comment.