S.O.U.L named supreme award recipient at Matariki Awards

By Te Ao - Māori News

S.O.U.L - Te Hapori o te Ihu o Mataaho has been recognised as the overall winner of  Te Tohu Tiketike o Matariki Supreme Award at the 2020 Ngā Whetū o Matariki Awards.

The Save Our Unique Landscape collective, which is attempting to find a resolution to the Ihumātao land dispute, was selected as the supreme award recipient from among 27 finalists across 11 categories during a two-hour special on Māori Television on Saturday evening which celebrated Māori achievement across Aotearoa over the past year.

With Covid-19 limiting options for a traditional awards ceremony, Māori Television sent production crews to the homes and communities of finalists and observed them celebrating with friends and whānau.

S.O.U.L - Te Hapori o te Ihu o Mataaho was named Te Tohu Tiketike o Matariki Supreme Award recipient.

About S.O.U.L - Te Hapori o te Ihu o Mataaho

The Save Our Unique Landscape (S.O.U.L) campaign is led by mana whenua members whose families have resided in Ihumātao for many generations. Their whakapapa links to the whenua include Ngāti  Mahuta, Te Ahiwaru, Waikato-Tainui, Te Ākitai and Te Waiohua.  The group are inclusive of residents, ratepayers, community members and interested parties.

As a collective, the group says they believe that having a Special Housing Area in Ihumātao will not contribute to making Tāmaki a liveable city but destroy one of the few significant and unique historical, cultural,  spiritual, social and environmental spaces they have left in Auckland.

In  2019 SOUL took their petition to parliament demanding government intervention to prevent a confrontation on the land. The following month a hikoi saw a 20,000-signature petition delivered to Auckland Mayor Phil  Goff calling for local council and government to protect the land.

At the end of 2019, negotiations were underway between the government, Auckland Council and Kīngitanga to find a resolution to the Ihumātao land dispute.

Ihumātao remains at the centre of a land occupation which heightened in 2019, with Pania Newton at the helm.  She has been instrumental in a number of developments since the land came into dispute and has taken the cause to the United Nations three times.