SOUL tamariki send open letter to PM

By James Perry

The group leading the campaign at Ihumātao have added the voices of their tamariki to the calls for the government to step in at the historical site.  SOUL released a video overnight titled "An open letter to Jacinda Ardern from the children of Ihumātao".

The video shows two young girls, Huia and Pareamio asking Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to intervene in the long-running dispute near Auckland Airport.

The pair then call on supporters to email Ardern asking her to take immediate action.  Te Ao Māori News spoke to some people at Ihumātao to get their views on the voices of tamariki being heard.

Mārama Sharkey, who grew up on Ruaiti Rd in Ihumātao and was present today with her mokopuna says, "It's sad that it's come to that point, the voices that have gone before them haven't been heard and now our tamariki and our mokopuna are starting to speak up as well."

Taura Te Whata, who is from Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Mākino, says it is important for the government to take action, and do so sooner rather than later. 

"We don't want it to get the point where it becomes like Bastion Point.  But if it comes to that, well hey- and the government do decide to step in, well then it's going to be a bit too late."

Ardern said yesterday the government will not intervene and side with the "local iwi". 

She says, "they are not the ones leading the protest here and so if we come in over the top, it really would be undermining the local iwi in this case."

However, today Auckland City councillors voted unanimously in favour of a motion by councillor Cathy Casey asking Mayor Phil Goff to invite all affected parties, including the government and all mana whenua with claims to the Ihumātao area to find an end to the dispute.