Tent embassy erected to prevent Ihumātao development

The people of Ihumātao have resorted to occupying the land near Otuataua Stonefields with the establishment of a tent embassy in another attempt to end proposed residential development in the area.

People from Samoa and Tonga have come in full support of this tent occupation at Ihumātao.

“There are people here like ourselves who are ahi kaa for this whenua who are willing to go to any lengths to protect it,” says participant Pania Newton.

The Ihumātao tribe are set to lose 33 hectares of land to Fletcher Residential who want to build 500 homes on their traditional land.

“I'm agitated with the fact that we as Māori have to come out and continue to fight these struggles, ka whawhai tonu mātou,” says Tepora Stephens of Tainui.

The proposed build is a part of the government's response to the housing crisis.

Te Kāea contacted Fletchers today for a response but to no avail.  However, the company has told media they will ensure 25% of the land area is set aside to protect the environment.

“What's happening here can happen anywhere,” says Stephens, “It can happen in the heart of Auckland, it can happen in your backyard.”

“I've sacrificed my job,” says Newton, “Coming out of law school it was quite competitive to get into a job and so being able to get into one and then leave it was a huge decision.

“When I’ve stopped any development happening here at Ihumātao I’ll probably have to get in again.”

The cut-off date for purchase by Fletchers is December 13, both the iwi and the company have until then to decide their next move.