"Ugly orange concrete blocks" taken from Ihumātao - Pania Newton

By Aroha Mane
Pania Newton at Ihumātao. Source - File.

Pania Newton, who has lead the stand at Ihumātao says a decision on the future of the historical lands is near. However the company at the centre of the building developments said they are simply making changes to help with traffic flow, “Fletcher Building is making minor changes to its traffic management plan at Ihumātao in response to reduced activity at the site.

This includes removing some fencing and opening the road to the Maunga. Fletcher Building’s residential development at Ihumātao continues to be on hold at the request of the Prime Minister. Discussions with all parties on the future of the site are progressing.” 

182 days after closing in on Ihumātao, Pania Newton woke up to see Fletcher Building taking down their fences and barricades from Ihumātao.

Newton recalls the pride and gratitude she felt seeing what she describes as, "Ugly orange concrete blocks and their fences," leaving her ancestral lands this morning.

Fletcher confirmed through a media statement today, “Fletcher Building is making minor changes to its traffic management plan at Ihumātao in response to reduced activity at the site. This includes removing some fencing and opening the road to the Maunga. Fletcher Building’s residential development at Ihumātao continues to be on hold at the request of the Prime Minister. Discussions with all parties on the future of the site are progressing.”

"It was a relief to see them leave," Newton says.

In September last year, the Office of the Kiingitanga confirmed that mana whenua had come to a united decision that they wanted the land returned.

Previously the Kiingitanga had supported the Fletcher development as some uri had an aspiration for papakainga and housing.

Newton told Te Ao Māori News that Fletcher Building had advised her in advance of the upcoming changes.

"We're just happy that they followed through with what they said," Newton says.