National | Māngere

Home is where you make It

One occupant living on Ihumātao land which is set to be part of a housing development has transformed a cowshed into a sustainable greenhouse. However, she is concerned as she might be facing eviction in 2019.

Occupant Kelly Francis says, “We're currently in the middle of converting a cowshed into a seedling house so that we can invite the community to connect to the whenua and doing so by planting food to be able to get back out into community.”

Francis was acknowledged for her dedication to the environment through Kiwibank this week. She's only recently moved into this cowshed which has no running water or electricity.

“We are going to be looking at building an entire food forest. These are sacred lands and we would love to be able to share that sacredness with people today.”

However, local occupants at Ihumātao continue to dispute Fletcher Building, who plans to build 480 houses here.

“With 480 houses comes a thousand cars and times that by four you've got 1600 people occupying the land and 1/15 here that's hard enough,” Francis adds.

Despite the growing concern of being potentially evicted, she says her contribution to Papatūānuku is worth every penny.

“Of course with people who do mahi like this will know that it is difficult to work the land and include the community and care about something that you might not have years to come. So, for now I’m going to be building a food forest and going forward with that.”

The company behind a controversial plan to build hundreds of homes gets under way next year.