Regional | Housing

Police prepare to clear Ihumātao protesters

Tensions are flaring as police notify protesters and local iwi in South Auckland to clear Ihumātao Quarry Road as requested by Fletcher Building, who owns the land.

However, the opposing side, including the SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) campaign, won't budge.

A police spokesperson says they have "given the warning to move the structures, that's what we're here for and that's what we've done. At this stage, that's it."

Campaign spokesperson Pania Newton is defiant, “We’ve decided to hold put”.

Fletcher Building says the group is illegally blocking the road, preventing the company from starting construction of 480 homes.

Fletcher Building Residential and Land Development CE Steve Evans says, “We have a whole bunch of stakeholders when we get towards starting onsite and that has included historical dealings with the protestors.  It includes current dealings with Te Kawerau ā Maki and that's the way we'll do a development.  Any police involvement with the protestors is a dealing with police, not with us.”

The company purchased the land in 2016 from the Wallace family who had lived there for generations.  The company have promised that 30% of the development will be affordable homes including at least 40 homes that will be available to local iwi.

“Our dealings has always been with Te Kawerau ā Maki," says Evans, "Te Kawerau ā Maki and Te Akitai are the two who came up having mana whenua.  Te Akitai deferred to Te Kawerau ā Maki and so we've dealt with Te Kawerau a Maki as partners for the last three years, they've worked with us and got some real good, strong attributes with the development that reflect Māoti architectural and Māori principles as well as providing a great solution that respects the nature of the stonefields that are already there.”

Public notices have been issued by Fletcher Building, who plan to begin development soon.