National | Government

Ihumātao finally settled

The Crown has agreed to buy the Ihumaatao land from Fletcher Building in a transaction it says is outside the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process for $29.9 million.

“A deal has finally been struck and Kiingitanga gives its blessing to that deal,” Kiingitanga spokesman Rahui Papa says.

“After more than 160 years of alienation from Ihumaatao, the descendants of the original owners will be reconnected with their whenua.”

Police confront SOUL members as they occupy Ihumatao. 

Mr Papa says Kiingitanga’s intervention brought a tikanga-based approach to the discussions and gave the parties the time to develop a “by Maaori for Maaori” solution.

Kiingi Tuuheitia visited lhuamaatao on Saturday, August 3, 2019 and offered to facilitate discussions between mana whenua that resulted in a consensus that they wanted their land returned.

Kiingitana-led process

Mr Papa says there would be a range of views on Ihumaatao but the most important thing was a peaceful and lawful agreement by willing parties that would see an historical grievance put to rights.

Kiingi Tuuheitia thanked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her leadership in negotiating a positive outcome.

SOUL spokesperson Pania Newton leading land protectors.  

The Crown will now hold the land in trust while a Kiingitanga-led process is undertaken to decide the Ahi Kaa status of parties who claim a connection to the whenua.

Housing Minister Megan Woods said the land is being bought from Fletchers for $29.9 million under the Land for Housing Programme as the parties have committed that there will be housing on the site.

“The exact form that takes will be agreed by the signatories to He Pūmautanga - it could include Papakainga housing, housing for mana whenua and some public housing. It will be a sensitive development that recognises the special characteristics of the land.

“There is a need for housing to support kaumatua and kuia of this place and this agreement recognises that,” Megan Woods said.

The decision by Heritage New Zealand to extend the classification over parts of this land, would have some impact on what happens,”\ Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said.

“Alongside housing, the parties want to use some of the land to provide better recognition of the cultural and heritage values associated with Ihumātao.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said He Pūmautanga marked a significant step forward for the mana whenua of Ihumātao.

“It is important that those who have an interest in the future of Ihumātao have a seat at the decision-making table.

“To that end, a steering committee will be formed working on a consensus basis to make those decisions and guide the process from here,” Willie Jackson said.

The steering committee (Rōpu Whakahaere) will have six members including: three Ahi Kaa representatives supported by the Kīngitanga; one representative representing the Kīngitanga; and two representatives representing the Crown;

Auckland Council will provide an observer to attending meetings and work with the Rōpu Whakahaere to achieve the vision and objectives of He Pūmautanga.

Fletcher Building had had plans for a 480-home subdivision on the site. But protestors moved on to the site three years ago and last year were served an eviction notice, which led to confrontations with police before Fletcher was asked to put its subdivision on hold while the Kiingitanga talked to local iwis.