National | Mau Whenua

Long-running occupation of Wellington's Shelly Bay 'suspended'

The Mau Whenua collective has suspended their long-running occupation of Marukaikuru, Shelly Bay in Wellington.

Led by descendants of ngā iwi o Taranaki whānui, Mau Whenua began the noho whenua 525 days ago in protest it says at the unauthorised sales of their lands to developer Ian Cassels of the Wellington Company.

"Mau Whenua under traditional Taranaki practices maintained a lawful and peaceful protest against injustice and the invalid sale of their whenua at Marukaikuru/Shelly Bay and elsewhere in their takiwā," Mau Whenua said in a statement Sunday.

In recent weeks, a "historic reconciliation" has been reached between Mau Whenua and Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust as a result of which the collective says it has now realised its main objective.

Mau Whenua says the reconciliation confirmed the trust will maintain the principle of rangatiratanga through holding land and embedding this in their strategic and formal documents. This commitment was marked by a ceremony at Shelly Bay on Saturday and follows the laying of a mouri stone as part of a healing process there last week.

“The coming together of Mau Whenua and PNBST, and an agreement to hold the land, effectively means our main objective has been realised and our occupation has been successful in that respect," said Mau Whenua kaitiaki Josh Parata.

"As such, Mau Whenua have suspended our 24 hour presence on the whenua at Marukaikuru/Shelly Bay but will continue protecting our lands and rangatiratanga but now alongside the Trust in other ways.”

Mau Whenua spokesperson Shamia Makarini said they are "delighted" to now be uniting with the trust.

“Shelly Bay has been the platform to highlight the wider issues of inequality and injustices that are created through discriminatory legislation, a disastrous Treaty settlement process and actions of a few that disadvantaged many," Makarini said.

"Our Settlement Trust holds the key to address the localised injustices we have been protesting here, however ultimately, if central and local government Treaty partnership regulations such as the Treaty settlement process and RMA had been fair, we would not be facing these issues currently and we are delighted that the Trust is now uniting with us to address these wider issues."

Mau Whenua, Taranaki whānui descendants and members of the local community held a final karakia at Shelly Bay and exit from the site earlier this evening.