Ihumātao land campaigners head back to United Nations

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The campaign group Save our Unique Landscape (SOUL) from South Auckland have returned to the United Nations in Geneva for a third time to protest a Fletchers residential development at Ihumātao, which SOUL say will be built on land deemed wāhi tapu.

Pania Newton from the group SOUL will present to the United Nations to add pressure and support their call to see the land returned to mana whenua, recognised for its significant historical, cultural and archaeological values and preserved for future generations as a public open space.

When asked how confident they are that the UN can influence the development, Pania told Te Kāea that the UN process is becoming normalised in Aotearoa and being used in significant landmark cases.

She expains that the more it is used as a tool the greater mana it will have which Ms Newton says gives them hope.

She adds that there are other avenues that they are yet to explore and she and SOUL will continue to campaign on this issue.

Minister Twyford would not comment as the case is before the Environmental Court. Worthy of mention is that while Mr. Twyford was in opposition he strongly opposed the development. 

However, since becoming Housing Minister he is yet to comment.

Fletchers say the land has been privately owned for 150 years and has never been public open space.

Fletchers say the new neighborhood is progressing to plan and works will start once regulatory processes are complete.