Archaeologist Dave Veart is calling on the Crown and Auckland City Council to veto an application for a Special Housing Area 62 (SHA 62) at South Auckland's Ihumātao, where a new archaeological discovery has been made. Veart says the discovery is culturally significant and the land should be incorporated into the adjacent Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve.
This latest find of ancient refuse has Veart concerned about the housing development along Orurangi Road.
“While it might be rubbish, what they contain is all sorts of information about the people who were living here. We can tell that there were fires here because there's bits of charcoal amongst the shell, we can date the shell. Often it's a sign that there's something bigger underneath.”
It has renewed both Veart and local whānau protest group SOUL's call to stop Fletcher Residential Ltd's bid to build 480 new homes.
“I'm very firmly of the opinion that this is a completely inappropriate piece of land to use that way. It's of a level of importance that it should be publicly owned by everyone in this country, not just a few, and that it should be incorporated into the Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve.”
SOUL founder Waimarie MacFarland says, “The land needs be to be left alone so it can be protected for future generations and also be a window to examine how our ancestors lived in the past to today.”
In February this year, Fletcher presented a 165-page report to the council's consent hearings that concluded a concrete farmhouse built in 1906 was the only archaeological interest worth protecting.
According to Waimarie, the land was a sacred dwelling place of their ancestors.
“Our elderly women and men, uncles and aunties told us that our ancestors lived there because it was a settlement. It became sacred because of the land wars in NZ, and many of our ancestors were killed,” says MacFarland.
“It was the crown that confiscated this land from the people here originally, they have some obligation. There were a number of undertaking made by the old Manukau City Council about public purchase that disappeared with the Super City,” says Veart.
In the next few weeks, SOUL will register the new find with Heritage New Zealand.