Hundreds of signatures in a petition by local residents of Glen Innes are calling for Ngāti Paoa to halt its construction of nearly 300 homes at Point England Reserve because of the environmental impact.
Ngāti Paoa CEO Hauauru Rawiri told Te Kāea, “We will not move from our homelands to find alternative housing. Our tribe will remain here.”
Nearly 2000 signatures have been collected in a petition to stop the development.
Local resident Carel Smith says, “I know they have the right to do this, but how will it contribute to the Māori community? What's their long-term plan? Will this bring Māori back to the community to contribute to the community?”
Descendants of Ngāti Paoa will have priority to be housed in the newly built homes. But Hauauru says it's a place for the whole community.
“This is a place for the whole community, for all ethnicities, Indian, Asian, or anyone else.”
The plan includes housing, a new marae, a new pier and boat ramp, a new playing field and cafes and restaurants.
“The most important thing is that Ngāti Paoa wants to work alongside the community, just like iwi works together.”
Ngāti Paoa will hold a public meeting next week on Wednesday at Ruapotaka Marae to hear all the concerns the community have.