Select committee weighs options for land occupied by Māori in Auckland

A hikoi marches on Parliament in March to present a petition calling for Fletcher Building's consent for a development to be overturned. - Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Māori Affairs select committee is considering the case of contested land intended for a major housing project near Auckland airport.

Ihumātao is owned by Fletcher Building, which has a 480-property development planned for the site.

For the past two years a group of mana whenua and locals who hold the land sacred have occupied it in an effort to stop the development going ahead.

The group behind the campaign, Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL), wants the government to buy the land or "mandate a process that comes up with an outcome everyone can live with".

Last month a group marched on Parliament to deliver an 18,000-signature petition calling on the government to revoke the development's consent.

The leader of the SOUL campaign, Pania Newton, told the crowd that she wasn't convinced the government would stop the housing development and accused the Labour Party of turning its back on the group since it became part of the government.

The committee visited the site last week and its deputy chairperson, Marama Davidson, said that a wide range of actions is possible. She said the committee could recommend the government find a way to stop the development, initiate a Treaty justice process or even return the land to the mana whenua.

"Once we have heard from all the people we requested and taken everything into consideration we will then make a recommendation to the petition and that will be introduced into the House."

She said she understands Fletcher Building has given the protesters notice to leave the site by May, so she knows time is short.

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