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Maori And Pakeha Unite To Fight Heritage Threat

Cleveland Cares

For release: 9 December 2006

Maori And Pakeha Unite To Fight Heritage Threat

Local Maori and Pakeha are standing united against a threat to the rural character of the Wairoa River Valley, near Clevedon to the South-East of Auckland.

At issue is a proposal to build 297 new homes in a high density development on man-made canals close to the river's mouth. Members of the Manukau City Council are currently hearing submissions for and against a District Plan Change needed to facilitate the proposed development.

Opposing the Plan Change on behalf of the Ngai Tai Umupuia Te Waka Totara Trust, the Ngai Tai Iwi, whanui and Umupuia Marae, Trust Chief Executive James Brown has told Council members that the issue confronting them is a simple one.

"For over 200 years the Wairoa District and Clevedon community has sustained its growth and development on rural practices and industries. Today Ngai Tai is faced with a proposed plan change to accommodate an urban development with intensive housing, " he said, adding that the development would be out of keeping with the areas "unique rural community".

The Trust's submission refers to the area's rural zoning as necessary to accommodate a "200 year desire of what is appropriate and applicable to this harmonious bi-cultural community".

"Today Ngai Tai identifies the Clevedon CARES group and their supporters as the very Wairoa community our bi-cultural ancestors established so as two peoples of two vastly different cultures could co-exist harmoniously," the submission continues.

Clevedon CARES spokesperson Mary Whitehouse says that the community organisation's members are greatly heartened and honoured by Ngai Tai's support in the campaign against the proposed canal development.

"Compared to Ngai Tai, the rest of us are all newcomers to this area. But we too are conscious of protecting a precious part of New Zealand's heritage. Unlike the proposed development, Clevedon is a real village which has grown up slowly and organically since colonial times and which possesses the kind of quiet charm that you find in long-settled places.

"As the canal development is for residential use only, the shops, businesses and services required by people living there would need to be built either in Clevedon itself or in the surrounding countryside, irrevocably changing their character. At the same time, we could expect greatly increased traffic and more accidents on our winding country roads," she says.

Mary Whitehouse adds that a further concern about the proposed development is the large-scale dredging of the river and sediment disposal that would be required, probably on a recurrent basis.

Amongst submissions from local people, those against the Proposed Plan Change outnumber those in favour by a ratio of six to one.

Clevedon CARES is to present its own submission to Manukau City Council members on Monday 11th December, commencing at 9.00 am. It will be followed by the Auckland Regional Council which will also be presenting a submission opposed to the Plan Change.


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