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Labour’s Transport Plans Get Thumbs up From Ngāti Whātua

Labour’s Transport Plans Get Thumbs up From Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei

The transport plan announced yesterday by Labour leader Jacinda Adern gets a big tick from Auckland iwi Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

The iwi especially supports Ardern's call to scrap and re-think the East-West Link.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has objected to the resource consent lodged by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to build the East West Link road between Penrose and Onehunga.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says the $2 billion tagged for this motorway is better realigned to projects that build mass transit options to unclog Auckland’s roads.

“While Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei acknowledges congestion needs to improve through that part of Auckland it should not be at the expense of special ecological areas, severance of community from the moana, destroying the serenity of Waikaraka cemetery and disfiguring the volcanic crater Te Hopua a Rangi. There are smarter and much more affordable ways to achieve the desired outcome,” says Blair, who is also on the board of the iwi’s commercial arm, Whai Rawa Ltd.

The Labour party’s proposal to build a $3 billion light rail network in Auckland is also praised by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

“We have long supported changing the investment focus from cars to public transport and active transport which reduces emissions, protects waterways and improves people's health as they walk and ride more on safer streets. Maori children in Auckland suffer injuries on Auckland roads at an unacceptably 65% higher rate than non-Maori. This must change.”
The National Party’s transport plans, also unveiled yesterday, intend to address congestion with investment in heavy rail and road projects.

“Building more motorways to ease congestion is like solving obesity by adding more holes on your belt," says Blair.

-ENDS-

Background: Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has a deep and ongoing connection to Te To Waka, Te Papapa, the Mangere Inlet and Onehunga area. It’s direct association with Onehunga dates back to the mid-17th century, while links through marriage connect the iwi to the entire length of the Maori occupation of the area.

Ngāti Whātua resided at Mangere and Onehunga in autumn and winter and, soon after Matariki, would plant and till the extensive gardens in the area. Rev Samuel Marsden and John Logan Campbell both visited Ngāti Whātua at Onehunga and, after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei with Waikato iwi were major players in the economy based around the trading port at Onehunga. The iwi moved its main base to Ōrākei in the mid-19th century.

Onehunga land was “acquired” from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei during the period of the Fitzroy waivers (1844-45) when settlers could purchase land directly from Maori vendors, itself a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi. When these transactions were later examined by land commissioners appointed by Governor Grey, the sale of only eight acres was upheld. Of the remainder, 723 acres became Crown land and a further 575 acres were kept by the Crown as defence land – none was made available to the original owners, despite a requirement 10% of land sold was to be kept aside for the benefit of its 'former' Maori owners. This historic grievance was settled with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in 2012.

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