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Making a Stand for the Land, at Ihumātao, Mangere

SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscapes) PRESS RELEASE 8 March 2016

Making a Stand for the Land, at Ihumātao, Mangere
Sunday 13th March, 2-3pm, Old Ihumātao Quarry Road, Mangere

In a unique protest, members of the community will be forming a massive human chain at Ihumātao, Māngere, as a show of protection and celebration of the land currently threatened by the SHA 62 Housing Development. “Make a Stand to Save the Land” will be held on Sunday 13th March 2016, from 2 - 3pm, at 56 Old Ihumātao Quarry Rd, Māngere.

Members of SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape), and their many supporters in the community have completed all possible submissions to the Auckland Council, to the New Zealand Parliament, and the Waitangi Tribunal. For now, work at the desk and computers has paused. It is time for a different course of action: planting our feet firmly on the land. It is time to make a stand to save the land to protect precious Ihumātao from the housing development proposed by foreign-owned Fletchers Residential.

This is sacred land for Māori and an important archaeological site for Auckland’s earliest European and Māori settlement and farming. The proposed development site lies between Ihumātao pa village and the mana whenua’s sacred mountain, Te Puketapapatanga a Hape. A site rich in cultural and spiritual significance, the site is also known to be the resting place for their ancestors buried in unique lava caves (urupā). SOUL finds that Fletchers Residential has failed to provide evidence that houses will not be built over the extensive network of urupā.

SOUL spokesperson Ilmars Gravis believes that “the new Special Housing Area law, which has allowed the development proposal to get this far, is the epitome of Auckland’s undemocratic legal processes, bulldozing Aucklanders’ rights to be heard and engage in the consent process”. He added that several Auckland Councillors, including Cathy Casey and Mike Lee, have expressed concerns regarding the level of information provided to councillors, prior to voting to establish 545 Oruarangi Road, Ihumātao, as a Special Housing Area (SHA). The significant cultural, historical, ecological, and geographical importance of Ihumātao was not communicated to members of the governing body in a meaningful way. “The elected local representatives, the local board, were very aware of the land’s precious nature, yet were outnumbered and out-voted” adds Gravis. If SHA 62 goes ahead it will mean the end of Ihumātao Papakāinga, known and respected as birth-place of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). It will mean the desecration of the Ōtuataua Historic Stonefields Reserve, risks to bird sanctuaries of Manukau Harbor, a polluted river, and the end of an accessible, beautiful rural landscape, rich in both Māori and European history.

SOUL are looking forward to linking hands with their many supporters across this land, at 2pm Sunday 13 March.

Website: http://www.soulstopsha.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SOUL.noSHA/

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