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New Action Station petition to #ProtectIhumātao

The mana whenua-led, community-supported SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) campaign has launched a new public petition to protect a rare cultural heritage landscape at Ihumaatao near Auckland International Airport. SOUL linked with the social media platform Action Station and the petition can be found at: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/toitu-te-whenua-protectihumaatao.

The petition asks the Government and Auckland Council to buy the land from Fletcher Building Limited (the current owner) or mandate a process that will enable all affected parties to work together to produce an outcome everyone can live with.

SOUL spokesperson Pania Newton said that it’s time the Government and Auckland Council stepped in and sorted this mess out. "Ultimately this injustice lies with the Government, who confiscated the land in 1863. But Auckland Council must also accept its share of responsibility. It recommended that the land become a special housing area without doing due diligence. Both share responsibility. But the greater burden lies with the Crown."

The original confiscation is yet to be addressed by the Crown because the land has been privately-held since it was granted to a settler farming family.

Designated as Special Housing Area 62 and earmarked for a housing development in 2015, SOUL has led ongoing actions and protests since then to save it from this fate.

Brendan Corbett, of SOUL, said that the legal system has failed to protect the people, the heritage, and the land at Ihumaatao. "We, the people of New Zealand, must stand together and demand this 155-year-old dispute be settled in a just and fair manner. Successive governments and councils created the problem. They now need to front up and fix it."

The land’s outstanding cultural, heritage, conservation, historical, geological, open space and spiritual values are now at risk of permanent destruction.

Newton is encouraging people near and far to take a stand for this land by signing the petition: "We’ve now exhausted legal options because of flaws in New Zealand heritage legislation and are doing everything we can to avoid a confrontation on the land but we need our supporters to sign the petition to show Government and Council that New Zealanders care about this unique landscape."

SOUL’s Action Station petition calls for a political intervention to resolve the dispute concerning the future of the 32-hectares, which is part of the adjacent Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve, New Zealand’s Stonehenge. SOUL wants to protect and preserve the land for current and future generations to learn from, understand and enjoy.

Corbett added: "If as a country and as a city we are willing to sacrifice this cultural heritage landscape, then nothing is sacred. No-one wants a confrontation on the land and we shouldn’t test that resolve but SOUL supporters are willing to face down the bulldozers if we must."

SOUL is now calling on the public to take a stand for the contested land by signing its Action Station petition. Join SOUL to show the Government and Auckland Council that this issue matters and that you want political intervention to #ProtectIhumātao.

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