Anger at Hauraki Tribal Support for East West Link
30 August 2017
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Angered at Hauraki Tribal Support for East West Link on the Manukau
Ahi kaa iwi Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Kawerau a Maki oppose reclamation of Manukau for a motorway
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have finished giving their evidence against the East West Link proposal, which is also opposed by five other iwi who live on the shores of the Manukau.
The five other iwi are Ngati Whatua nui Tonu, Te Kawerau a Maki, Makaurau Marae, Waikato-Tainui, and Ngati Te Ata, who have all opposed the resource consent lodged by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to build the East West Link road between Penrose and Onehunga. Te Akitai, whose marae sits on the inner reaches of the harbour, have expressed concerns with the impacts on Te Hopua a Rangi, the explosion crater at Onehunga, that will be further modified and have up to 18 lanes of traffic through it.
The Environmental Protection Authority’s Board of Inquiry hearing has taken place over the past 10 weeks.
As resident iwi living on the Manukau harbour, Makaurau Marae at Ihumatao and Te Kawerau a Maki strongly object to the proposals of NZTA to reclaim and destroy 25 hectares of habitat for rare and endangered species along the Mangere inlet.
Chairman for Te Kawerau a Maki, Te Warena Taua, recalled giving evidence in 1985 as a young man in front of the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of his people in their attempts to protect the mauri and ecological health of the Manukau.
“It is disappointing to now be a much older man and essentially put the same argument forward - that we and the Manukau have had enough. All the old people of that time are now gone but we continue the fight.”
Onehunga and Mangere were Ngati Whatua’s principal villages at the time Governor Hobson arrived and he stayed with Apihai Te Kawau at the villages for a time. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says he is encouraged that the iwi who actually reside on the Manukau were united in their fight to protect the Manukau and Te Hopua a Rangi from further destruction.
Blair said it was also important to have the support of both Waikato-Tainui and Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua for the stance taken by their respective resident tribes at the hearing.
“It angers us however that Hauraki-based iwi such as Ngati Maru and Ngati Paoa who are not ahi kaa (continuous occupiers) here submitted in support or remained ‘neutral’ on the motorway. This is the problem when boundaries are not respected as NZTA conveniently give equal weight to the korero of iwi who do not live here. Those Iwi should simply leave this to us as we are the ones left dealing with the consequences of this roading,” says Blair.
This month, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges announced that the East West Link would be one of 10 roads to form the next generation of Roads of National Significance. Bridges referred to the new projects as a ‘sensible and logical’ extension of the original seven Roads of Significance – a notion Blair strongly refutes.
“There is nothing sensible or logical about building a motorway on a waterfront in the coastal marine area and destroying habitat and the current amenity for walkers and cyclists along the Mangere inlet” says Blair.
The Labour party’s proposal to build a $3 billion light rail network in Auckland was praised by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and the iwi especially supports Labour’s plans to scrap and re-think the East-West Link.
Ngati Whatua Orakei are scheduled to give their closing statement at the Board of Inquiry in a few weeks and the hearing is due to adjourn on September 15th.