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Mana whenua sets the record straight

The people of Te Kawerau ā Maki have worked hard to secure substantial redress for past wrongs and will not tolerate a campaign of misinformation about their whenua, says the tribe’s chairman Te Warena Taua.

“As the mana whenua for Ihumātao, we successfully negotiated an unprecedented agreement with a private company to secure 40 new homes and the return of part of our ancestral lands – something the Crown was not prepared to do.

“Most of the protestors at Ihumātao are not from our tribe, don’t know the history and do not speak for us.”

Mr Taua said Te Kawerau ā Maki had worked hard to intervene in a private sale between a farming family and Fletcher Building several years ago, but had no legal recourse to stop the transaction.

“We decided the next best thing was to negotiate with Fletchers to win significant rights and concessions for our people.

“Fletchers agreed to protect the view of our maunga and reduce the housing development from 520 to 480 homes and enable our people to own 40 of them via a shared equity scheme – better than anything we have ever achieved from Housing New Zealand or the Crown.

“In addition, the company has returned some of our precious land.”

Mr Taua said the land was traditionally used to grow crops and is described as wahi tapu because it was con-fiscated. It is not a burial site, as protestors have claimed.

“We will not allow outsiders to rewrite history for their own purposes. They do not have the authority to speak for our people and sadly they are misguided in their assertions.”

Te Kawerau ā Maki has consulted with Kingii Tūheitia about the current situation to ensure he is aware of the mana whenua’s position on the matter.

Te Kawerau ā Maki and the Crown signed a Deed of Settlement on 22 February 2014 at Makaurau Marae in Mangere.

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