SHA62 opposers protest at Fletcher hearing

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

Fletcher Residential Limited today presented their case to Auckland Council commissioners to build homes in a special housing area in Ihumātao.  Local Makaurau iwi opposed to the project protested and disrupted the meeting from outside and inside the building. 

Despite the vocal opposition of protesters, the hearing of submissions by Fletcher Residential Limited continued without disruption.

Waimarie McFarland (S.O.U.L) says, "We're here to urge the Council and Fletchers to listen to our concerns and not to build houses around our sacred sites."

The proposed development has been an on-going issue for several years.  The proposal, in its various forms, has been opposed by local iwi from the outset.

McFarland says, "Although they say they will show care and consideration to those areas, we're saying just leave it alone."

Fletcher Residential Limited declined an invitation to comment on camera to Te Kāea, instead forwarded a written statement:

"Fletcher Living has been consulting and planning with recognised Maori leaders who have the mandate to represent their Iwi. 

We have also commissioned a cultural impact report and consulted with Heritage New Zealand in the development of our plans.

There are comprehensive protection plans in place for sacred sites and areas of cultural importance that may arise during the development of our plans."

The final words from the protesters were more of a caution than a challenge.