A message from the cousins at Ihumaatao
Tēnā koutou katoa,
We extend our warmest greetings to all of you who supported the call to action, #Protect Ihumātao.
Ko Ihumaatao te whenua houkura, ko te whenua taurikura ko te uukaipoo.
December 17, 2020 was a very significant day for our tūpuna and whānau of Makaurau Marae, for the Ihumātao papakāinga and for the iwi and hapū who whakapapa to this whenua. The Crown announced it will acquire the contested land from Fletcher and activate a process to determine its future.
Six years ago, deeply concerned about corporate proposals for a commercial housing development at Ihumātao, we made a collective stand for the whenua and for justice. We established the Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) Protect Ihumātao campaign under the guidance of our kaumatua, kuia, pakeke and wider whānau.
We set out to use all legal and political means to protect this whenua for future generations. We took our kaupapa to the Government, Auckland Council, the Māori Land Court, the Waitangi Tribunal, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the Environment Court and even the UN.
With the help of ActionStation members, and many other groups, more than 50,000 New Zealanders joined us, including you. We want to express our deepest gratitude for all the support you have shown to our kaupapa and especially for signing our petitions. We will forever remember your tautoko.
The contested whenua has the same status as the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This week’s Government announcement creates the opportunity for our people to determine its future.
We know the wellbeing of our whenua is intimately connected to the wellbeing of our people.
We will keep that thought uppermost in our minds in coming months and years as we work with the Kingitanga and the Crown. We also acknowledge the courage and moral determination of our people to be seen and heard and, to exercise mana motuhake in any decisions concerning the future and orangatanga of our whenua.
He oranga whenua, he oranga marae, he oranga tangata.
May you and your whānau have a restful and happy Christmas.
Nā, Bobbi-Jo Pihema, Wai o te Rangimarie Rakena McFarland, Moana Waa, Haki Wilson, Pania Newton and Qiane Matata-Sipu.