July 26, 2019
Select committee won’t side with SOUL
Meanwhile, the Māori Affairs Select Committee has declined to recommend any government intervention in the dispute, but asked the House to take careful note of the petitioners' concerns.
Responding to a petition by Pania Newton and other mana whenua founding members of the Save Our Unique Landscape group, the committee gave an overview of the dispute, including a statement from Fletcher Building that it was working in partnership with Te Kawerau a Maki as the mana whenua of Ihumātao.
The company confirmed that as part of the partnership with Te Kawerau a Maki it would return over a quarter of its 32-hectare land holding to the iwi, the land has been privately owned for the past 150 years and was previously unavailable to the iwi.
That land will be planted with native trees and there will be an open area between the new housing and the Ōtuataua Stonefields.
There would also be 40 affordable homes available for iwi to purchase, and a pathway-to-ownership programme will be developed to help iwi into homes.
A Whare Manaaki (visitor centre) will be built to tell the stories of mana whenua and the settlers.
Fletcher discussed with local and central government whether they would consider extending the existing Ōtuataua Stonefields Reserve to include the disputed land, and it was told there is no need for additional reserve space in this area.
The committee says the situation at special housing area 62 is complex, with competing rights and interests to the land, including the right to develop the land as the private owners see fit.
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