Auckland Special Housing Area challenged at United Nations

A protest at Ihumatao.
A protest at Ihumatao. Photo credit: Newshub.

A Māori rights group is off to Geneva to seek justice at the United Nations.

'Save Our Unique Landscape' was formed by south Auckland mana whenua in opposition to a 480-home Special Housing Area development on sacred land at Ihumatao.

Spokesperson Pania Newton told Newshub she'll be challenging the Crown.

"The coalition that is going over there will raise the fact that the Government have not met the requirements in the convention and that they continue to pass discriminatory laws here in Aotearoa."

The land's status as a Special Housing Area was upheld last year by Auckland Council, despite local Māori claiming it as wāhi tapu - sacred. 

The group say land in question has historical, cultural and archaeological significance.


1863: The land at Ihumātao is confiscated by the British out of punishment for local Māori supporting the Kīngitanga movement.

2012: The Environment Court rules all rural land west of Auckland Airport should be designated as future urban space. This ends a plan from the Manukau District Council era called the Māngere Gateway Heritage project that would have seen Ihumātao protected.

May 2014: The Government and Auckland Council designate the land at Ihumātao a Special Housing Area.

Jan 2015: SOUL is formed in opposition to the move.

May 2016: Auckland Council upholds its decision to keep the site as a Special Housing Area, despite strenuous community opposition.

April 2017: SOUL members address the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues.