Protesters hit K Road to fight housing development

A community against a proposed south Auckland housing development want locals to understand the historical significance of the land.

Campaigners are fighting a 480-house development at Ihumātao, near Auckland Airport. On Sunday they marched down Karangahape Rd - which is named after the community's ancestor, Hape.

The site is located next to the Ōtuataua Stonefields, a category 2 historic place. Carbon dating puts human settlement in the area around 1160 AD.

Organiser Pania Newton says it was an event serving two purposes.

"People can come along and learn about the history of Hape, and [it will] raise awareness about our campaign about Ihumātao.

Ms Newton says people probably wouldn't know the connection between Karangahape Rd and Ihumātao.

"There's a whole history behind the naming of Karangahape Rd."

Earlier this year the group, Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL), took its concerns to the United Nations.

"The Government and Auckland Council made a mistake in approving this land as a Special Housing Area, and in doing so have breached a number of articles in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," Ms Newton said in June.

"They're refusing to step up and fix this, so we feel like we've got no other option."

The Greens have previously expressed opposition to the development.


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

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

In May 2014, the Government and Auckland Council designated the land at Ihumātao a Special Housing Area. SOUL was formed in opposition to the move in early 2015.

In May last year, Auckland Council upheld its decision to keep the site as a Special Housing Area, despite strenuous community opposition.

The group's held a number of rallies, built a stone whare, set up a virtual occupation of the land and threatened a Bastion Point type occupation if construction goes ahead.