Police called to help evict protesters from Auckland's Ihumātao housing development

Police on Tuesday were called in to help evict protesters from a housing development in south Auckland.

Residents have been protesting the 480 home Fletchers Residential development at Ihumātao, which local mana whenua claim will be built on land deemed wāhi tapu or sacred.

Officers are liaising with local iwi to try to end the stand-off.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told Newshub the site is sacred, and should never have been turned into a Special Housing Accord under the last Government.

Davidson said the site should be protected at all costs.

"I've been very clear in my conversations with ministers and the Prime Minister that I felt that the Government should have been able to find a peaceful resolution."

The land at Ihumātao borders the Ōtuataua Stonefields, which is a category 2 heritage site.

It was made a Special Housing Area in 2014, with the National-led Government and Auckland Council overruling previous plans to give the land heritage protection.

"This land was stolen, essentially, by the Crown," Davidson told Newshub.

"They wanted the Government to negotiate an outcome that everyone could live with, and I supported them on that call, and I'm sad to see it come to this."

Meanwhile, Fletcher Building says kaumātua and kuia, from Ihumātao, have asked protesters to leave.

In a statement, the company says the elders believe the current occupation is creating division and hurt within the iwi.

Fletcher says it's committed to returning more than 25 percent of the land it now owns, to mana whenua.

No arrests have been made at this stage, Counties Manukau District Commander Superintendent Jill Rogers said.

"We have been working closely with local iwi to address the cultural factors involved and ensure everyone is treated with the utmost respect.

"Police will remain at the site to work with all parties to resolve this matter and will also respond to any incidents that may occur."


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