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Shelly Bay frozen for High Court challenge
Photo: Mau Whenua Facebook.

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A leader of the Mau Whenua occupation of Wellington’s Shelly Bay says the protest will protect the group’s position in advance of a High Court hearing.

The group of Taranaki Whānui descendants is trying to overturn the sale of the former defence base to developer Ian Cassels’ The Wellington Company by the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust.

Catherine Love, who was on the trust when it agreed to spend the bulk of its treaty settlement buying the former defence base for development, compares the occupation to Ihumātao where the SOUL group is also protesting a development under the fast track Special Housing Area Act.

She says after last week’s vote when Wellington City Council approved the terms for the sale and lease of some of its land needed for the development, Mr Cassels announced he intended to start work on the site.

"The really annoying thing is that he has so little regard not only our iwi rights but also the High Court of the land, knowing this is in the middle of a High Court process, and we cannot afford to go filing injunctions here, there and everywhere, so the only option we have is occupation and physical protection of our whenua," Dr Love says.

In September Port Nicholson Development Trust announced it had made a $19.7 million operating profit for the year to March 31 and almost doubled its asset base to $42.7 million since getting back the cash tied up in Shelly Bay.

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