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Ed Sheeran

Elders order Ihumātao protesters to quit

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Elders from Te Kawerau a Maki and Te Akitai have asked the group occupying farmland at Ihumātao to leave.

Save Our Unique Landscape or SOUL is trying to block Fletcher Residential building almost 500 houses on the block, which is next to the Ōtuataua Stonefields.

Claimant Te Warena Taua, the chair of Makaurau Marae, went on the site this morning accompanied by police and Māori wardens.

About a dozen occupiers retreated to a hill at the back of the site when he arrived at the cluster of farm buildings.

Mr Taua, who led an unsuccessful court action to stop the land being zoned a special housing area and then negotiated with the developer to protect wāhi tapu on the land, says the occupation is dividing the community.

He says threats on elders by occupation supporters have to stop, and many in the community who want the opportunity to buy one of the houses in the development are also afraid to speak up because of the threats.

Mr Taua says the reality is the development site is private land, so it is not the same as the occupation of Takaparawha Bastion point 40 years ago, when people were trying to stop the sale of crown land.


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