SOUL Times Save Our Unique Landscape | #SaveIhumātao | www.soulstopsha.org | Issue #1 November 2015 SPEAK UP TO SAVE IHUMATAO Dear Māngere resident, SOUL action points to date: For 1000 years humans have gazed across Ihumātao; dreaming, singing and worshipping, amidst the windswept beauty of this wild rocky outcrop jutting resolutely into the Manukau. Many generations have lived on and worked the land, planted crops, established families and farms and birthed rich culture and community. This pocket of exceptional coastal landscape which, despite decades of desecration from sewage treatment schemes, quarrying, industrial misuse and the increasing encroachment of commercial development around the Auckland Airport, is still standing. This land accommodated the Kingitanga Movement, sustained Mana Whenua since their earliest arrival, and has remnants of four generations of Scottish and English families who have crafted pastoral rocklined fields. But when your home is located in Tāmaki Makaurau you know you are in for a bit of a struggle. In a modern city of nearly two million people it is surely a miracle that we have on the city fringe, twenty five minutes from downtown, five minutes west of Auckland Airport and just south of Villa Maria Winery, a remnant of rural land - and a community deeply connected to the earliest human settlement. For a land with such a rich history coupled with such raw beauty you would imagine it is something of a national treasure. But to the disbelief and disappointment of the community much of this land was re-zoned to ‘future urban’ by an environment court decision in 2012. This decision made the green parcels of land open for development potential (although the judge anticipated it would take around 10 years and include robust planning inclusive of community input). But on the 31st of July 2014, a block of 32 hectares was gazetted as a Special Housing Area. By September 2014 approval was given for sale to Fletcher Residential (now 56 per cent foreign owned) to build a 480 high-density Don’t let the sun set on one of Auckland’s last remaining crown jewels but speak up and preserve a piece of our city’s soul. housing development across this piece of iconic heritage. With a few pen strokes this decision effectively ended 1000 years of continuous agricultural activity spanning the entire history of human occupation of the Auckland area. This is not the outcome that anyone would have imagined could ever be possible or permitted. Instead a tiny group of land owners and a compliant legal system have allowed foreign-owned developers to secure a massive financial reward. Paired with more intense industrial development currently underway, there will be numerous negative effects. The Land Wars have obviously never ended. We all wish Auckland was the ‘liveable city’ so passionately expounded by our city’s politicians. But for it to become a reality, people need places to breathe, to dream, to connect to ancestors and engage with history. At Ihumātao we can. So go for a drive, a bike or a walk down to Ihumātao and feel alive - do it now - because all this is about to come to an end – unless you let your voice be heard. Don’t let the sun set on one of Auckland’s last remaining crown jewels but speak up and preserve a piece of our city’s soul. PHOTO BY TONY SEARLE Please read on to find out how you can make a difference in this campaign. Yours sincerely, The SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) team WHO IS SOUL? SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) is led by a group of whānau in Ihumātao and is inclusive of residents, ratepayers, community members and interested parties of all backgrounds. Whānau members are also mana whenua whose families have lived here for many generations. SOUL believes a SHA in Ihumātao will destroy one of the few significant spaces we have left in Aotearoa. - Presentation to Auckland Heritage Advisory Panel, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board and many groups and organisations of Māngere and wider Auckland. - Complaint laid to Ombudsman, Overseas Investment Office agree to review Fletcher Residential’s application to purchase land. - Letters delivered to every single MP in Parliament with the Labour Party, Green Party and, Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox, showing support to SOUL. - Presentation of a 4,000+ signature petition to Auckland Council Governing Body meeting in August (more than 250 SOUL supporters in attendance). - Meetings with Mayor Len Brown, Ken Lotu-Iiga of Fletcher Residential, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and Auckland City Councillors. - Proposal of Land Swap tabled to Council and local board, followed by a SOUL visit with Watercare Treatment Plant in Māngere.