Football club helps protest land development
An Auckland football club is showing its support for a group fighting a controversial housing development in south Auckland.
Onehunga-Mangere United wore warm up shirts with the words ‘‘Protect Ihumatao’’ before their Northern Regional Football League match against Waiheke United last Tuesday.
The club showed its solidarity for the Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) campaign which is seeking to stop the development of 480 houses near the Otuataua Stonefields Historical Reserve in Mangere.
While Onehunga-Mangere United doesn’t have any direct ties with the campaign, head coach John Bennett said he realised its importance to the community and knew the club had a role to play.
‘‘We’re very well known as a family club,’’ Bennett said.
‘‘We’re very tight with our community. Our guys weren’t forced to wear the shirts, they were all behind it.
Rebecca Hobbs, a member of SOUL, said the continual support from local community organisations helped to keep the campaign going.
‘‘When the community expresses support for our campaign, it is really motivating. It allows us to say that many members of the community have shared goals and interests in protecting these community spaces.’’
Onehunga-Mangere United’s premier men’s football team wear warm-up shirts with the words ‘‘Protect Ihumatao’’.