Maori ask for Te Atatu marae land
Maori wanting a marae on prime Auckland park land say it’s time promises are kept and the land is handed over.
David Tanenui from the Te Atatu Marae Coalition said some of Harbourview-Orangihina Park in west Auckland was to be handed over to it in 2003, but this has been held up due to legal action.
‘‘During all this time, we have been waiting,’’ Tanenui said to the Henderson-Massey Local Board this month.
‘‘We have done nothing out of the ordinary. We have done nothing radical.’’
Tanenui said it’s traditional for Maori to lie in state at their marae after death, but in Te Atatu they have not been able to.
‘‘I’ve seen two of [marae advocate kuia Mihi Te Huia’s] kids sitting at an undertakers, and that’s just not fair.’’
Friends of Harbourview convener Michael Coote said his group is opposed to any development of the Auckland Council park, but if there is to be a marae then land should be leased to Maori. ‘‘Why should ratepayers gift land worth millions of dollars to a marae complex that is subject to a risky commercial tourism venture for its continued existence?’’ Coote stood for the local board in 2016, and gained 3169 votes on the explicit platform of no development in the park.
‘‘I treated my candidacy as a petition that voters could sign by voting for me,’’ he said.
Local board chairman Shane Henderson said that as the 2.5 hectares is designated Special Purpose - Maori Purpose Zone, whether a marae was built is ‘‘basically redundant’’.
Both Waitakere councillors also support a marae. Councillor Penny Hulse said there is a lot of community support, but all views need to be heard. Councillor Linda Cooper said the land designated for a marae is only a small part of the park.
Auckland Council parks manager Mace Ward said the local board will shortly develop a master-plan for the park, and it will be publicly consulted on. The council is investigating whether any formal agreements were made by the former Waitakere City Council with Maori, he said.
Legal action from descendants of those who owned the park when it was taken by the Auckland Harbour Board under the Public Works Act in the 1950s is over. The families argued council should sell it back to them, but lost in the Court of Appeal and their application to appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed
‘‘I've seen two of [marae advocate kuia Mihi Te Huia's] kids sitting at an undertakers, and that's just not fair.’’ David Tanenui
last year. The Environment Court ruled against the Te Atatu Residents and Ratepayers Association in 2007 which tried to argue the land for the proposed marae was reserved as open space.
Parts of the park are currently used by the Causeway Alliance, Auckland Transport and the Te Atatu Pony Club.
David Tanenui is chairman of the Te Atatu Marae Committee.
The view from the Harbourview-Orangihina Park.