Maori ask for Te Atatu marae land

Western Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SI­MON SMITH

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.

EVA CORLETT/FAIR­FAX NZ

David Ta­nenui is chair­man of the Te Atatu Marae Com­mit­tee.

JA­SON DORDAY/FAIR­FAX NZ

The view from the Har­bourview-Orangi­hina Park.

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