The Dominion Post

Maori King invites mana whenua to hui

- Hannah Martin

The Maori King has formally invited those occupying the land at Ihuma tao to a meeting to find a solution.

Kiingi Tu heitia visited the disputed site on Saturday morning, flanked by a Kiingitang­a contingent numbering in the hundreds.

A group is occupying the land near the protected O tuataua Stonefield­s in Mangere, south Auckland, to protest against a housing developmen­t planned by Fletcher Building.

The land, which was confiscate­d by the Crown in the 1860s, is wa hi tapu or sacred to Ma ori.

About a dozen members of protest group Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) have been living on the land for the past three years but events have ramped up in recent weeks after the group was served an eviction notice.

On Saturday, Kiingitang­a spokesman Rahui Papa announced the king was inviting mana whenua leaders to a hui (meeting) in Hopuhopu in the Waikato, later this week.

The hui would take a ‘‘tikanga’’ approach – giving parties the opportunit­y to air their issues.

The Kiingitang­a has previously supported the project but spokeswoma­n Rukumoana Schaafhaus­en said they wanted to find a solution for all mana whenua.

The meeting would not include Fletchers, or the Government, Schaafhaus­en said.

Kiingi Tu heitia was welcomed on to Ihumatao with a formal po whiri, and the Kiingitang­a flag was raised outside the main tent.

The flag will remain at Ihuma tao, and will be returned to Kiingi Tu heitia once a resolution is reached.

 ?? RYAN ANDERSON/STUFF ?? Kiingi Tu¯ heitia visits the disputed site on Saturday morning.
RYAN ANDERSON/STUFF Kiingi Tu¯ heitia visits the disputed site on Saturday morning.

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