Tuesday, August 6th, was yet another call for people across New Zealand to fight for the protection of Ihumatao. It is a day that has built up over the last three weeks, as protesters have held ground trying to stop Fletcher Building from using the land for their own construction, and therefore profit.
The protests have been ongoing, in hopes that the New Zealand government will take note of what is going on, and refuse the sale of the land at Ihumatao. A timeline posted by the Otago Daily Times shows how the land has come to this point, beginning in 1863 where it was taken by proclamation during an invasion of Waikato. This breached the Treaty of Waitangi. Land that was taken in this way often comes under controversial discussions between Maori tribes from that land, and the New Zealand government. The Maori Land Court was created specifically for these types of cases, to ensure that land stays within the whanau (tribe) it belongs to. However, Ihumatao has not been able to successfully stay in the hands of the people in belongs to.
In 2012, the Auckland City Council attempted to make the land open and available to the public, but it was ultimately privately sold to Fletcher Residential in 2016. There were small protests, but only from people in the area, and nothing that immediately took traction. Petitions were sent from people of Ihumatao, but Fletcher claimed they had been through the proper procedures to ensure they could build on the land. This culminated on July 23rd, when the people living on this land were given an eviction notice.
To be evicted from their homes was a breach of basic human rights. These people have been told to leave, despite the debates being ongoing, and the New Zealand government and Auckland City not having the legal rights to claim this land as their own. There have been disputes among people within each of the different parties, with some claiming that Auckland has the right to sell this land, while other Auckland councillors saying that they regretted the decision being made, and were willing to compromise. New Zealanders have responded enthusiastically, with protests happening all over the country, to show the government right and wrong. While the debates and protests are still ongoing, it is clear that to take a person out of their home for the sake of a company’s profit is unjust.