VICTORY! Government buys land at Ihumātao

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The government will buy the land from Fletcher Building for just under $30 million, the first step in breaking the long-running deadlock.

It has been three years that land at Ihumātao has been occupied by opponents of a housing development by Fletcher Building, and more than a year since they were served a trespass notice. Construction has since been stalled.

The Save Our Unique Landscape group has been occupying the land in protest over the development.

Government is saying the land will be used for housing. The land should be immediately returned to Mana Whenua who was stolen from in the first place. The racist backlash would be too much for the government to withstand, so they are taking the 'easy' path.

Next steps:
A group that includes Mana Whenua, Kingitanga and the crown will convene to decide by consensus what the form of housing is. Proposals include kaumatua housing and public housing.

Quick timeline:

1863: The land at Ihumātao was taken 'by proclamation' during the invasion of the Waikato, according to SOUL. It was confiscated under the New Zealand Settlements Act, thus breaching the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi agreement.

1869: It was sold to a private owner believed to be the Wallace family whose descendants held on to the land for more than a century.

2016: It was sold to Fletcher Residential - a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fletcher Building.

November 2016: About 20 members of the community started camping by the side of the road.

July 2019: An eviction notice was served to those occupying the land. Three people are arrested.

December 2020: Government will buy the land for $30 million from Fletcher Building who bought it for $19m. The land will be used for housing purposes.

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