The character and integrity of the whole area is made up of its constituent parts, such as the maunga, the awa, the village, and the open nature of the landscape. The land on which the development has been proposed is situated adjacent to the Ōtuataua Stonefields. The Ihumātao area is significant due to its place within this landscape, as well as its fertile soils, and its specific Waahi tapu areas. Waahi tapu, including springs and lava tunnel entrances, are located within the proposed site.
"The entire Ihumātao area is a cultural landscape, embedded with identity, meaning, and significance."
While the project site has been subjected to historic modification (clearance and ploughing) it is highly probable that further features and artefacts associated with Maori occupation and activity remain undetected beneath the ground surface. Specific known Waahi tapu include Õruarangi, Te Puketaapapatanga a Hape, a number of springs, and a number of lava cave entrances which have been historically used as urupa.
The Ihumātao area is considered by Mana Whenua and Iwi Kainga to have strong wairua and mauri values associated with it. The development will most likely result in the destruction landmarks imbued with very signi cant spiritual and cultural values and consequently destroy this community’s unique cultural heritage.
Within the reserve can be found the remains of Ōtuataua maunga, and Te Puketaapapakanga a Hape/ Pukeiti. Pukeiti is notable for being the smallest scoria cone in the Auckland Volcanic Field. The wider region is notable as being the earliest site of human settlement in Auckland, desirable because of the abundant resources in the harbour, and the fertile soil surrounding the volcanic cones.
The rich soil that can be found at Ihumātao is formed from tuff, volcanic material ranging in size from ash to gravel sized fragments. This material quickly forms a mineral rich, well- draining soil that Auckland is renowned for. Rocks and lava within the soil provided warmth and an extended growing season for tropical crops brought from Polynesia by the first settlers.
"The Ihumātao Peninsula is home to a rich and valuable volcanic landscape, with the Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve at its heart".
As population pressure grew volcanic cones provided defence, while gardening took place on the more fertile lower slopes and at areas. Auckland is known for distinctive scoria cones, but of an area that once consisted of 8000 hectares of settlement sites on volcanic tuff rings and stone elds, this is one of the last remaining sites where the complete volcanic landscape is preserved. Since the 19th century land in this area was used as pastoral grazing, and due to lack of development this land provides a complete unbroken history of human occupation, from gardening, to pastoral farming.
The impact to the cultural landscape is marked, especially when considering the development sits between the papakainga and its sacred maunga. In addition to the physicality of the development, the increased population has the potential to impact upon the character and integrity of the papakainga, effectively making it a small neighbour within its own landscape.
An additional matter to consider is the potential that the development could change the local economics relating to land prices and housing rentals in the long-term, which could make it more difficult to purchase land within or near the village. Increased rates and rental prices may force resident whānau to leave their papakainga.
"The circumstances of the development (location, scale, and proximity to village) mean that the well-being of the associated community, and those who reside in the papakainga, will be directly and intimately impacted".
The increase in population will of course lead to an increase in traffic through the centre of the village, with knock-on effects of increased noise, congestion, vehicle emissions and road safety issues, a particular concern given the large number of children living in the village. The construction phase with multiple truck and earthwork movements with potential dust issues are also matters to consider. Storm-water discharge to the Ōruarangi Awa will undermine the aspiration to once again use the awa for kai and recreation.
treaty of waitangi
This land was wrongfully confiscated in 1863 as punishment for allegiance to the Kingitanga and not to Queen Victoria. Since the 1960s local communities have been seeking redress and are currently preparing for a Treaty of Waitangi negotiation. New Zealand also has a duty under international law to consult with indigenous peoples and gain their free, prior and informed consent about developments that will impact on them.
To date there has been no effective, meaningful and genuine efforts of consultation in good faith. Mana whenua views were ignored throughout the whole process of designating Ihumātao a SHA area. Consultation about what a development ‘looks like’ is not consultation about whether a development should be built in this location to begin with.
"After 150 years of ongoing desecration, colonisation, dislocation and misappropriation the iwi kainga are now almost completely landless".
Following the confiscation of the 1100 hectares of land at Ihumātao, which includes the proposed site for development, Mana Whenua were left with 0.671ha of Maaori Reservation Land. The streamlined SHA process enabled rapid consents for intensive housing on this unique area of ancestral land. The short time frames introduced by the HASHA Act were entirely inappropriate given the broad historic context of the site.
world heritage status
Ihumātao is the oldest continually occupied Maaori village in Auckland. The spiritual and cultural values of the land are intertwined with the traditions and features of the land. Securing this site will maintain the unique essence of the Ōtuataua Stone elds and honour the history of the land and the people who made it their home over the past 800 years.
"This is a unique landscape with the opportunity to develop initiatives, around the potential for World Heritage status, which tell the science of the geological landscape, intertwined with the stories of Mana Whenua".
The area proposed for development is a valuable record, set in stone, of Maaori and European life. Within its boundaries remarkable collections can be found of natural and man-made resources of the thriving communities that once lived here. Governing Bodies need to protect, conserve, enhance and maintain the significant archaeological features, the sensitive natural environment and the cultural heritage resources that are found here.