New Zealand: United Nations body raises concerns over housing development on traditional Māori land
The OHCHR has called for answers over the New Zealand government's approach over the private development of housing for commercial sale on traditional Māori land in Māngere, South Auckland. The land in question, near Ihumātao village, was purchased by Fletcher's Living Ltd in 2016 and has been occupied by members of the community since. Noting the cultural, spiritual and archaeological importance of the site to the Māori involved, the UN report questioned how development would ensure Māori culture and heritage would be protected, and how the houses proposed to be built would benefit Māori.
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Ihumātao: United Nations human rights body raises 'concerns' over Government approach, Māori consultation
Author: Michael Neilson, New Zealand Herald
31 July 2019
The United Nations human rights body has called for answers over the Government's approach at Ihumātao, citing concerns over consultation with Māori.
The dispute over the housing development planned on the 33ha site in Māngere, South Auckland, has erupted since those occupying the land - regarded as sacred to mana whenua - were served eviction notices....
A report published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights...questioned how the development would ensure Māori culture and heritage would be protected under the development, and how the houses would benefit Māori.
It listed concerns about Māori representation in designating the site a Special Housing Area in 2014, and the fast-track nature that did not allow for adequate consultations with Māori.
New Zealand Human Rights Commission chief commissioner Paul Hunt said they welcomed the report, which highlighted human rights were at stake.
"It is positive the Special Rapporteurs have asked the Government to provide assurance that the proposed development will not undermine the cultural heritage and the rights of Māori."
The commission supported the call by the Government to stop all work at Ihumātao.
"Ensuring that this halt continues at least until Special Rapporteurs have considered the Government's response, would demonstrate a commitment to the resolution process and limit any potential human rights breaches in the meantime."
Hunt said any solution developed needed to take a human rights approach that was participatory, inclusive, transparent, and enabled all those affected to have a meaningful say.
Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this context and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
Author: Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination, & Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
22 March 2019
...[W]e would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received concerning the proposed construction of 480 houses by Fletcher’s Living Ltd on Puketapapa, a land plot of 32 hectares near Auckland, which has strong spiritual, cultural and archaeological meaning to the Te Wai o Hua o Ihumātao (Maori community). Concerns have been voiced to us about this housing project, including its alleged negative effects on the land, cultural heritage and community well-being. Concerns have furthermore been raised about the lack of adequate and inclusive consultation with the Te Wai o Hua o Ihumātao in relation to the project as well as in relation to the prior designation of the land as a special housing area for development of intensive urban housing (SHA62) in 2014 under New Zealand’s Housing Accords and Special Housing Area Act 2013 (HASHAA).
...[W]e express our concern about the proposed construction of housing for commercial sale on their traditional land. We are furthermore concerned about the alleged lack of adequate participation of the Te Wai o Hua o Ihumātao in relation to the designation of Puketapapa as Special Housing Area 62 (SHA62) in 2014, under the Housing Accords and Special Housing Area Act 2013 (HASHAA)....
The case of SHA62 also seems to reflect a broader challenge in terms of ensuring a human rights-based approach to national housing strategies. Of specific concern is the fast-track procedure of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Area Act 2013, which does not allow for adequate consultations with the Maori. In addition, the HASHSAA section 80 appears to limit avenues for judicial review.