Start News Maori fight against construction project in New Zealand

Maori fight against construction project in New Zealand

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In protest against a construction project, several hundred demonstrators in New Zealand’s largest city Auckland have occupied an area that once belonged to Maori indigenous peoples. There are now about a hundred tents on the 32-hectare site in the south of the city.

Thousands of people took to the streets against the project since the protests started last week. The 1.4-million-inhabitant city of Auckland is one of the world’s major cities where real estate prices have risen enormously in recent years.

Also advocates in Maori community

The property had already been taken away to a Maori people in 1863, during colonial times. For over 150 years it was owned by a settler family. The real estate company Fletcher bought it in 2016 to build 480 houses there. The work should start soon. Nearby is an area considered by Maori to be a holy land. Within the Maori community, however, there are also proponents of the project.

Maori: Ardern should buy back land

The civic movement Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) called on the government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to buy back the land. Ardern assured that they were looking for a solution that would satisfy all sides. As long as there are talks, the construction will not begin. SOUL spokeswoman Qiane Matata-Sipu demanded a written guarantee in Radio New Zealand.

In the Pacific, about 15 million of its population are about 15 percent of the indigenous population. The Maori live there since the 13th century.