2 Aug 2019

Ihumātao: Pania Newton determined to fight on

From Morning Report, 7:23 am on 2 August 2019

Māori King Tuheitia will visit Ihumātao on Saturday but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is unlikely to be a visitor to the occupation.

Crown-Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis says it is up to Māori ministers to front for the government at the disputed land site.

Hundreds of people remain on the property near Auckland Airport.

Documentary Mana Wahine, produced by Loading Docs, looks at the work of Pania Newton who is leading the occupation at Ihumātao.

"This isn't a Treaty issue, this is a heritage landscape issue," Ms Newton tells Corin Dann.

“We’ve always said from the start that we support no development, so the very frame of our stance and our clear message is to return the whenua back," she says.

"This is a very rare cultural heritage landscape and it’s something that we want to protect and preserve for our whānau, mana whenua, and of course what’s good for mana whenua is good for Aotearoa.

“For us there is no compromise. We’ve sacrificed so much... For us our stance is very clear and firm: return the land.”

In response to NZ First MP Shane Jones' criticism that the protestors are not taking into consideration the compromise involved in the Treaty settlement, Ms Newton says Ihumātao is not a Treaty issue.

"For us this isn’t a Treaty issue. This is a heritage landscape issue.

"It’s very peaceful here... Spirits are very high, it’s such an amazing experience to be down here, we’re all under the umbrella to protect and preserve this land, and see that it’s returned back to mana whenua."

Ms Newton says government ministers and MPs are welcome to visit.

"It’s very amazing and that’s something we want to share with all of Aotearoa and especially our political leaders."