Ihumātao, a protest of the young and many.

Serena Stevenson

2019 - Ongoing

Ihumātao a peaceful protest lead by the young to save land from corporate destruction. Today marks 13 weeks since around 150 police descended on Ihumātao to present a trespass notice to 10 people occupying their sacred lands to prevent destruction and desecration by Fletchers Construction Company. At its peak of operation its rumored to have been costing the tax payer around one hundred and ten thousand dollars a day. Three weeks later after thousands had visited Ihumātao and while hundreds continued to occupy the land, and as Hau kainga/ ahi kā started negotiations to have the land returned ( which still continue ) the police agreed to downscale their presence including removing their mobile base which was reportedly needed elsewhere around Auckland, was it ever needed here? #wastingtaxpayersdollars So day 43 and there are now 3 police offices on site ( based in the Wallace house ), and things have down scaled considerably, the site is still occupied by #protectorsnotprotesters and visitors are still being welcomed to the whenua (land) but for now the call has been de escalation as negotiations continue.

This is all lead by a peaceful campaign, the Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) campaign, who are led by mana whenua (sacred land) members whose families have resided in Ihumātao for many generations. Their whakapapa (linage) links to the whenua (land) include Ngati Mahuta, Te Ahiwaru, Waikato-Tainui, Te Akitai and Te Waiohua, (tribal groups). They are inclusive of residents, ratepayers, community members and interested parties. As a collective, we believe that having a Special Housing Area (SHA) in Ihumātao will not contribute to making Taamaki a liveable city, but destroy one of the few significant and unique historical, cultural, spiritual, social and environmental spaces we have left in Auckland. (Jos Wheeler)

This has been photographed here with the intention to look at the human connection, and endurance of the gathered people from all ages. The Tino Rangatiratanga flag raises in unison of the rights of the voice of Maori and symbolises 'self-determination or sovereignty'. It appears in the Māori version of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed by the British Crown and Māori chiefs (rangatira) in 1840. However more than an indigenous land rights campaign, Ihumātao is a movement to highlight multi national corporation taking a nature historic site without consideration to the people of Auckland and New Zealand. Where trees are planted instead of concrete building, these images bring the people to the forefront, the young ones and their future, hopeful for change in New Zealand's history in preserving nature thus saving the global climate.

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  • Our tamariki (children) during sunset.

  • Signage as we enter the site

  • Protest baby.

  • A home made Tino flag.

  • Two young 6 year olds bless the land as they plant trees.

  • A family camped for two weeks resides on the Ihumātao site.

  • Many ages stayed on the land, during some of the harshest Auckland winter weather.

  • Pania Newton hongi's (Traditional Maori greeting) Maori elder.

  • Volunteers work 24 hours to feed protestors from locally donated food.

  • Our children understand the protest.

  • Maori elders hongi.

  • Pania Newton is comforted during a long emotional debate.

  • Peaceful supported protest.

  • Kids area, volunteers work day and night to help families feel comfortable.

  • Family care.

  • The love of the land.

  • A family camped for two weeks resides on the Ihumātao site.

  • A long night on the front line.