Māori Television interviewed Ngarimu Blair, spokesman for Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei who also sits on the board of Whai Rawa which is the iwi’s commercial arm says, “This is a real breakthrough for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. As original occupants of Tāmaki Makaurau, this land is hugely important to us.”
He says they have worked with Housing New Zealand to establish a profitable agreement that will give them access to their land on Kupe Street ridge.
“Agreements like this one allow us to slowly build our base to what it once was – and that is exciting,” says Blair.
After almost 120 years of Crown ownership, the hapū have managed to buy back the land that was originally theirs as it is part of the original 700-acre Ōrakei block. Blair says this purchase comes with responsibilities to their people and future generations.
He says, “Whatever we decide to do with these sites should allow us to maximise the land value which in turn will be used to build on and develop innovative initiatives for whānau and whānau housing opportunities on the papakāinga.”
Housing New Zealand General Manager Asset Development Patrick Dougherty says this agreement will benefit both parties in the long run but importantly Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei are the occupants of this area and Housing New Zealand are happy to be selling the land to them.
“We are very pleased to have concluded this agreement, which is mutually beneficial for both parties. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is the respected custodians of this area. It is very much their home patch and we are delighted to be selling this land to them.”
Dougherty says current tenants in the area have been advised of the agreement and will be assisted by the team to find alternative and suitable homes. He also says the profits from the sale will be invested into projects across Auckland to bring modern, warm and dry houses for their tenants to live in.