Kīngitanga kicks Ihumātao to Government

The Kīngitanga movement has kicked the ownership of land at the centre of a controversial occupation to the Government.

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It’s been labelled the biggest Māori land protest in decades. Source: 1 NEWS

The Waikato movement, led by King Tuuheitia and backed by the powerful Tainui iwi, says resolution of the long running Ihumātao occupation lies with the Government.

King Tuuheitia is urging the Government to negotiate with the current owners, Fletcher Building, for the return of Ihumātao to who he says is its rightful owners, mana whenua.

"It is important that the Government prevents any further alienation of the people from their land, while discussions are underway," Kīngitanga spokesman Rahui Papa says.

The occupation of the land earmarked for housing development began nearly two months ago.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern negotiated for Fletcher to stop work whilst competing iwi groups talked.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters issued the following statement on the land issue: “We thank Kingi Tūheitia for his work on this.

"The intention of the Prime Minister in seeking for the work on the land to stop was for the Kingitanga to play a facilitative role,” Mr Peters said.

“We are pleased that mana whenua are working constructively together towards a solution.

“We have always said that we are happy to join the discussions on the future of the land at Ihumātao.

“As we go through the process we are mindful of heritage claims, precedent issues and the commercial interests in the site.

“We look forward to discussions that involve all parties to find a resolution to these matters,” he said.

The Green Party also issued a statement, "welcoming today’s decision by the mana whenua of Ihumātao to seek return of the land from the Crown."