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Leaders at Ihumātao mark anniversary of land occupation despite no settlement being made

Leaders at Auckland's Ihumātao have gathered to mark a siginficant anniversary. A year ago police served eviction notices on protestors, igniting one of the largest land occupations in four decades.

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As the South Auckland land dispute continues it’s clear a settlement won’t happen before the election. Source: 1 NEWS

Fletcher Building, who had wanted to build hundreds of homes have now given up but both protestors and the company will have to wait until after the election for any settlement. 

The Government promised it would work with the occupying group SOUL, the Kīngitanga and Fletchers to solve the issue.

However a deal won't be made before the election, that's despite two agreements being worked out over the last year, both of them failing to get enough support to take them to cabinet.

The Government says it will persevere but the nature of the issue lies in its complexity.

"We're just going to keep trying. This is a complex issue - there are multiple different parties involved: there's Fletcher's there's the mana whenua, there's local government and there's central government," says Labour's Grant Robertson.

Protestors remain disappointed Jacinda Ardern has never visited.

"Every single step of the way, regardless of whether or not I made a physical visit, I have been involved in this process," the Prime Minister says.

Fletcher Building purchased the land in South Auckland in 2016 and planned to build 480 homes on the site. Those plans were put on hold in July last year when protestors occupied the site to stop the development.

Ihumātao is a sacred site to Maori. There is archaeological evidence of horticulture, gardening and established community life dating back to the 1500s.

In the 1860s Maori were evicted from the land, their homes destroyed, their lands confiscated then subdivided and sold to British Immigrants.