Meet the young Auckland woman taking the fight to protect her ancestral land to the UN

A young Auckland woman has taken the fight to save her tūrangawaewae, place where she belongs, all the way to the UN.

Pania Newton has been nominated for the Rangatahi Leaders of Apopo Catergory at this year's Matariki Awards for her efforts to preserve Ihumātao in South Auckland.

She was born and raised there, and is fighting to save the 33 kilometres of Māori ancestral land that borders the Manukau Harbour.

"When I stand here I feel strong in who I am, and where I come from and I have a deep sense of place and belonging," Pania told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

She's been to the UN three times over the past two years to fight a new housing development that has been proposed in Ihumātao.

The trips have been successful for the young campaigner, with the UN taking her side on the issue.

"Having the UN recognise our campaign and making that concluding statement that the Government need to evaluate the designation of the housing area here was a relief," Pania said.

Despite this support, her fight to protect and preserve isn't over yet.

"This land was promised to be included on the Ōtuataua Stonefields historic reserve, to be a public open space.

"But to change the law overnight and to designate it without considering the whānau or the community here is in many ways ongoing colonisation because we are not being considered."

Pania says she will stay and fight for her tūrangawaewae until it's protected and preserved.

Pania Newton has been to the UN three times to fight for her ancestral land in Ihumatao, South Auckland. Source: Seven Sharp

South Auckland state house residents to be moved as major new development announced - 'I feel sad'

A massive new housing project in South Auckland unveiled by the government today will see 10,000 new houses built in the next ten to 15 years – but current residents are sad to see their homes go.

The project will see 3000 state houses and 3500 affordable KiwiBuild houses built for first homebuyers in Māngere.

Another 3500 houses will be sold on the private market.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says the government will "replace 2700 old state houses with 10,000 new modern, warn dry homes".

"We're not expecting to inject a whole lot of extra capital into it. We're redeveloping a publicly-owned land, investing as we go [and] reinvesting that capital into the building of new homes," Mr Twyford said.

While the cost of the new private homes is unknown, the housing minister expects the KiwiBuild homes to sell for no more than $650,000.

However, Mary Fiefia, who's lived in her Māngere state home for 16 years, is sad to see it go.

"I feel sad because we have to, like, leave our old house," Ms Fiefia said.

Lemauga Lydia Sosene, who works for the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu community board, asks, "If we want our communities to remain, who is going to pay the difference for our families to remain?"

The government is currently working on a shared equity scheme to allow for families to remain in the area.

"Reducing the upfront costs, a homebuyer has to take on the payments and the deposits and the size of the mortgage over time. You pay that off and eventually, you can buy out that equity share," Mr Twyford said.

Housing New Zealand is promising to find accommodation for families who have been forced out of state properties to make way for the new development.

The government agency says it will cover costs and provide help for the families' relocation.

"When you've got growing families, you need the stability - a house provides that stability. It provides the family and extended family a base they can come to," Ms Sosene said.

The KiwiBuild homes in Māngere are needed, but for residents like Mary Fiefia, it means temporary relocation. Source: 1 NEWS


Northbound lane on SH1 north of Wellington reopens but major delays expected after truck and two cars crash

The northbound lane on State Highway 1 in the Kāpiti Coast has been reopened after several people were injured following a collision between a truck and two cars today.

The incident occurred on the northbound lane between Pukerua Bay and Paekākāriki at 4.10pm.

The northbound lane has been reopened but severe congestion remains.

The southbound lane has been diverted to Paekākāriki Hill Road, which is unsuitable for trucks and heavy vehicles.

Motorists have been advised to avoid the area following the incident as lengthy delays are expected.