Commissioners hearing a resource consent application for a luxury tourist development in Leigh were given a lesson in Ngati Manuhiri whakapapa (lineage and heritage) when they sat in Warkworth on May 31.
Submitters Ngati Manuhiri turned out in force to impress upon the panel the significance of the Cape Rodney headland, which Panetiki Ltd, owned by Carmel and Hugh Fisher, wants to develop.
The nine hectares owned by Panetiki sits alongside the Omaha Marae and urupā.
Ngati Manuhiri Settlement Trust chair Mook Hohneck said iwi did not have a problem with people living around the marae, it was the development of a resort that they objected to.
“That land is our whenua; that sea is our moana – they can’t be separated. It is hugely significant and highly sensitive land,” he said.
“Since the settlement trust formed, we have only ever opposed three applications. Why? Because we don’t want to argue with everyone, but when we do object, it is with purpose and for a reason.”
Hohneck said once there were many marae in the Ngati Manuhiri rohe, but now there was just one – Omaha.
“When our people were forcibly removed from Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island where did they go? To our marae at Omaha. There has always been a pa on that land.”
Hohneck described the engagement with iwi by the developers’ representatives as superficial. Auckland Council has recommended that the application be approved with conditions, but the final decision rests with the commissioners.