EPISODE SUMMARY: On this episode of Indigenous Urbanism, we visit the site of the upcoming Paoa Whanake development in Point England, which will see 300 homes and a new marae built on Treaty settlement land.
GUESTS: Hauāuru Rawiri
Jade Kake: With mana whenua groups throughout Tāmaki achieving or approaching settlement, there are significant emerging opportunities for iwi to play a leading role in urban development projects within their rohe, and to develop their land returned or purchased through settlement for housing.
Hauāuru Rawiri: During our Treaty negotiations, the opportunity presented itself to look at a 2 hectare marae site, which we called Te Whanake or Paoa Whanake, and we seized that opportunity. Part and parcel of that was around social housing, and that commercial opportunity came about as well. So, one of the main things for us is about coming home. What we wanted to do as negotiators for our people, is to repatriate our people back in this particular area, where we once were. And we're mindful about other tribes that were here with us. The Treaty settlements provided us with the opportunity for that to happen. Cultural repatriation, an opportunity to look at housing in the commercial sense, social housing as well. So, yeah. We're mindful about the differences of thinking from the community, but you know, we've had 100% support by - I say our whanaunga - which is the other iwi mana whenua tribes. Of us doing what we're doing. Of course, with the unknown, if we don't understand the context, and the history, and the whys - in terms of why we're doing this - you only know what you know. For Ngāti Paoa, and for the leadership of Ngāti Paoa, it was just to continue to move forward, based on our principles of tika, doing things correct, doing things right; pono, just be honest to ourselves, and honest to others as well; but the important thing is the aroha. Aroha can take many forms, but for Ngāti Paoa it's about compassion. Ans actually valuing people for who they are, and the thoughts that they have. But, you know, it's just putting some light in terms of the why and how we're going to go about doing that. And that's, if you think about a tikanga process, or tikanga, it's the how we go about doing that. What is the point of difference that we bring? The point of difference that we bring is that it's not about creating housing alone, it's about creating a community.
JK: Tēnā koutou katoa
Nau mai haere mai ki te Indigenous Urbanism, Aotearoa Edition, Episode 9.
I’m your host Jade Kake and this is Indigenous Urbanism, stories about the spaces we inhabit, and the community drivers and practitioners who are shaping those environments and decolonising through design.
On this episode of Indigenous Urbanism we speak with Hau Rawiri, Chair of Ngāti Paoa, about the upcoming Paoa Whanake development in Point England, which will see 300 homes and a new marae built on Treaty settlement land.
HR: Kia ora Jade, kia ora koutou. Whakarongo mai nā. Ka tīmata whēnei ana, Ko Tainui te waka, ko Kohukohunui te maunga, te Wharekawa te marae, Ko Ngāti Paoa me Ngāti Whanaunga ōku iwi, Ko Hauāuru tōku ingoa. Yeah, my name's Hau, Hauāuru Rawiri, and I'm the Kaihautū for the Ngāti Paoa iwi trust and I just lead our people, in the path through Treaty settlements as a negotiator. I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, at one of our hui-a-iwi, and really humbled to and privileged to help our people of Ngāti Paoa in this way.
JK: I've asked you to meet me here at Te Whanake, and the reason I was interested in coming here is because we heard a lot in the media around the Point England development Enabling Bill, and the proposal here, and there was a lot of, I think misinformation about what exactly the intention was, and what the plans were moving forward. And I guess I just wanted to give you the opportunity to tell the story from your perspective, of, firstly the importance of this area, historically, but also the importance of the plans moving forward.
HR: And again Jade, and to your organisation, thank you for the opportunity, to allow me to speak my thoughts and voice our intentions. I mean, it's all about connecting. I talked about our waka being Tainui, and we think of the Tāmaki river or Te Wai-o-Taiki, the Tāmaki river, and the cross of the Tainui waka that we connect to, into the Manukau Harbour. Well this is where it happened. And I'm mindful, in the early 1800s, is where our people lived along, in this particular area. Especially around Mokoia Pā, was an important pā site for Ngāti Paoa Mauinaina. And, you know, the many people, Pākehā alike, that came to this particular area. And we're mindful about other tribes that were here with us. The thing is, is that they were with Ngāti Paoa. And that's not being disrespectful, because as whanaunga with our tribes of Hauraki, with our tribes of Tāmaki, we lived together. But for us is that this is a stronghold along this particular river we know as Wai Mokoia, was very, very important place for us.
JK: I'm wondering, if you could maybe describe a bit of where we are, and what is planned for the area that we're walking through and looking at right now.
HR: So, where we are now is that we're at the sports fields, and it's Auckland Council owned and managed. And right next to this particular sports field, is the reserve, owned by the Crown, by DOC, and managed by Auckland Council. On that particular piece of land that's owned by the Crown, by DOC.
JK: So is that the area across the fence?
HR: It's the area across the fence. The highest point on there is where we've allocated, in discussion with the Office of Treaty Settlements, is the area for the marae. Which is the highest point over there. We're still in discussions in terms of the particular area for the housing development, and with the change of government those discussions are continuing. We're mindful that, in terms of what we've locked in, and what we've locked in terms of the initialing of our deed of settlement, is 2 hectares for the marae, and 11.69 hectares for housing, mixed housing. So that's been locked in in terms of our deed of settlement.
JK: So how many homes would be on that 11 point something hectares?
HR: We talk around 300, but really it comes down to the quality of the homes, it comes down to affordability, and that actual mix.
JK: What I wanted to ask you about, is this plan for marae. Where is the nearest Ngāti Paoa marae to this location?
HR: Okay, we're mindful that we have a connect to Ruapotaka Marae, and has been acknowledged as Ngāti Paoa being iwi mana whenua, or one of the iwi mana whenua for the marae. But in terms of having a Ngāti Paoa marae, the closest marae that we do have is back in Wharekawa, Kaiaua. We're mindful that in terms of the decision that was made, in terms of a marae site here, actually aligns to back in the early 1800s, around Mokoia Pā, was a stronghold, was a site, was a marae, was a pā site, for Ngāti Paoa. An important pā site in this particular area.
JK: Could you describe where Mokoia Pā is in relation to this site?
HR: So Mokoia Pā is on the northern side of the Panmure bridge
JK: So, is that kind of directly across the water there?
HR: Directly across the water there. And it's probably one of the most important pā sites, and recognised archaeological areas in the whole of Auckland. And I don't say that flippantly, but you know, archaeologists and others and the history around it, and what they're doing there at the moment, has uncovered some unbelievable finds. That's where it was. I remember in the stories that were handed down by our tūpuna, by our ancestors, in 1821 when Ngāpuhi came through this particular area, and pretty much the battles that happened, there was a lot of, there were a lot of deaths that happened in this particular area. It's all in the history there. For us is the opportunity to repatriate this area, and honour those ancestors that actually died here and lived here in the past. In terms of the particular marae site, the 2 hectares here at Paoa Whanake, it's around being inclusive with the community, and working with the community. And the fundamental difference is that it is a Ngāti Paoa marae. For us as Ngāti Paoa, it's being inclusive, and using the general gist of the marae, it's the people of that particular area. But also for us is that, we understand the diversity that we have in this particular part of Auckland. And when we think about, there's over 170 ethnicities, nobody's not going anywhere, it's probably going to increase more. So how do we work together, as a community, and really enable and empower the community, and bring the community into our world. It's not about pitting ourselves against each other, it's about working together. And you know, I use this kōrero, Ngāti Paoa would provide the foundation to allow all Nations to grow. It's about the and not the or. Really sincere about that. When I talk about foundation, the marae is that. We talk about, as mana whenua, as Ngāti Paoa, it's about your whenua, and creating that foundation. In terms of our values of manaaki, of kaitiakitanga, not only of the whenua, of the environment, of the sea, but of people. How do we practice and exercise that, and that's key. I mean I come back to the marae, in terms of the thinking around the marae, although it's in its early phases, if we plant the whakaaro, the thought, and the wairua into the intent and what we want to do, then everything else will just manifest. Because it's about creating the foundations for all nations to grow.
JK: And having the marae, and the homes, and having the living presence in that area, I suppose it fulfils two really important functions for Ngāti Paoa, in that in having that living presence, you're able to better fulfil your role as kaitiaki, and better manaaki all who live in this area, and everybody who comes here.
HR: When you think about the Tainui waka coming through here, Ngāti Paoa, we were waka people too. Waka taua. All that stuff. And we've been working with the school over here, with the principal over here at Point England Primary School, and looking at ways of you know, waka, bringing waka navigation, waka hourua, double hulled canoes, in the training and development and the learning around that back onto this particular river. It's a no brainer for us. Using the maramataka, the Māori calendar. And those are the things that we can share, together. Just on that particular point, we've been working with Point England Primary School around the sciences, and the mātauranga Māori around flounders, growing flounders, and bringing them back and putting them back into the Tāmaki River. At the moment, we're looking at, what's happening is they have tanks within the school. We're looking at tuna now, and we're working with them around the mātauranga Māori around that. But also with other scientific experts around what's the best way to produce tuna, flounder. And we purposely work with the school, because with our tamariki, with the parents, they're all part of the community. And it all becomes inclusive. And that's part and parcel of our strategy, is just a way or a mechanism to work with the community, in something that's dear to us, something that's also dear to the community as well.
JK: How does mahinga kai and māra kai figure into this planned development here?
HR: Ah, that's funny you talk about that. I mean, we have a kawenata or an agreement with the Tāmaki Regeneration Company, between the Board and the leadership of both entities, Ngāti Paoa Iwi Trust and TRC. What we talked about was really around that stuff around, you know, our people in this particular area, now there's a bit of poverty. How can we look at māra kai, or look at land allocation, to actually just get in and do it. Cause that's a low laying fruit really. All we have to do is provide land, and everything else should come. So those discussion, you know we're having those discussions. I know we've been a bit busy with other priorities at the moment, but that will come. If we were to provide something, land or working together with the school to do that stuff, you could feed the community. That's no different from what our ancestors, what our tūpuna did. You know, in the early 1800s, the late 1700s. It's no different from what they did, in terms of Mauinaiana, which actually covers the Panmure township, the actual garden was a mile wide and a mile long. And the purpose of it, was to feed people that came to the area. It's no different. It's in our DNA, our ancestors have provided the blueprint, all we need to do is find a mechanism to bring that back. It's already here.
JK: The development hasn’t been without its controversy, in a community that has been rocked by changes initiated through the Tāmaki Regeneration project. Community opposition was widely reported in the media, and came from a diversity of local groups and individuals representing a variety of interests.
Resident 1: Bit annoyed that we’re going to be seeing a valuable piece of recreation land be covered in this housing, without any sort of consultation with the locals. I mean, I've spoken to people around here and they know absolutely nothing about it.
Resident 2: A lot of people use this area to play, and all sorts come to bring their children. So, it’d be good if it stayed like this.
[Source: Māori Television - Opposition East Auckland Housing Development http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/latest-news/opposition-east-auckland-housing-development]
Resident 3: If you build here, then there'll be no reserve, there'll be nothing for us to come, detach ourselves, get away from wi-fi. Take your jandles off and rub your feet on the grass. There'll be none of that.
Resident 4: I reckon they should keep it as a reserve cause it's really family oriented. They have movie nights down there for the kids. So I think the houses shouldn't be built there, they should find somewhere else to build them.
[Source: Māori Television - Locals plead with Ngāti Paoa to stop development https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/locals-plead-ngati-paoa-stop-development]
Conservationist: The houses will also introduce a whole ton of cats, maybe 500 or so cats, right into that nesting ground. So, it's not looking good for the birds at all.
[Source: News hub - Endangered Dotterls face eviction with new housing development https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/01/endangered-dotterels-face-eviction-with-new-housing-development.html]
HR: We have had - and you may or may not know - that we have had a lot of opposition to this.
JK: That's Hau Rawiri again.
HR: The Greens, around the dotterels, the birds, on this particular area. Around building on green space, and it was opposed by the local board and also by Auckland Council, and other local boards. And that's because of green space, and housing development on green space. I mean, that's not our issue. This is about redress. In our journey there are a lot of passionate people in the area - whether it's birds, whether it's the sea, whether it's the trees and planting, and so on and so forth. There are a lot of passionate people. How do we enable them to be and to do? And add to that.
JK: And bring them along on that journey together with you
HR: We think about the Omaru stream, and it's polluted. And the Tāmaki River. And the dotterels and the birds. And that's what we heard. And that's what we're working with Watercare and the community and others to clean up the place. That's what we've committed to, is to clean up. Because that's our responsibility.
JK: Something that really struck me when I attended the Point England Development Enabling Bill hearings was that in the lead-up, I'd been following the media reporting, and it came across quite oppositional. And it seemed as though the community, the existing community, were opposed to the development. But what I saw when I attended, was some of the residents standing up and giving their kōrero, and I heard one of the residents say - and this was quite a bold statement - he said, now I think I speak for everybody when I say we'd much rather have had Ngāti Paoa as our landlords. And that was speaking in terms of Tāmaki Regeneration. And the sense that I really got, was that the community supported Ngāti Paoa. What they didn't support was all of the changes that were happening to them and not with them. And I think when you mentioned that you had spent time to listen to the concerns of the community and talked to them and worked with them, I thought that was very generous and very open-hearted. Because Ngāti Paoa didn't have to do that, but it comes back to your values, and the things that you think are important.
HR: Those are the things, I mean, we can follow a process of whether we have to or don't have to, but if we come back to our own values and principles, and come back to our tikanga, you know, we don't shy away, and we shouldn't shy away from that stuff because everybody's important. And it's not to gain credit, but it's just there to listen. We have a saying, Paoa taringa rahirahi, Paoa with the alert ears. And we really, really try hard to listen. I mean, when we met with the community at Ruapotaka Marae, I mean, we come under a lot of flack for a lot of things. And we knew it was coming. Okay, amongst some of the kaimahi of the Ngāti Paoa organisation, and, you know, we don't have to. But the leadership, we said, we're going to do that. Why? Because that aligns to us. We're not afraid of confrontation, we're not afraid of having the brave conversation. Because, the reality or the honesty about it is that, that's all we want to do is come home. We want our people to have their tūrangawaewae back here. Those hapū and families that were here, come back. Come back and do that things that your ancestors did. Look after the people that were here. I'm mindful about TRC, Tāmaki Regeneration Company, and the state housing and things that are happening there, probably wasn't a good scenario to come into, at that particular time with all of that happening, and the evictions, and so on and so forth. But you know, it is what it is. There's a saying, kaue whakautu te kino, ki te kino, whakautu te kino ki te pai. So, don't answer bad with bad, you answer it with good and with kindness. Because there is a humility in terms of listening. So it has been challenging, when I think about, you know, with the enabling bill. The ramifications legally, if we did if we didn't. I'm mindful about, in terms of the last election and we have a Labour in power now, with the coalition, Labour and New Zealand First, and others, Greens. So the change of the guard, in terms of from a political perspective. But, for us, it's just continuing to work and keeping to our fundamentals of, we want to provide an opportunity to bring our people home. And if this is part and parcel of that opportunity, we'll do whatever it takes to do that. You know, we're just ecstatic and sort of over the moon about that Jade.
JK: Indigenous Urbanism is a production of Te Matapihi. Sandy Wakefield does our sound recording, editing, and mixing. Our theme was composed by Thomas Burton. I’m Jade Kake, your host and Executive Producer.
For more information about today’s show and other episodes of Indigenous Urbanism go to indigenousurbanism.net. You can drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you like what you’re hearing, please give us a review or rating on iTunes.
Coming up next on Indigenous Urbanism, we speak with Haley Hooper nō Ngāti Hau, an urban designer living in Tāmaki Makaurau, who explains just what an urban designer is, and how we navigate our role as mataawaka practitioners.
Haley Hooper: The Treaty offers New Zealand or Aotearoa an opportunity to acknowledge and uphold a relationship between two peoples, but it also has an opportunity for us as designers to really create an incredible Country - which we already have - but in an urban way. When you look at resource management, urban design, architecture and development, if we have that kind of embrace from Māori and Pākehā who come on board with it, it's a really beautiful thing, because it means that you take on the idea and the responsibility of being kaitiaki, and you're stopping to take the time to understand the land, and the importance of the land, and everything that that offers, first. Before you start to look at how you may intervene into that space.